Experience Sesermania

Name Game Goes On

Now that the National Cable & Telecommunications Association has changed its name to reflect the changing focus of the industry, can other name changes be far behind? Many state associations have already rechristened themselves. Now a spokesman for the California Cable Television Association, which hosts the Western Show, hints we may (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) "See Change" at the next Western Show (the confab's theme, get it?). "We've been talking for some time [about a name change]. It's logical and right to demonstrate the breadth of the industry in our name," said Paul Fadelli at the CCTA. Stay tuned for a rebranding initiative replete with new logo that will debut just before the annual winter trade show.

Catch Sesermania?

First there was Beatlemania. Then there was Wrestlemania. Now, there's Sesermania. Late last month, more than 100 cable marketers from across the country gathered in a Denver pub to salute former AT&T Broadband senior vice president of marketing Doug Seserman, who recently left the MSO.

"I was really humbled by this," he said last week. "It made me laugh; it made me cry."

Among the collectible giveaways at the bash were an "Experience Sesermania" CD of "Seserisms," compiled by Cincinnati-based Sullivan Direct Marketing Inc., as well as a T-shirt with a cartoon likeness of the marketing guru. His mother collected the Sesermania memorabilia for her scrapbook. "My mom hasn't been that proud since my bar mitzvah," he said.

Besides former co-workers, marketing consultants, ad-agency executives, programmers and mom, Seserman's wife, sister and brother were also on hand to experience Sesermania.

Powell Plays Favorites

For those who say cable doesn't have competition, all they have to do is listen to Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell. Appearing on C-SPAN's Washington Journal
program last Friday morning, Powell was asked by host Brian Lamb whether he's a cable subscriber.

"I have satellite," Powell said, without naming his provider. "My system has almost 400 channels on it. I can't even channel surf."

In a nod to cable programmers, Powell said he is a "big fan" of The Learning Channel and Discovery Channel. Digging deeper into Powell's video habits, Lamb found out that he has a VCR, but not one of those fancy digital devices provided by TiVo and Replay. "No, not yet, I can't afford it," he said.

On politics, Lamb asked Powell about rumors he's interested in running for the U.S. Senate from Virginia. "I live one day at a time and that's not on the schedule," he replied.

Going to Disney World

Looks like SpongeBob SquarePants
is the latest Nickelodeon cartoon character to get star treatment. SpongeBob — featured in a "Got Chocolate Milk?" magazine ad earlier this year — now will be joining Nick's Costumed Characters Tour, as will a couple of new characters from the network's The Wild Thornberrys. As an added enhancement, Nick will be setting up tents during the 2001 tour to house photo ops for fans. Moreover, SpongeBob will be soaking up some sun during an appearance at MTV Networks' exhibit booth at the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's Local Cable Sales Management Conference at Walt

Disney World in Orlando, Fla., late this week, along with Mr. T, who'll plug TV Land. Talk about your odd couples!

Going for the Gold

Move over Mt. Olympus. The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau has already selected its site for the 2002 CAB Local confab — Salt Lake City. Prospective attendees will get to preview the locale thanks to "a 15-day commercial on NBC and cable," joked CAB's vice president of local sales and marketing Kevin Barry, referring to Winter Olympics coverage on NBC, CNBC and MSNBC in February. The meeting is slated for the weekend after Father's Day, Barry noted.

One lucky CAB Local attendee in Orlando will win a raffle offering a trip for two to Salt Lake during
the Olympics, courtesy of NBC Cable Networks.

Advertorial Gets Scoop

When Time Warner Cable and Tribune Media Services announced an electronic program guide deal last month, the companies wouldn't say where the MSO would deploy the Zap2it EPG. But in the "Spring 2002 Web Guide" advertorial that ran in Multichannel News, Broadcasting & Cable
and Cablevision
last week, Tribune spilled the beans by running a screen shot of the Zap2it guide with the Time Warner Communications Columbus, Ohio brand on the top of interface. Time Warner Cable spokesman Mike Luftman reaction: "We didn't name it. I guess they did."