If there was ever any question that the Cable &
Telecommunications Association for Marketing was promoting more than just cable television
these days, the upcoming pre-Western Show Workshop -- scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14 at the
Regal Biltmore in Los Angeles -- should change that.
"Most of the people on the list of speakers at this
conference aren't immediately recognizable to the readers of trades like Multichannel
News," CTAM vice president of marketing Seth Morrison said, "but that's
a benefit to our members."
Instead, the speakers include Internet executives such as
RealNetworks Inc. CEO Rob Glaser, who will give the keynote address Tuesday morning, and
Bonnie Johnson, research-area chair for consumer insights at Interval Research Corp.,
which was founded by Paul Allen.
"The dot.com world wants to get to know the cable
world," Morrison said, "and CTAM can play a role in that." He added that
CTAM has historically brought cable operators together with players in emerging
businesses, as it does with its annual pay-per-view television conference. Johnson is one
of several speakers on a Tuesday-morning panel on broadband research.
Morrison said CTAM's focus is to always start with
what consumers want and go from there. "One of the challenges in the research world
is to find the early adopters," he said, adding that consumer research and focus
groups provide better data than phone surveys that simply poll consumers who may not be
familiar with new technologies and applications.
A second panel at the broadband conference examines
business models for broadband. Panelists scheduled to appear include Sanford C. Bernstein
& Co. senior media analyst Tom Wolzien, The Weather Channel's weather.com
president Debora Wilson, ZDTV news producer John Gilles and Road Runner Power Media
Services vice president Robert G. Benya.
"The big question anytime you touch the Web is: How do
you make money on this?" Morrison said. Although business models for electronic
commerce and other broadband applications may still be in flux, he urged cable operators
to keep their eyes on the new technologies.
"People who think they have time to figure out
broadband later should really be thinking about it now so they don't miss the
boat," he said. "You've got to be on the cutting edge."
CTAM's board of directors, along with the group's
high-speed Internet committee, decided about six months ago that there was enough material
on the broadband side to merit its own conference. CTAM also hosted a number of Silicon
Valley executives at its annual summit this past July in San Francisco.
For more information, visit CTAM's Web site (www.ctam.com).
Preregistration for "The Broadband Opportunity" runs through Dec. 3.