New York -- Major changes are in the wind at the
Multichannel Advertising Bureau International (MAB).
The global offspring of the Cabletelevision Advertising
Bureau is losing its vice president and managing director, Connie Pettit, which has
spurred a re-examination of the MAB's long-term strategy.
Pettit has not officially resigned from the MAB, but
sources said she has told the organization's board that she is giving it one
year's notice. After that, she has plans to relaunch her own consultancy company,
working with systems companies around the globe to establish local advertising sales.
Pettit's resignation was not welcome news; she was
instrumental in creating the organization, and her pioneering efforts were generally
lauded. However, her impending departure instigated the board to revisit the group's
mission statement and goals, according to sources close to the MAB. The first two years of
the MAB's existence were largely dedicated to assessing the state of pay TV
advertising around the world, and they involved outreach efforts abroad to both systems
and channels. But the overseas efforts and work with systems is likely to disappear almost
In discussing how to narrow the bureau's goals,
"we realized that there's a common bond among us all, which is the mission -- to
drive panregional advertising," said one board member, who requested anonymity.
"The international marketplace is so dramatic and huge
that we have to keep ourselves focused," explained David Levy, chairman of the
MAB's board and executive vice president of marketing and research at Turner
In the future, "we might make sure that we concentrate
our efforts to work with U.S.-based agencies and U.S.-based multinational corporations,
rather than running ourselves ragged around the world helping everyone," Levy added.
Currently, the MAB is working with limited financial and
manpower resources, with a dedicated staff of three people and additional support from the
CAB. It has 21 member companies, 18 of which are based in the United States. Only three
have systems holdings -- Cox Communications Inc., Tele-Communications International Inc.
(TINTA) and United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC). However, all three of those companies
are also involved in the programming business.
Pettit could not be reached for comment. But observers said
her revitalized consultancy is likely to be complementary to the MAB's work,
concentrating on working with local systems around the world. In the past, Pettit's
clients have included Venezuelan MSO SuperCable, Panama's Cable Onda systems company
and the United States' Continental Cablevision Inc. (now MediaOne).