Change Is In Air for CAB

The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau is scrapping its annual Cable Advertising Conference, and instead will focus on meeting individually with advertisers and agency executives to pitch the strengths of spending on cable.

The move to put the national conference on hiatus is among other changes at the trade group, which saw longtime vice president Steve Raddock resign July 16. New CAB president Sean Cunningham also recently hired his former Universal McCann colleague, Chuck Thompson, naming him senior vice president of sales.

The CAB held its last Cable Advertising Conference in February 2003. When the trade group announced last fall that it would cancel the February 2004 Cable Advertising Conference in order to fund new research, it said the confab would return in 2005.

But Cunningham said last Tuesday that while the CAB will continue with its Local Sales Management Conference, which returns to Chicago next year, the national confab — once its flagship event — will not return.

“We're on hiatus on the national show because of the effectiveness of small-group selling. There remains an open door to do that again, but right now, we seem to be providing value to advertisers and agencies in the marketplace by going to them in smaller groups,” he said.

Cunningham and other CAB executives have been pitching the advertising community the results of a “One TV World” research study the group commissioned, which asserts that cable TV has reached parity with broadcast in terms of reach.

The New York-based CAB has 23 employees. According to Cunningham, the head count is about the same as when he took the reins in June 2003. The biggest personnel moves he has made are hiring Thompson and naming former Initiative Media Worldwide executive Ira Sussman vice president of research last year.

Raddock — who joined the CAB in 1990 and had been the group's chief spokesman for the past several years — said his departure was amicable.

Under the heading of Fairfield, Conn.-based The Meetrics Group, Raddock said, he is pursuing opportunities within the cable industry, trading on his acumen in the realms of marketing and video production.

Cunningham said the CAB is interviewing candidates to assume some of Raddock's former responsibilities, which included marketing and communications, but the job description for the new position would change.

Raddock had sent out regular reports touting cable's performance in the ratings war against broadcasters. Cunningham said those missives would cease, but the CAB will occasionally release baseline reports that track the health of the industry.