Cable’s largest annual gathering will be augmented this year by some 1,000 people and a half-dozen panels courtesy of the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, which has merged its local ad sales confab with The Cable Show (May 7-19 in Las Vegas). Why merge? "The stature of our programming elements outgrew the size of the rooms we were staging them in," CAB chief Sean Cunningham says. Last year CAB’s keynote was GM’s media chief Betsy Lazar. "We were told quite frankly [by MSO presidents and ad sales execs] that what we were offering needs to be seen by the entire industry." We asked Cunningham how operators will profit from CAB’s input in Vegas.



What should cable operators who are not in advertising take away from your sessions?

SC: Revenue growth, revenue growth and revenue growth, enabled by technology. And that we’re working toward what will mature to be some of the best-in-class advertising practices in the entire advertising industry. Cable is a great conduit to the consumer.

What will be the main advantage of attending NCTA for loyal CAB show attendees?

SC: They’ll be in an industry immersion.

What about your program?

SC: It’s still going to be the best that we can put on, and we’ll continue our awards program [May 8, 7:30 p.m. PT]. The highlight will be [Anheuser-Busch Companies president & CEO] August Busch IV as our keynote speaker, which is also the general session Wednesday morning [10 a.m., Mandalay Bay Ballroom J]. He’ll be talking about their vision for the future of video. We’re very excited that advertising will be the centerpiece of why he’s coming to talk to our whole industry. To have someone of that level of American business leadership as our keynote speaks for itself as to the importance of advertising inside the cable arena.

What about the panels?

SC: We’ll have an entire session on political advertising and best practices [May 8, 3:45 p.m., Breakers L]. We think this category will continue on a really severe growth curve for us. Our presidents panel [May 8, 2 p.m., Breakers L] will feature the likes of [ESPN EVP, sales & marketing] Sean Bratches, [Comcast Spotlight president] Charlie Thurston and [Time Warner Cable Media Sales president] Joan Gillman. That will allow us to put the leaders of the industry under the spotlight and ask them a lot of future, leading questions…find out what they see as the video future. If they have different takes on things, we won’t be shy about that either.

And technology?

SC: Yes, we will be talking about advanced advertising and how revenue will be generated through new advertising technologies as we are in the middle of selling packages that include large video-on-demand chunks [May 9, 8 a.m., Breakers L]. We’re there already, generating revenue, and we want to share best practices on that. We’ll also be talking about motivating and building staff [May 9, 2 p.m., Breakers L].

How will you open your part of the show?

SC: I’ll be taking a look at the latest results of our Which Screen research [May 8, 8 a.m., Breakers L]. We are in the field doing that second-wave research right now. This will include new questions that have been brought to us by agencies and clients. We’ll be revealing the answers to those questions that morning.

Will your attendees have time to visit panels beyond those that are advertising-specific?

SC: Yes, that was a critical part of our design. We want our salespeople to take in a lot of the general and major sessions of the show at large. They are incredibly important to advertising but may not necessarily be about advertising. We want them to attend the show within the show and not miss the show.

Will your multicultural activities be in evidence at the show?

SC: We do not have it as a major element at this point. For this first integrated conference there were many excellent topics, like multicultural, that our members want to hear about, but we had to make some tough choices. There’s every reason to believe that will be part of the following year.

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