CTAM Gets Multicultural on Web

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The Cable & Telecommunications Association has already embarked on step one of its effort to promote the idea of selling new cable services to people of color. Now, it's moving on to step two by launching a Web site to provide data and direction on that front.

On Oct. 8, the trade group added a multicultural clearinghouse section to its Web site (www.ctam.com). It offers statistics, case studies, conference presentations and other material dealing with the marketing or promotion of digital cable, video-on-demand, interactive TV, high-speed Internet access and other advanced products to people of color.

Industry case studies located on the site include work from Cox Communications Inc.'s Phoenix system, International Channel Networks and Time Warner Cable of New York City. Content will be updated on a regular basis.

Some material has been adapted from sessions at last month's NAMIC conference in New York, at which CTAM's Multicultural Marketing Committee presented the initial results of a study on cable-operator initiatives geared to get minorities to take advanced services. The project was funded by a $35,000 grant from the Walter Kaitz Foundation.

More results from that study will be released before year-end. The grant is not being used to establish or maintain the Web venture, CTAM officials said.

The Web site is designed to increase the amount of information operators have on hand as they execute minority-targeted campaigns for new services, said MMC member Dotty Ewing, and to make them aware of what's generally at stake — a bond with the audience most likely to use and keep those services.

That bond will become more important over time, as data from the 2000 U.S. Census has projected that in 2020, 40 percent of the U.S. population will be a mix of Latinos, African-Americans, Asians and Native Americans.

"We're not only making management aware that they must reach out and serve Latinos, Asians and African-Americans, but we're giving them knowledge of what's going on in the field that works. If we ignore these society segments, it's a loss to us because another party like [direct-broadcast satellite] will take them."

In addition to the census results, the site includes outside studies from the American Advertising Federation, Geoscape and Santiago Solutions Group, a Latino marketing company.

"We get so channeled into cable life that we don't tap other resources," Ewing said.

For its part, the Cablevision Advertising Bureau put up its own "Multicultural Resource Center" on its Web site in April 2001.

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