NEW YORK -When a projected 1,400 advertising people arrive at the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's 18th annual Cable Advertising Conference here on Tuesday, Feb. 6, they'll expect to hear a lot about cross-media selling and cross-platform programming.
The half-day gathering is scheduled earlier than usual, in hopes the decision makers involved in buying broadcast TV and cable time can be swayed toward the cable camp in time for this spring's upfront marketplace. In years past, the conference was held in March or April.
The CAB conference will occur amid growing speculation that the 2001-2002 upfront market will be one of the toughest in recent memory. There has been a softening in both cable and broadcast ad sales since last November, though some executives have said that trend isn't universal.
For months, several executives have also predicted a traditional cyclical slowdown this year. They expect that 2001 won't match the quadrennial convergence of the Summer Olympics and the presidential election, which boosted last year's sales.
But "the network marketplace may have been due for a correction anyway," Myers Reports Inc. noted in Media Recession 2001, a Mediaeconomics report issued last week.
Many contend cross-media selling could enable such media giants as The Walt Disney Co. and AOL Time Warner Inc. to weather this potential storm.
An executive who played a role in the recent megamerger of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp.-Viacom Inc. chief operating officer Mel Karmazin-will be the CAB gathering's keynote speaker. He will presumably talk about Viacom Plus, the cross-media sales unit that was known as CBS Plus when it was formed in 1998.
Viacom Plus now packages the CBS broadcast network, Internet and other media assets with Viacom's MTV Networks, Web sites and Nickelodeon magazine.
Consolidation has also occurred on the media-buying end, which will be represented on the CAB's panel by such executives as CEO Irwin Gotlieb of WPP Group's MindShare, which buys for ad agencies J. Walter Thompson Co. and Ogilvy & Mather, and senior vice president Kate Lynch of Starcom Mediavest Group, which buys for Leo Burnett Co. and MacManus Group accounts.
The lone seller on this panel is Kayne Lanham, who oversees News Corp. One, a cross-platform entity News Corp. formed last year to sell adult and kid avails across the Fox broadcast network, Fox Family Channel and other affiliated media properties.
A second CAB session will concentrate on cable networks whose programming "allows for multiple points of connection to audiences for advertisers and themselves," according to a CAB mailing.
Scheduled to take part in that panel are Black Entertainment Television senior vice president Curtis Gadson, Food Network president Judy Girard, Lifetime Television executive vice president Dawn Tarnofsky and Sci Fi Channel executive vice president Bonnie Hammer.