Video services

ITV to Shine at CTAM Confab

7:50 AM -- With US cable operators stepping up rollouts of interactive TV (ITV) products, the industry’s marketing association said it will focus more on ITV and new technology at its annual convention next month in New Orleans.

"Interactive television on cable is just around the corner, so we're going to do a deep dive in ITV," Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) CEO Char Beales said on a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon.

In addition to panels on ITV, the CTAM Summit, which runs Oct. 18-20 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, will also feature panels on 3DTV, social media, and cross-platform marketing.

Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) EVP of marketing and advertising Jon Hargis said CTAM will spotlight several ITV apps from developers at an "ITV Idol: Ground Breaking Applications" session on October 18. Attendees will be able to vote for their favorite application, and the winner will get the CTAM Summit’s first ever "Get Interactive Award," said Hargis, who is co-chair of the conference.

Hargis's company has been one of the more aggressive cable operators when it comes to rolling out ITV services, offering everything from interactive advertising applications to mosaic program guides. But the company hasn't run consumer marketing campaigns for its interactive TV services such as Optimum Select, which allows subscribers to press the select button on their remotes to learn more about a product being advertised using an interactive overlay.

Hargis wouldn’t rule out running ad campaigns that explain to subscribers how they can use ITV, but he said that most of them have figured out how to use it on their own. "I was shocked at how intuitive it was to push the select button to get a free sample," Hargis said. (See Cablevision's Interactive Ads Click With Subs.)

The Summit schedule includes a breakout session focused on how to use interactive TV as a marketing tool, and a session about IP video. There's a session on how 3D can be used to "sharpen stories and brands," and the closing general session on October 20 is focused on 3D.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) EVP and CTO Tony Werner is scheduled to speak at a "Face Time" session on Oct. 18, along with Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) chief marketing officer Sam Howe.

Beales said CTAM hopes to draw 1,900 industry executives to the New Orleans confab. Last year's CTAM Summit in Denver drew 1,983 attendees. (See Down in Denver? and TV Execs: Don't Be Distracted by 'TV Everywhere' .)

CTAM has signed 40 sponsors so far for the Summit, including six firms that are sponsoring the Summit for the first time, Beales said.

The Summit is part of the cable industry’s "Cable Connection Fall" event schedule. The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) will run its Cable-Tec Expo Oct. 20-22 at the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) plans to hold a "Tech It Out" breakfast panel on Oct. 20.

— Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

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