CTAM Conference Wranglers Say NYC Will Bring Out Best

CTAM, the cable-industry marketing association, holds its annual conference in New York (for the first time since 1984) Wednesday to Friday (Oct. 5-7), at the tail end of a week of (mostly) diversity-related organization events.

Women in Cable Telecommunications holds its conference Monday and Tuesday; the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications meets Tuesday and Wednesday; and the Association of Cable Communicators holds its Forum Wednesday and Thursday.

CTAM CEO Char Beales and the conference co-chairs, Time Warner Cable senior vice president of brand strategy and marketing communications Marissa Freeman and Oxygen Media president Jason Klarman, said attendance is harder to predict than in, say, Denver or New Orleans, where most attendees book hotel rooms in advance.

“Here, we know from our friends at PromaxBDA and a lot of the others that we’ve talked to, this is a crowd that is going to register on-site,” Beales said. “But we think that we’re going to be happy.”

CTAM expects to meet or beat the 2010 CTAM Summit in New Orleans’ mark of 1,671 attendees (down from 1,983 in 2009).

Beales said the program is designed to appeal to programmers based in New York, with ad-agency honchos including BBDO chairman David Lubars and Wieden & Kennedy chief operating officer Dave Luhr, as well as many network chiefs, including Bravo Media president Frances Berwick and ESPN chief George Bodenheimer.

“We’ve tried to put together a program that allows people to dip in and out” if the office beckons, she said. Borrowing from the TED seminar format, CTAM will include “inspired ideas” sessions of 15-20 minutes each, and 30-minute “Face Time” meetings with the likes of Time Warner Cable executive vice president Joan Gillman and MediaStorm cofounder Craig Woerz.

Freeman said she’s excited about having Sanford Bernstein media analyst Craig Moffett and Harvard Business School associate professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski on the program. She heard both lecture at CTAM University, she said, and they were “unbelievable speakers, absolutely incredible.”

“But I am personally super jazzed about Danny Meyer,” the restaurateur who’s delivering a high-profile keynote Thursday morning, Freeman added.

Said Klarman: “He approached the restaurant business in a way that no one ever approached it before and has created numerous franchises and created a brand in himself across multiple diff erent types of restaurants. He looked at the restaurant landscape and saw the white space and just filled it — and brilliantly.”

For much more from Danny Meyer, please see the cover story.

Networking outlets include the “Chairmen’s Breakfast” Friday and the Mark Awards ceremony Thursday night with “no presentation, no round table, just a celebration and then a lot of fun prizes that people can have a chance to win,” Beales said. “Bring all your friends, it’s going to be good,” Klarman said.

‘Morning Joe’ Hosts Will Kick Off WICT With Talk Of ‘Value’

MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will open things up at Women in Cable Telecommunications’ conference on Monday with advice for women in maximizing how much they are paid, derived from Brzezinski’s best-selling book, Knowing Your Value.

Actually, Brzezinski told The Wire, she hopes to send Scarborough out to the audience with a mic, Oprah-style, and hear from attendees.

“I want to take their questions, I want to hear what their struggles are, I want to take the temperature in the room and turn it into a conversation,” she said.

Her book has received a lot of attention because of some real, specific examples about jobs where she was underpaid relative to her peers. Notably on Morning Joe, where Scarborough — through pay incentives tied to ratings — was getting paid 14 times more than Brzezinski before the pair finally persuaded MSNBC to level things out more.

Might women in cable — especially at networks, where female executives (Anne Sweeney at Disney, Bonnie Hammer and Lauren Zalaznick at NBCUniversal come to mind) hold powerful jobs — feel they are more empowered to seek and get higher pay, The Wire asked Brzezinski.

“I don’t think they’d see it that way, but that’s why I want to make it a conversation because this is such a specific industry with its specific challenges, and I want to hear what theirs are. … But I don’t think it’s an easy road for women in cable or television at all.”

Scarborough said his role is sometimes to speak in blunt terms about how women are unfairly treated in the workplace, so that Brzezinski doesn’t have to. His cohost, though, said it’s important for women to recognize when they aren’t doing enough for themselves. “We’re a part of the process, too,” she said.

Showtime App For ‘Homeland’ Thriller Decodes Mag Covers

It’s kinda spooky, actually. To promote spy psychodrama series Homeland (which debuted Sunday, Oct. 2), Showtime Networks launched a smartphone app that “decodes” the image of an everyday object to give fans access to exclusive content.

One of the first targets: The cover of the edition of Multichannel News you’re reading right now. The “Watch Carefully” app for iPhone and Android devices also recognizes the cover of Wired’s September issue, unlocking video clips and a code to watch the premiere episode online.

As Homeland unfolds, future clues may be hidden elsewhere, like stop signs. The app uses image-detection technology from U.K.-based Zappar.