CTAM Summit Eyes 1,600

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CTAM Summit organizers are hoping to draw about 1,600 people to the three-day marketing education conference in Denver next month.

The Oct. 25-27 gathering of Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing members would be down about 25% from last year's event, in Boston, at that level, according to CTAM president Char Beales. But that's to be expected with companies holding down travel budgets, she said.

For the first time, the summit is being held during what's being called Cable Connection Fall. Other trade groups, including the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and the Association of Cable Communicators, also are meeting. Other events in Denver that week include the NAMIC conference, the Cable Center Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the Walter Kaitz Foundation dinner.

Beales pinned the expected reduction in attendees on the economy, not the fall connection concept or the Denver location.

"We're really pleased with who's coming," she said, noting many key participants are listed on the CTAM Summit's Web site (CTAM.summit.com).  "It seems to be higher level executives, and where we've seen the falloff has been at the manager level. All of the major companies are represented but, in this economy, it's a tough year for people to be spending money."

Joan Gillman, one of two summit co-chairs and an executive vice president at Time Warner Cable, noted that many senior executives from her company were taking part, and predicted the presence of several cable organizations gathering in Denver that week will present "some wonderful opportunities for CTAM Summit to involve people from other disciplines within the companies." That diversifies the overall experience, she said. She, Beales and summit co-chair Steve Schiffman, the general manager of National Geographic Channel, held a conference call with reporters about the summit Tuesday.

The summit will lead off Sunday with a 4 p.m. general session on a hot topic, the future of advertising. Comcast chief operating officer Steve Burke will be on the panel, along with Starcom Mediavest Group CEO Laura Desmond and Harvard Business School professor Tom Eisenmann.

Two panels added to the announced agenda Tuesday were:

-- A Monday workshop, "Building Brands That Connect," featuring trainer Graeme Newell demonstrating how Madison Avenue is using innovative techniques to move beyond typical feature advertising in order to bond customers to a brand.

-- A session, "Audience Measurement 4.0," in which industry notables discuss the impact of prime-time multitasking on ad measurement results and how it is driving change. Speakers include: Brian E. Kelly, president, residential services, Carolina Region, Time Warner Cable; Todd Stewart, VP, Corporate Ad Sales, Bright House Networks and Jack Waschlag, Chief Research Officer, Turner Broadcasting Systems. Claire Atkinson, business editor at Broadcasting & Cable, will moderate.

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