More than 2.6 million people turned to a section of CableLabs' Web site last month to discover where cable operators in their area offer high-speed Internet access, video-on-demand, HDTV and other advanced services. The section, Go2Broadband, was organized three years ago and has been monitored since with major input from CTAM.
Of all the projects CTAM and CableLabs have teamed on since CableLabs' CEO Richard Green accepted a position on CTAM's board several years ago, Go2 is by far the most fruitful. This week, Green will accept CTAM's Chairman's Award for opening up this collaborative environment.
"He's worked personally to bring marketers together with the technologists so that new products get rolled out successfully," CTAM President Char Beales said. "In our business, that's a new idea. He's given marketers a seat at CableLabs' table, given high-tech projects consumer-friendly names and opened the retail sales channel. It's been a very concrete relationship."
CTAM and CableLabs co-manage annual conferences on developing Go2Broadband: the latest was held two months ago near CableLabs' headquarters located in Louisville, Colo. "It's a real synergy of talent, and the result has made life for potential consumers of our technology better, and given cable a closer tie with the retailer community," Green said.
Before Green joined CTAM's board, he and his colleagues were exploring a better, enduring line of communication between the industry's tech and marketing communities. "It's easy for us in tech to develop products people don't want," Green explained. "We have that valuable interface now through CTAM. We have a sounding board for feedback from a community attuned to customers, which we're not. It makes me feel a lot [more] comfortable."
Under Green, CTAM officials get eyewitness insights along with CableLabs' MSO supporters, whether at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Silicon Valley product demonstrations or semi-annual conferences. CTAM also played a role in shaping CableLabs' first-ever National Show pavilion for HDTV channels and technology, unveiled last month in Chicago.
Green said he would be sure to put CTAM in the thick of activity regarding important transformations expected to affect the cable industry in the coming years. One development could have operators converting to all-digital platforms that handle Internet Protocol video displayed on consumer's TV sets.
"There are a lot of marketing questions with this, one concerning how to accommodate analog TV sets in a transparent way with their users," Green cautioned. "If we're going to do this — and we are — we've got to plan this transition carefully, and the marketing of new services with this enhanced capacity must also be thought out carefully."
Green also hopes that CTAM and CableLabs can come to a meeting of minds on how to best market the array of services currently available as well as those that will emerge down the road to people of color — a group that various research indicates is one of the most interested in buying and using such services.