CTAM Extends Beales Pact

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Char Beales will remain cable's leading marketing maven for at least three more years.

The board of directors of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing signed Beales to a contract extension that runs through the end of 2005.

Beales — a veteran of what was then called the National Cable Television Association — joined CTAM in 1992, months before Hughes Electronics Corp. launched satellite provider DirecTV Inc.

CTAM has advised its members on how to fend off competition and market their products during Beales's reign. Now, the association is developing work groups to address new industry issues, including high-definition television, digital-TV labeling, subscriber-retention and shifting cable hardware such as set-tops to a retail model.

The industry organization has formed a labeling working group, chaired by Cox Communications Inc. senior vice president of marketing Joe Rooney.

The move was a response to the "plug-and-play" agreement reached in December between seven MSOs and 14 digital-TV manufacturers, which plan to build sets with built-in cable set-top functionality.

"What are we going to call these sets?" Beales asked. She said the committee is pondering the answer to that question, which is still in the "kick-it-around" phase.

CTAM also formed an HDTV working group chaired by Charter Communications Inc. senior vice president of marketing and programming Diane Schneiderjohn, which will develop programs designed to educate members, retailers and consumers about HDTV.

Its new retail committee, chaired by Comcast Corp. cable unit vice president of marketing and new products Andy Addis, is looking into how to use retail outlets to market new cable services.

Following a year in which some MSOs saw basic and digital cable erosion, CTAM formed a retention committee to address the issue, chaired by Comcast Corp. vice president of video product management Steve Bouchard and Insight Communications Co. senior vice president of marketing and programming Pam Euler Halling.

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