Good morning. It’s Friday, September 30, 2011, and this is your CTAM Preview Special Edition – a look at the events of the CTAM in New York held next week, October 5-7 at the New York Marriott Marquis, Times Square, 1535 Broadway.
With a new conference brand and a return to New York on October 5, CTAM continues to refine its member experience even as the world of marketing itself continues to evolve, seemingly by the day. The transformation of the cable industry in recent years – propelled by changes in technology as well as consumer behavior – has placed the organization, as well as its annual conference, squarely in the crosshairs of a new world order where content, technology and promotion intertwine in ways never seen before.
Cynopsis spoke with CTAM President and CEO Char Beales about the role of the organization moving forward, how marketing is changing with the launch of every new device, the potential effects of an a la carte cable service, as well as how membership needs are changing.
Beales on highlights of this year’s conference: Being in New York allows us to have a much greater focus on our programmer members then when we travel about the country and in other cities. So we are really excited to be in New York and take advantage of the programming audience and a much broader pool of speakers. We’ve been shaking things up, we changed the name of the conference. We realized, like all good marketers, that our audience still called it CTAM, so we might as well capitalize on that.
We’ve got a heavy dose of ad execs in several different formats, which is exciting. That will be really popular with our members. We have Danny Meyer (CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group), who is one of our keynotes. He is focused on using hospitality as a way of doing good business, which I think will resonate particularly with our cable company execs. We have a block of sessions called Inspired Ideas, in which seven innovators are each doing 15 minute presentations, back-to-back, super-fast and each with a new angle or new idea.
I’m personally excited about our general session panel; Get the Edge on What’s Next, where we pull together all these folks, ranging from ESPN’s George Bodenheimer to Time Warner Cable’s Peter Stern to Jessica Reif Cohen at Merrill Lynch, who all with very different points of view. Hopefully together they will talk to us about what’s going to happen next.
Beales on the role of CTAM: The state of the organization is very healthy and continuing to adapt as our member’s businesses change. We don’t talk a lot about this but a huge portion of what we do now is cooperative marketing for our members because some of them are competing against national companies. We are also engaged on the PR side on a promotion for Hispanic Heritage Month and promoting all of the programming that is going on. We are doing a lot of cooperative research and we just did a study on the early users of apps on the iPad – how does that relate to television viewers and how networks can take advantage of the apps to draw viewers in, in a bigger way.
Cooperative marketing is still something our members look to CTAM for, they look to CTAM for learning. Certainly CTAM New York is one example but another example is our CTAM U at the Harvard Business School which is now entering its 15th year and sells out every year. The majority of people who attend that are from cable networks. So they still are very into learning and our members are still very into recognition.
Our Mark Awards continue to be very strong and I think this year are going to be particularly strong. We had to turn away judges we had so many people who wanted to participate.
On the role of the marketer in today’s viewing environment: In broadcast, years ago, they made the transition from being engineer-driven to being sales and marketing-driven. I think cable is still in that transitioning period especially at the networks, of course. Marketing is a powerhouse and the networks have had so much success in building audiences in the face of so much competition for people’s time. So I think the role of marketing is strong and we’ve all seen that study from the Harvard Business School that came out a few years ago that said the average tenure of a CMO across all industries is 18 months. So it’s also a high risk job.
On threats of MSOs going a la carte: The side of the equation here is to look at who really are anti-a la carte, and those are the programming companies. You have heard a lot of talk recently in the press from the big two cable companies that they would go down that a la carte path but the programming contracts don’t allow it. But once you go to broadband, then the consumer can go in that direction, so technology may drive the discussion in a whole different way than the companies have been able to manage it in the past.
That would make the job of the marketer way harder. It would basically deliver the basic cable networks with the same marketing challenges that premium TV has. It’s one thing when you are in a big package to get people to find your channel and choose your show to watch, but to have to get them to choose your network, that would up the ante.
On the role of the organization in five years: I think we are on the right path, the notion of using CTAM for cooperative marketing is really resonating with our members. I think there is more opportunity there. Of course, we are not doing cooperative marketing in any way where a company could do it better, but this is really where it really makes more sense for companies to work together. I think learning is always important and will continue to be important as the challenges and opportunities from technology continue to accelerate so we all have to get smarter, faster. We are, and will continue to be, in a position to help people get there.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM CableFAX
CableFAX Program Awards & Top Ops
Luncheon: October 18 – Hollywood, CA
View the Hall of Fame, Finalists & Top Ops. Register Today
CableFAX will unveil the top cable shows across a wide range of categories, when the cable entertainment industry gathers for the fourth annual Program Awards on Oct. 18 in Hollywood. The much-anticipated luncheon will also include a Programming Hall of Fame & a ceremony to honor the top cable operators. To view the nominees and secure your table or seat, go to http://www.cablefax.com/cfp/events/program2011/.
Onsite registration is available on Wednesday the 5th starting at 10am, and the first scheduled event of the day kicks off at 1pm with four concurrent Face Time Sessions.
On Thursday the 6th, the schedule begins at 7am with a breakfast session: On Demand- Turning Distracted Audiences into Loyal On Demand Viewers. Attending this session requires a separate registration (click here to go to the registration page).
Friday morning begins with the Chairman’s Breakfast at 830a, followed by the Closing General Session: Get the Edge on What’s Next, at 1015am.
- General Sessions: Four major General Sessions, all offering the 60,000 view and providing insight from industry leaders. The sessions are Unconventional Social Media, The Power of Hospitality, The Next Big Thing and Get the Edge on What’s Next. Click here for the full descriptions and speakers.
- Concurrent Sessions: A series of 14 sessions over two days. Choose the topics that interests you most from a wide list including iTV Idol: Groundbreaking Applications competition; Trend Spotting with Cool Hunters; Transforming a Brand from Hit Shot to Hit Network; and MOD Grows Up – $1 Billion and Climbing (Sponsored by Cynopsis Media). You can book these online and drop the info right into your Outlook calendar when you go here.
- Inspired Ideas: Designed to “fuel your inner genius”, CTAM has booked a series of 20 minute presentations, all running on October 6 between 1015a-1230p, and including the likes of Dave Luhr-COO/Wieden + Kennedy; Mike Hemingway-Founder/CEO of brandhunger; and Deb Roy-Founder/CEO of Bluefin Labs. Click here for the full lineup.
- Face Time: Closed to the press, these sessions are frank Q&As with a variety of notables including Don Buckley, EVP/Program Marketing & Digital Services at Showtime Networks; Colleen Fahey Rush, EVP & CRO/Viacom; and Craig Woerz-Co Founder & Co Managing Partner of Media Storm. These sessions are limited to only 50 attendees and some are already full. So book ahead, which you can do online here today!
For the Full Schedule of Events, Seminars and Sessions, including the Mark Awards and the Thursday Night Party: http://www.ctam.com/html/nyc/schedule.html
And look here for your full List of Speakers: http://www.ctam.com/html/nyc/speakers.html
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis
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