CTAM Wrap: Taking the Pulse of the Cable Biz
If you weren’t able to make it to the CTAM Summit in Denver this week-or you made it but were too busy in meetings to get a sense of things-not to worry. Here’s a summary of the highlights and pearls of wisdom from the panel sessions and cocktail conversations.
Cable’s Next Big Thing
According to Comcast COO Steve Burke, the two big opportunities facing the cable industry are interactive TV technology and offering TV programs on the Web and other digital platforms so as to keep the Internet “rolling over us.”
Waiting for Addressable Advertising…
Laura Desmond, CEO of Starcom MediaVest, and her clients have been waiting for the promise of addressable advertising for some time. “I’d like to believe we’re two years away. I don’t think we are,” she said at the convention. “The dream would be two years, but it can become 20 if you dream too big.”
…and Canoe Ventures
It’s clear the going’s been tough for Captain Verklin, but CMO Vicky Lins told folks to expect Canoe Advanced Advertising Platform, or CAAP, to launch by the end of the year and offer advertisers some form of interactivity. “It will be the biggest step forward the industry has ever taken towards making cable’s advanced advertising easy to buy, to use and to measure,” she said.
What Do Advertisers Want to Address Anyway?
Canoe’s Lins added that the Holy Grail for addressable advertising is yet to be defined. “We don’t know where the true value of addressability lies,” says Lins. “We don’t know if it’s one household or 20, or an entire zip code that is most value to the advertiser. Before we get so focused on who’s watching what, let’s do research around where the value lies.”
Hulu Is Not the Death Star
Hulu isn’t the TV killer everyone makes it out to be, says Hulu CEO Jason Kilar. As he told B&C, the company’s got a business plan and it’s anything but free. Kilar wants to work with the cable industry to try out authentication technology if it let’s Hulu users gain access to cable shows.
TV Everywhere Proponents Disagree
“If I can get 4.5 times my TV CPM online, I’d be happy and wouldn’t need to do anything,” said Turner Broadcasting’s Jack Wakshlag. “But nobody’s getting four times TV CPMs online. Nobody at Hulu’s getting twice the TV CPMs. If people who already watch the show see it with a full commercial load, it’s still a chance to catch up on shows they miss.”
You Can’t Sell What You Can’t Measure
Turner and others won’t move ahead with whole scale day-and-date plans to air TV content without a way to measure the numbers either via a rapid response from Nielsen adding Internet meters to their TV sample households or whatever the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement can muster in response. Wakshlag’s deadline? Summer, the start of the new cable season.
Given the Chance, Digital Pirates Will Go Legit
“Apple has taught us many things, not the least of which is the consumer isn’t necessarily desirous of being a thief,” said Turner Vice Chairman Andy Heller. “If you give them a better product and reasons to do it in an honest fashion, they are more than willing to pay for what they get.”
All That Glitters…
Don’t look to Time Warner Cable to lead a charge on TV Everywhere. TWC Chief Strategy Officer Peter Stern said the company is putting its energies behind what it knows best rather than chasing after “the next shiny object.” Said Stern, 97% of viewers still watch on TV.
Interactive TV Is on the Verge
Trials of interactive applications on History Channel helped boost ratings 15-20%, according to Mark Garner, senior vice president of distribution, marketing and business development at A&E Television Networks. Millions of cable homes will have interactive TV in the next year or two.
Privacy Is Important, But…
Don’t forget that consumers are prepared to give a little info to get a little something for nothing, said Starcom MediaVest’s Desmond. Adds Canoe’s Vicky Lins, let’s not hold ourselves to a different standard than the Internet guys.
Cable Guys Are Funny
Showtime’s Matt Blank delivered a Letterman-style top 10 reasons he accepted an invitation to the Cable Hall of Fame awards. No. 2: “I was accidentally trapped on a homemade weather balloon.” Find the full 10 here.
And only the cable industry would give its next big product–a set-top box technology that delivers interactivity–a name like EBIF.