NCTA Eyes New Marketing Campaign

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Major MSOs are abandoning the industry’s “Only Cable Can” national marketing effort to develop a new ad campaign that will be spearheaded by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

Developed by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing in 2003, the Only Cable Can push was aimed at helping MSOs to compete with national ad campaigns from DirecTV Inc. and other competitors.

The campaign had been on hiatus since January, but CTAM hired Detroit-based ad agency Doner Advertising in June to produce new commercials for the campaign, which were set to debut this fall. CTAM CEO Char Beales said her group will help the NCTA with the new marketing effort.

The campaign is being organized as cable MSOs are gearing up for a regulatory battle with Verizon Communications Inc., SBC Communications Inc. and other telcos, and as lawmakers consider a potential rewrite of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

Cable lobbyists have been pushing federal and local regulators and franchise officials to make Verizon and SBC play on level playing field when it comes to franchise and public-service obligations -- a message that may eventually be delivered in the new commercials.

“The NCTA and cable are facing some pretty big and powerful opponents in Washington, which is part of what’s driving this,” a source said.

NCTA spokesman Brian Dietz said the trade group hasn’t determined the scope of the campaign, the messages it will contain, or the timing.

For more on the NCTA’s new campaign, please see Steve Donohue’s story on page one of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.

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