CAB Local's Focus: Sales Ideas

The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau is expecting attendance for its upcoming Local Cable Sales Management conference to hold at 700 participants, roughly the total from a year ago.

This year's conference — co-chaired by Cox Communications Inc. vice president of ad sales Billy Farina and Dave McFarland, who left Lifetime Television last January as vice president of affiliate ad sales and distribution marketing — is set for June 22 to 24 in Salt Lake City. Last year's gathering was held in May at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

The CAB had expected the Disney venue to bolster attendance, until the 2001 ad slump dictated otherwise. Its confabs in Denver in 2000 and in Chicago in 1999 pulled 900 and 1,000, respectively.


In a recent brochure, the CAB explained its designation of Salt Lake as "Idea City."

"To grow sales in these changing times, you've got to have new ideas and new ways of doing business," the brochure read.

The CAB Local's paramount goal is to come up with ideas that local sales managers can take back to their markets, said trade group vice president of local sales and marketing Kevin Barry. To that end, there will be more roundtable discussions to develop "more hands-on information," he noted.

One hundred of the 700 attendees will come from Time Warner Cable, which will convene its own off-site sales meeting prior to the convention, said president of ad sales Larry Fischer. That's quite an uptick from a year ago when the MSO did not support the conference, Fischer noted.

AT&T Media Services senior vice president Judi Heady — who held a late May sales meeting for the MSO in Colorado — said the operator has no plans for another gathering tied to the CAB.

"Time Warner's is the only one I know of," she said.

During the conference itself, the CAB's Cable Advertising, Marketing & Promotions (CAMP) committee — formed last fall to improve dealings between networks and their affiliates with respect to promotional tie-ins and other marketing-related matters — will meet.

Co-chaired by Adelphia Media Services director of marketing and promotions Scott Pesner and Comcast Corp. senior director of marketing and promotions Kellie Grutko, this group was the outgrowth of a contentious panel session at last year's CAB Local.

During two of the committee's four meetings held so far, the seven-member group and network officials "addressed our commonality of problems, got a dialogue going and looked to find ways to work together for everyone's benefit," said Pesner.

From the network perspective, he said, the aim is to determine how they can best work to fit affiliates' needs. From the affiliate perspective, he added, "How can we target ourselves better and get the [networks'] correct promo materials into the right hands?"

Looking ahead, the committee will examine how to be more creative on a tighter budget and how to better track a promotion's success, Pesner said.