Fundraising Lunch to Celebrate 25 Years of CTAM

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The Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing plans to celebrate its 25th birthday with a fundraising luncheon at its annual CTAM Summit in San Francisco.

The group hopes to raise at least $100,000 to endow the CTAM History of Marketing at the Cable Center in Denver.

CTAM president Char Beales noted that hers is the first industry association to actively support the Cable Center, which to date has received most of its funding from private companies and industry pioneers.

The marketing organization had already donated winning entries from its annual Mark Awards contests going back several years, Beales said, but there were no funds earmarked to archive, digitize and display them to students and the public.

The association wanted to make sure that marketing wasn't lost at the Cable Center, amidst its focus on technology and deal-making, the subjects that most interested the industry pioneers who founded the museum/educational facility, which is slated to open sometime early next year.

Beales said she expects advertising and business school students will be very interested in the early marketing efforts of networks like MTV and ESPN.

"Particularly at the network level, cable marketing has been remarkable," Beales said.

With speakers including Cablevision Systems Corp. chairman Charles Dolan, Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson and Bresnan Communications president William Bresnan, the luncheon should attract a broad mix of former cable insiders, current executives and newcomers eager to learn more about the business, Beales predicted.

CTAM founders Gregory Liptak and Gail Sermersheim will host the anniversary event.

The luncheon panel will be moderated by Showtime Networks Inc. chairman Matthew Blank and include premium service rivals John Billock, Home Box Office U.S. Network Group president, and John Sie, CEO of Starz Encore Group.

"These guys really are friends at the core," Beales said, "but they're also competitors."

In pitching the event to the industry veterans, a CTAM letter positioned the panel as "a conversation among friends."

Starz Encore is underwriting the cost of the $100-per-plate luncheon, which can seat up to 500, with all proceeds going to the Cable Center.

Beales said CTAM is also thinking of hosting an event at the Cable Center, which is located on the campus of Denver University, asking current and past cable marketers to bring in their favorite cable memorabilia for donation. The interactive library may even include an exhibit of the funniest commercials that cable operators have run, she noted.

While she hasn't quite been with the trade group for its full 25-year run, Beales did join CTAM relatively early, signing on as a member in 1980, when she was a director of research for the NCTA.

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