Imagine you’re a Cox PR rep and you want to pitch a VOD story to a national consumer magazine. But the mag passes; its readers are nationwide, yet Cox VOD is available in select Cox markets only. Cox vp, comm Ellen East doesn’t have to imagine the scenario, she’s lived it. That’s why she and some 40 PR pros from MSOs, networks and vendors have joined CTAM’s new "Consumer Communications/PR for Advanced Products Committee." The idea (much like with "Only Cable Can") is to provide national messaging for cable. Instead of doing so with marketing and advertising, the group uses PR channels. This week, consumer tech expert David Gregg and tech analyst Leslie Ellis are making the rounds for the CTAM committee in NY, pitching cable stories to national mags like Popular Science and Fitness. Up next is a PR push timed to a CTAM marketing effort for the "Cable Movers" hotline, which lets MSOs share info to sign disconnected customers who move. Cable Movers will include trying to reach out to the Natl Assoc of Retailers. "All of us are coming together and we’re willing to give up our brand identity" to get the story out, says East, who co-chairs the committee with Time Warner Cable’s Mark Harrad. So, why is this initiative under the CTAM umbrella and not CTPAA? "CTPAA doesn’t really do consumer facing, PR and outreach," CTAM’s Anne Cowan says. But CTPAA is helping, voting last week to commit resources to the CTAM initiative. The thinking is CTPAA members can funnel the committee’s national message down to local media. The CTAM group had its 1st meeting in Feb. Since then it’s held a satellite media tour at National and an HD press briefing at CES. On the horizon is a PR campaign tied to CTAM’s upcoming national marketing initiative. "CTAM has done a fabulous job with ‘Only Cable Can’ and the On Demand Consortium," East says. "Marketers focus on advanced services and how we create advertising to get that message out. I think what Char (Beales) and Anne realize is how much more powerful these campaigns can be if you add PR."

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