Cable Positive To Shut Down

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Cable Positive, after a 17-year run, will shut down its national office and wind down operations by the end of the year, the HIV/AIDS awareness group announced.

The organization said its board of directors voted to phase out operations given broad industry support in promoting the cause.

"The response of cable industry companies has grown dramatically, and that work demonstrates that Cable Positive's mission will continue to be perpetuated in significant ways," Cable Positive chairman Ray Gutierrez said in a statement. "Therefore we've concluded that a separate organization focused exclusively on HIV/AIDS is no longer required."

As part of its mission to educate the public and raise awareness about the epidemic, the organization said, more than $2 billion worth of air time was donated for public-service ads. Cable Positive also provided direct assistance to cable industry employees who had HIV/AIDS, and generated more than $2 million in direct grants from AIDS service organizations across the country.

While the national office in New York is closing, the organization
said local chapters will be encouraged to continue their volunteerism
and fund-raising under the Cable Positive banner. The national office has five employees, a spokesman said.

Positively Cable cast, June 2009

Cable Positive local chapter events will proceed as planned,
including the Denver chapter's Positively Cable performance at Cable Connection Fall in Denver on Sunday, Oct. 25.

"Cable Positive's track record shows we've achieved and surpassed our goals. Going forward, the industry's ability to address the epidemic is best realized through the vast array of programs and support provided by individual companies within the industry," said Gutierrez, who is also executive vice president of human resources and administration for CBS/Showtime Networks. "It is also strongly supported by the continuation in the work of the thousands of cable employees involved in efforts to combat the disease."

"Cable Positive has succeeded far beyond what anyone could have imagined at its founding, establishing the cable industry as a leader in the private-sector response to the epidemic," Jeff Bernstein, who helped form the organization in 1992, said in a statement. "I've had great pride in seeing an industry I love become a pioneering leader in the business community's role in the fight against AIDS."

Cable Positive was founded by Bernstein, working then as a cable network executive, and several industry friends who shared his concern about HIV/AIDS.

In an op-ed last year in Multichannel News, then-CEO Steve Villano said Cable Positive would eliminate its annual dinner -- which had been the group's biggest fundraiser -- in response to cable operators' drive to consolidate industry events. The group instead hosted a cocktail reception at the NCTA Cable Show in April.

Cable Positive CEO Sean Strub

Sean Strub took over as successor to Villano earlier this year. Gutierrez thanked Strub and the rest of the Cable Positive staff, saying in a statement, "Sean particularly deserves our praise and thanks for recently accepting the CEO role to guide us through an important and challenging transformation. Our board is indebted to his commitment and vision."

Cable Positive recognized cable industry leaders in the fields of public health and medical research in combating HIV/AIDS, with the annual Joel A. Berger Award. Berger was a former publisher of Multichannel News and an early supporter of Cable Positive's work who died from AIDS-related complications in 1995.