Year in and year out in this industry, the only thing that
one can expect to be the same is the simple fact that nothing will ever be the same. And
today, that is more true than ever.
The digital era is redefining our business, from the
content that we develop and distribute to the speed and facility with which we distribute
it. Digital is clearly the most significant new product that we have launched this decade.
It is a technology that, not unlike the technology that built this industry 50 years ago,
will foster a revolution of programming and communications options.
However, unlike 50 years ago, when marketing was brought in
to package and sell an already-developed technology, this time, it will be critical that
marketers participate in the development process. We cannot allow digital to become this
generation's eight-track-tape player -- a product that missed the mark because it did
not accurately reflect the needs and wants of the American public. No group in the cable
industry has a better sense of what consumers want than the marketers. It is critical that
they play a key role in digital's next chapter.
For that reason, when I was asked to chair the CTAM
Pay-Per-View Conference, I agreed to do so on the condition that we explore the shifting
paradigm between PPV, digital and marketing. I believe that the future of the first two
are very much related, and that their success depends entirely on the latter.
THE CTAM PROCESS
For those of you who have never had the privilege of
serving on a CTAM conference-planning committee, it is truly a remarkable experience. The
planning becomes a fusion of ideas, all of them emanating from CTAM members who live the
These people, representing disparate companies from all
sides of the industry, drive the conference agenda, recruit speakers and shape the
It is a process in which differing and sometimes contrary
viewpoints get expressed and reconciled and ultimately emerge as a solid, well-conceived
Such was the case this year, when the concept of PPV became
expanded to include digital. It was determined by our committee that while PPV and digital
are very much related, there are still a great many issues exclusive to each and, to this
day, each remains a separate product. Therefore, the group determined that the conference
should be renamed the CTAM Digital & Pay-Per-View Conference, and that it should
include two tracks: one focusing on the continued development of PPV, and one focusing on
the exciting new concept of digital.
Through this marriage of these two critical elements of our
business, this week, in Los Angeles, CTAM will present a unique educational opportunity.
It will be a chance for both operators and programmers to come together and explore not
only the latest in innovative and effective PPV marketing, but the real truth behind
The PPV track will include such sessions as a "PPV
Boot Camp," where one can learn the basics of movie and event marketing; a study of
video-on-demand versus near-VOD; and a how-to analysis on maximizing on-air promotion. And
among the numerous concepts on the digital track will be an exploration of effective
digital launches, exclusive consumer research and successful economic models.
In addition, general-session speakers such as
Playboy's Christie Hefner and Tele-Communications Inc.'s Marvin Jones will
provide a road map to where this next revolution in communications is headed and some
insight on how to get there.
If you are a senior executive helping to chart your
company's path into digital, or if you're a system-level marketing executive
just trying to improve your buy-rates, the CTAM Digital & Pay-Per-View Conference is a
great opportunity to help you achieve your goal.
THE INDUSTRY'S EDUCATOR
As an operator, I am excited to be a part of CTAM's
renewed commitment to educating this industry.
Between its enormously successful conferences, the exciting
new CTAM U. and the incredible programs being developed by its chapters across the
country, CTAM has accepted the challenge of providing the men and women of this industry
with the skill sets that they'll need to compete in the days ahead. Digital will be a
key part of so many things that CTAM does over the next few years, so I urge you to take
advantage of this unique organization.
Read the CTAM Quarterly Journal, make going to CTAM
conferences a professional habit and, especially, join one of CTAM's 19 local
chapters. Find a chapter in your area and take advantage of its many unique and innovative
programs, many of which promise to focus on digital in the months ahead. You and this
industry will be stronger as a result.
I'd like to thank my co-chairs -- Curtis Symonds of
Black Entertainment Television and Jim Braun of Time Warner Cable -- as well as our
committee and all of our volunteer producers who helped to craft this year's unique
program, and I hope to see you in L.A. for the all-new CTAM Digital & Pay-Per-View
Jayson Juraska is vice president of operations for Cox
Communications Inc. and chairman of the 1998 CTAM Digital & Pay-Per-View Conference,
to be held this week in Los Angeles.