After last week's record-breaking heat wave, Cable and
Telecommunications Association for Marketing members are looking forward to temperate San
Francisco, which plays host to the annual CTAM Summit starting this weekend at the San
CTAM president Char Beales said last week that while
registration was running ahead of last year's Summit in Chicago, she did not anticipate a
sellout crowd, as the association had with February's CTAM Digital and PPV Conference in
The San Francisco Marriott is a huge hotel with enough
space to accommodate the 2,400 attendees that CTAM expects at the Summit, Beales added.
About one-third of attendees registered last week had
already signed up for master courses ranging from digital cable to retail.
"It says something about the times, the people and the
importance of building skill sets for the new world" of cable consolidation and
new-product launches, Beales said.
In addition to education and skill-building, CTAM gives
cable executives a chance to network. Because job uncertainty is at a height,
resume-swapping is expected to be a favored activity at the Summit.
Beales said networking will be important for executives at
newly consolidated companies, too, as they still need to become familiar with their new
coworkers who are located in different parts of the country.
E! Entertainment Television vice president of promotion
LeeAnne Stables plans to use the Summit as an opportunity to bring the programmer's
affiliates up to date on its major marketing initiatives.
"We're really looking forward to meeting with the
programmers," AT&T Broadband & Internet Services senior vice president of
marketing Doug Seserman said. He added that he's particularly excited about this year's
Summit, with its emphasis on technological convergence and bundling strategies.
Newly appointed Comcast Corp. executive vice president of
sales, marketing and customer service Dave Watson -- who had been president of Comcast's
cellular division until it was sold to SBC Communications Inc. last week -- said he's
looking forward to meeting his colleagues in cable.
The Summit will give Watson a chance to absorb who's doing
what in the way of marketing new products "and how we can move the bar up in terms of
customer focus," he said.
"I hope to participate quite a bit in CTAM,"
Watson added. "An organization like CTAM didn't exist in cellular."
Beales said Watson's customer-service responsibilities are
a good indication that at least some MSOs are starting to pay more attention to marketing,
even at the upper-management level.
"The top, top guys are still busy playing
'Monopoly'" by swapping and buying systems, Beales said. "But the people right
under them are worrying about execution."
Recent consolidation presents special challenges for
marketers, who must juggle issues like coordinating different billing systems at the same
time that they're launching new products and services, she added.
Last-minute travelers can sign up for the Summit on-site,
although Beales recommended that would-be attendees make advance plans to take advantage
of the master courses, weekend social tours and Monday's (July 19) Silicon Valley road
Among those tours, the venture-capital tour that afternoon
has attracted the most interest, Beales said.