Philly Summit to Pack a Punch

New York— Executives at the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing and the planning committee for its annual conference want next month’s Summit to be much more than just a contender.

Billed as the “2005 CTAM Summit, The World Cable-Heavyweight Conference,” it will be held at the Philadelphia Convention Center from July 24 to 26.

In talking up the “Thrilla in Phila” at the offices of Multichannel News here last Monday, CTAM president and CEO Char Beales and CTAM co-chair Sean Bratches, president of Disney and ESPN Networks, said rocker-turned-businessman Jon Bon Jovi will share his experiences of moving into the sports-ownership realm with his interest in the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul.

Bratches said Bon Jovi’s addition to the lineup for the Summit fits in with the conference’s theme of “the invention and reinvention of brands” — something cable executives must come to grips with as their product scope extends beyond video.

Reflective of an industry that now touches on offerings from digital cable and HD to telephony and digital video recorders, the Summit will offer specific learning tracks centering on “advanced video services,” “broadband and telephone,” “cable sales,” “competitive cable marketing” and “network marketing.”

With a large contingent of executives from hometown Comcast Corp. expected, MSO executives usually represent up to 40% of the Summit’s attendees, said Beales. Network officials represent the lion’s share of visitors, with growing numbers from hardware, software and middleware suppliers to the broadband community, as well as ad agencies.

Moreover, under the heading of “Promoter’s Showcases,” the conference will give companies like BigBand Networks Inc. and Rentrak Corp. 45 minutes to explain their products and strategies in The Summit Center Ring on Monday and Tuesday.

During the Summit, that venue will also be home for some 20 hours of “Digital Knockouts,” where vendors, marketers and networks can demonstrate their products and services.

One general session will feature NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France and Jonathan Kraft, vice chairman of the National Football League’s New England Patriots, discussing how their organizations are capitalizing on multiple platforms and revenue streams.

The event will also feature keynote addresses from Shelly Lazarus, chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, and Peter Weedfald, Samsung Electronics America Inc.’s senior vice president, sales and marketing for consumer electronics and North American corporate marketing.

“There’s a lot more pressure for [marketing] people to perform. The Summit is a great opportunity for cable to understand what’s going outside the environment they usually work in, to learn from them and bring new elements back with them,” said Bratches.

CTAM also said last week that CNN’s Larry King would interview Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts during the closing general session on July 26.

The CTAM Summit is targeting some 3,000 attendees, a total that would mark a record for the event.