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CTAM Notes

Jul 28, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Though HBO had received 109 Emmys nominations the week before, the channel’s sales and marketing president said the award doesn’t carry weight with viewers.
“I don’t think it’s like the movie business,” Eric Kessler said. “If you win an Emmy, I don’t think it has the same impact. I don’t think the glow of Emmys lasts as long as the glow of Oscars. It’s nice. It’s helpful, but does it have a business impact? Only a little.”
Fellow CTAM panelist Peter Liguori, president and CEO of FX Networks, agreed with Mr. Kessler and added that attracting name actors was the main benefit of Emmy recognition. “What [winning Emmys] says to talent is, `We will take care of you,”’ Mr. Liguori said.
MSOs Join Cable Movers Hotline
Nine major multiple system operators have agreed to participate in a new program called the Cable Movers Hotline that promises to make transferring cable service easier while preventing market erosion to digital broadcast satellite systems.
The hotline is a referral program in which a cable customer calling to cancel service due to a move will be offered the option of speaking to a cable representative in the customer’s new area. Adelphia, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox and Time Warner are among the MSOs that have agreed to participate. Other cable companies are expected to join the program by the end of the year.
The hotline is an effort to decrease churn to DBS and to hasten the transfer of dedicated cable customers. The project is funded by CableLabs and is jointly managed by CableLabs and CTAM. Hotline testing began in late 2002 and a phased launch began early this year. Full national rollout is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2004.
Does DVR = More TV?
Research company C Cubed claimed that owning a DVR system increased the number of hours, programs and channels watched by a typical viewer. Specifically, DVR owners watched 20 percent more hours of television, 41 percent more channels and 42 percent more programs than before purchasing a system.
C Cubed principal Jennifer Choate also said her research showed DVR owners will not tolerate the loss of the much-debated commercial fast-forwarding feature.
“You just have to accept that VCRs have had [fast-forwarding] and you have to figure out how to move revenue to other areas,” Ms. Choate said. “If you take away that ability, you will have customers who are angry. You cannot force a household to watch something.”
Operators Plan To Tier Up
Execs from Time Warner, Cox and Insight said their companies will push to create more tiers as programming contracts expire.
“Tiering is a reality. We have to offer our customers more choices,” said Lynne Costantini, VP of programming for Time Warner Cable.
Real Presses Content Bundling
Noting that high-speed data services were a larger profit driver for MSOs last year than was video, Real Networks CEO Rob Glaser pressed CTAM attendees to bundle new content (such as Real products, for instance) with their cable services.
The sell got a bit tougher, however, when Real demonstrated its music downloading program Rhapsody during a general session: The program crashed. Twice.
Mark Award Winners
In programming categories, National Geographic led the competition with five Gold Mark Awards, while MTV and Showtime followed with four each. Cox Communications led among cable operators, taking seven awards. In addition to the traditional gold and silver winners, the new “Top of the Mark” award was presented for the top-scoring campaign of the year-MTV’s “Fight For Your Rights: Protect Yourself.”