The Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing
kicked its own marketing efforts into high gear last week, mailing brochures to its
members promoting the annual CTAM Summit in San Francisco July 19 through 21.
Featured speakers include Time Warner Cable chairman Joseph
Collins, who will get the annual "Grand TAM" award and talk about his MSO's
digital plans, and Mattel Inc. chairman Jill Elikann Barad, this year's headline
A panel on digital technology includes Oxygen Media Inc.
chairman Geraldine Laybourne, Liberty Digital president Lee Masters, News America Digital
Publishing president James Murdoch, TCA Cable TV Inc. chairman Fred Nichols and WebTV
Networks cofounder Steve Perlman.
CTAM Summit co-chairman Lou Borrelli said that in order to
encourage CTAM members to sign up early, he will capitalize on the fact that the
association's recent Digital Summit in New Orleans sold out after 1,200 people signed
up, and the organization had to turn would-be attendees away.
Summit co-chair Dan Davids, executive vice president of The
History Channel, said the summit planning committee is attempting to make the conference
of interest to general managers at the system level, and it has added a special
general-management and operations track to the sessions.
Other new educational tracks include high-speed Internet;
digital video; cable-marketing skills and strategies; programmer skills and strategies;
Davids and Borrelli said they want to make sure that
attendees leave the conference with "actionable" information -- strategic tips
that they can use immediately, and not just as they look ahead to five-year plans.
Despite rampant industry consolidation, Davids was not
concerned that future CTAM conferences would fail to attract large crowds. No matter how
much consolidation takes place at the MSO level, he added, "you still have people
running all of those systems, and that's where the rubber meets the road."
At the regional and system level, operators are appointing
product specialists for pay-per-view, digital video and high-speed cable-modem services,
"We must continue to provide networking opportunities
for those specialists and content to make it relevant to them," he added.
Although the CTAM Summit co-chairmen recognized the trend
toward industry consolidation, they chose not to make it the focal point of the
conference. In the midst of all of the distractions that pending mergers can bring,
"people responsible for customers need to stay focused," Borrelli said.
CTAM CEO Char Beales predicted that the summit would draw
2,500 people. The association's membership currently numbers around 5,500.
CTAM is already ahead of the pace of last year's
registration drive, as it started signing up attendees early on its Web site, www.ctam.com.