What's Next For Cable Marketers?

Complete CTAM Summit 2010 coverage

Sean Bratches, ESPN's executive vice president of sales and marketing, is nearing the end of a remarkable two-year term as CTAM chair. He successfully led the organization through a time of rigorous internal and external assessment and adjustment, resulting from economic crisis and continued industry consolidation. Sean and our notable board of directors, each one a management thinker and innovative leader in their own right, set CTAM on a path of inquiring, listening, responding and improving - even when we didn't much like the idea.

As incoming CTAM chair, I know we'll have more hard decisions to make in the next year or two. But I trust that this culture of improvement will make CTAM an even more valued and influential partner in helping us develop new products, bring them successfully to market, excite customers and viewers, and continue to build our businesses.
While we will be spending the next couple of months determining the specifics of a long-range plan, we're certain to look to the successes of the recent past as guideposts. The national collaborative initiatives, born out of the CTAM Corporate Partner structure begun in 2003, have become a hallmark of our member-driven accomplishments.
For example, the Cable Mover Programs are saving MSOs thousands of customers annually at the vulnerable time of a move. In addition, this year eight cable companies and eight movie studios joined forces for the unprecedented "Movies On Demand" campaign. With it, reported use of MOD increased 12%. Similar outcomes are seen from the Advanced Cable Solutions Consortium and Business Services Council, where working groups tackle product development and marketing issues, along with awareness-building PR campaigns. We must continue to build on our unique opportunity to grow through collaboration more powerfully than we can individually.
I also strongly believe in our ongoing need to improve ourselves to improve our businesses, and it can be accelerated through innovative learning programs, such as CTAM Wired - the new series of executive-level virtual events. Planned by members for members and led by top-tier business leaders, these tailored engagements are ripe for an industry that desperately needs to keep up with the latest trends, but faces significant travel and budget restrictions.
So what's next? Well, who knows? But I'll say with confidence that the next few years will involve change. While change can be difficult, I know CTAM members will approach it with an outlook that is forward-looking, adaptable and in the spirit of "continual improvement." I look forward to every moment.

Sam Howe, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Time Warner Cable, is the the incoming CTAM chairman.