We came, we saw…we didn’t quite get out to the beach. But CTAM-Florida’s BeachTAM event at the St. Regis in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, did tackle some tough marketing issues, including HD rollouts that have sometimes caused tension between operators struggling to find bandwidth and programmers rushing to get carriage for new HD nets. "We’re all in this together," said Jim Pagano, vp/gm at Advanced Cable Communications, noting that the bandwidth crunch is a challenge but not insurmountable over time. Mike Robertson, division pres, Tampa for Bright House Networks, said the DTV transition is "a good opportunity for us" to drive more HD adoption as more people buy HDTVs and discover HD content. Still problematic, however, is educating consumers to understand the difference between SD and HD. Mary Murano, NBCU‘s evp, TV networks distribution, cited stats suggesting that many HDTV owners don’t even know that they’re still watching SD channels. But noting NBCU’s "great platform" of HD content, she said programmers are ready to help ops educate consumers to understand the difference. Tom Zemaitis, vp, marketing at Comcast South FL Region, said retail partnerships are "very important" as a way to demonstrate HD to consumers even though ops face an entrenched DBS retail presence. Pagano said "hats off to Comcast" for raising the bar on cable HD advertising but noted that when looking at national cable advertising as a whole, " DirecTV just murders us on that." And as the debate over who has the most HD continues, Robertson said cable must continue to highlight its strengths (such as the triple play, VOD, etc) rather than try to match satellite’s linear capacity. "If you get into a numbers game, you’re not going to win that game."

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