SCTE Launches ‘Corporate Alliance Program’

In an effort to drive new technology training tools and education programs while also expanding its base of individual members, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) has launched a Corporate Alliance Program, naming Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Suddenlink as the initiative’s charter members.

According to SCTE, the new program will focus on the development of training and education for emerging technologies, and offer discounts on individual employee memberships, access to online courses, and seats at the SCTE Leadership Institute programs at the Tuck School of Businesses at Dartmouth and the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business.

The Society, the cable industry's tech standard-setting organization, is in discussions with other MSOs about the initiative and expects to announce initial vendor partners “in the near future.”

SCTE president and CEO Mark Dzuban said a key aim is to create customized products and programs for various MSOs, noting that the SCTE’s focus will continue to develop content for the general industry, with a portion now set to go toward tailored, unique projects and programs for Corporate Alliance Program members. Dzuban identified cable’s IP services migration and the industry’s ongoing move into wireless as new areas that SCTE will apply focus on.

The Corporate Alliance program “is not a one-size-fits-all [initiative],” Dzuban insisted, believing that the programs that come out of it will help to improve cable customer satisfaction and reduce internal workforce churn. “It’s not just a large MSO solution.”  

But SCTE also views the new program as a significant growth opportunity for its membership base and the chance to expose more engineers to the Society’s education and training programs.

Under the original format, individuals paid an annual $68 membership fee. MSOs and vendors that are part of the new program will pay partnership dues, but will also receive discounted rates on individual SCTE memberships for their employees.

SCTE, which today has just under 17,000 members, believes it is already in position to add between 15,000 to 20,000 new members by the end of its current fiscal year, which ends, in June, according to Bill Schankel, SCTE’s vice president of marketing.

“We’re customizing the proposals” to fit different-sized MSOs and industry suppliers, Schankel said.

SCTE’s revenues, which were about $11 million for its last fiscal year, come from those memberships, along with content and training programs, and conferences. Dzuban estimated that about 40% of SCTE revenues currently come from the organization's annual Cable-Tec Expo. The 2014 iteration is slated to take place in Denver from September 22-25.

“The SCTE Corporate Alliance Program will contribute to the development and sharing of new training approaches and other opportunities for cable,” said Terry Cordova, senior vice president and CTO of Suddenlink, and chairman of the Board of Directors of SCTE.  “By bringing together two key ingredients – unparalleled resources and the member reach through SCTE Chapters -- the program will create a unified learning and solutions environment that is tailored to the needs of the entire industry.”

“The rapid pace of change in technology, consumer expectations and the competitive landscape is creating new opportunities for engineering and operations professionals,” added Patrick O’Hare, senior vice president of field engineering and technical operations for Comcast.  “The SCTE Corporate Alliance Program is a unified approach that will leverage the commitments of operators and leading vendors. The ultimate goals are to accelerate how training tools and products are created, to enable operators and vendors to advance the careers of their technical employees, and to keep our industry on the leading edge of telecommunications innovation.”