Cable marketers confronting a cornucopia of change are set
to converge in Chicago next week for the annual CTAM Marketing Summit.
The "From Chaos to Control" theme of this
year's gathering of network and operator marketers, at the Chicago Hilton and Towers
June 28 to July 1, reflects the desire of the marketing group to make sense out of the
profound shifts that have swept through the cable industry and the consumer marketplace in
"Their whole world is changing," said Char
Beales, president and chief operating officer of CTAM. "They have to sell new
products at the same time that they're facing tough competition. Within the industry,
companies are consolidating, and systems are being clustered and swapped. And consumer
behavior is also changing all around them. With all of this going on, they're seeking
On a macro level, the conference is addressing some of
these concerns with speakers from outside of the industry who are renowned for mastering
rapidly changing markets in their own businesses.
Beales cited Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks
Coffee Co., who will address the conference Monday, June 29, as a perfect example of an
executive who, while not in cable, is in a business that can offer CTAM attendees a number
of marketing lessons.
"Starbucks is a retail business, it has expanded
rapidly and it is getting into line extensions," she said. "And at its core,
Starbucks is like cable -- it sells a commodity product and gets a premium price."
Scott McNealy, chairman, president and CEO of Sun
Microsystems Inc., makes his debut before a cable audience Tuesday, June 30. He has
industry executives wondering whether he will discuss the sizable investments that his
archrival, William Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., has made in the cable industry.
Other keynote speakers include Peter Chernin, president and
chief operating officer of News Corp. and chairman and CEO of The Fox Group; Kay
Koplovitz, founder and outgoing chairman and CEO of USA Networks Inc.; and Rosabeth Moss
Kanter, professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School.
The conference will also spotlight two of the cable
industry's most promising new products -- digital television and high-speed access to
the Internet via cable modems.
Two CTAM "master courses" will tackle digital
Sunday afternoon, June 28. In "Marketing Digital Cable for Real," Denver-based
consultants Jerry Maglio and Dean Ericson will focus on what they call a "hard"
launch strategy of trying to achieve maximum penetration in a minimum time frame.
"Digital Technology," led by Steve Bouchard,
MediaOne's vice president of video-product marketing, and by engineering consultant
David Fellows, will look at the technical decisions that marketers must make to launch and
operate digital services.
And an overview of developments in high-definition TV,
OpenCable and digital marketing and programming will be provided in the "State of
Digital" seminar Monday afternoon, June 29.
Cable's link to the Internet will be analyzed during a
two-hour closing brunch moderated by Cable News Network's Jeff Greenfield. On that
panel are Julian Brodsky, vice chairman of Comcast Corp.; Avram Miller, vice president and
director of corporate-business development at Intel Corp.; George Bell, CEO of
search-engine company Excite; Scott Teissler, senior vice president of media strategy and
chief technology officer at CNN; and Scott Kurnit, CEO of The Mining Co., an Internet
For a more grassroots perspective, Joe Rooney, Cox
Communications Inc.'s executive director for marketing sales and programming in
Orange County, Calif., who has been marketing cable modems for a year-and-a-half, will
lead a Tuesday-afternoon seminar June 30, "Battling for the High-Speed Internet
The conference's workshops and seminars will also
tackle nitty-gritty issues for cable marketers, including marketing plans,
customer-retention techniques, direct-marketing, research, segmentation and target
marketing and, of course, branding.
CTAM will also induct Home Box Office and CNN into its
Marketing Hall of Fame at the conference.
And eight members will receive "TAMI Awards" for
their contributions to the organization. Along with Kurnit and Rooney, they are:
Jim Braun, director of new-product development for
Time Warner Cable;
Bruce Friend, vice president of worldwide research
and planning for Nickelodeon;
Pete Gatseos, vice president of strategic research
for Tele-Communications Inc.;
Karin Henderson, creative director for MK
Frederick Livingston, business-development
Diana Ritchie, senior vice president of new-media
development for Disney Televentures.
CTAM officials said they expect to match last year's
attendance in Orlando, Fla., of 2,495. Attendees will be treated to a number of parties,
including a bash at Chicago's Navy Pier Sunday night, June 28, and a blowout on
Division Street Tuesday night, June 30.
Also, Monday, June 29, at 5:15 p.m., Cablevision
magazine (a sister publication to Multichannel News) will co-host the annual
"Mark Awards." In a departure from its usual ceremonies, the awards will be
presented with a comedy-club theme. Comedy Central's Ben Stein and Jimmy Kimmel(Win
Ben Stein's Money) will perform. Two networks -- HBO, for its marketing prowess,
and CNN, for its Gulf War coverage -- will be inducted into the CTAM Hall of Fame that