CTAM Europe nods to effectiveness in promoting growth

LONDON — In an age where television viewers are increasingly multi-tasking — checking social media sites, text messaging, even watching content on other devices while keeping half an eye on a TV screen — the ability to stand out from the crowd is ever more important.

It’s a message Brussels-based Telenet Digital, for one, took to heart when it chose the name AV Naked to market its cutting-edge digital TV box, which allows users to decide when and how they view content.

And it was a campaign worthy of an award, according to CTAM Europe, the Euro division of the not-for-profit Cable and Telecommunications Assn. for Marketing that was set up in the U.S. in 1975. Its 300 members include AETN Intl., Disney-ESPN, HBO Central Europe, Kabel Deutschland, National Geographic, UPC and Virgin Media.

CTAM Europe’s Creative Awards Program judges marketing campaigns from cable operators, content providers, creative agencies and, new this year, technical companies, by their effectiveness in promoting business growth.

And this year, at its annual EuroSummit in Malta on Sept. 22-23, the org will open the CAP awards to non-members.

“There are multitudes of operators offering rich bundles of services across Europe,” says Budapest-based Krisztina Homolay, CTAM Europe’s managing director, who adds that it’s not enough simply to design attractive services or offer technical improvements such as VOD and DVR via superfast fiber-optics.

“The key to a successful marketing strategy is to connect with your users, to build an emotional bond with your brand and maintain and grow your market,” Homolay says.

It is an essential point at a time when the switch from analog to digital TV for millions of viewers in Eastern Europe has the potential to create competitors and opportunities for cablers.

A report by the U.K.’s Digital TV Research, shows that 76 million homes — some 66%, in 15 countries across Eastern Europe — were still on analog at the end of 2010.

By 2016, nearly 67 million homes will have switched to digital, and 68 million — some 59% — will have pay TV, up from 17 million now.

“Pay TV consolidation was one positive outcome from the global economic recession that rocked Eastern Europe so badly,” says report author Simon Murray. “Consolidation will lead to greater consumer choice through bundles, particularly as financially stronger cable operators take on the might of incumbent telcos. Greater competition will keep prices down and will lead operators to strive to offer more to entice new subs.”

Finding ways of getting those offers across to subscribers is what CTAM Europe’s CAP awards are all about, Homolay says.

In addition to Telenet Digital, gold award winners last year included HBO Central Europe’s campaign to broaden the audience for arthouse movie channel Cinemax, under the slogan “Cinemax Good Movies,” with a series of whimsical and playful messages that suggested the brand was relaxed and cool.

Last year’s winners will address delegates on the first day of the EuroSummit, explaining how they designed their campaigns. “It is no longer enough to have fluffy logos and messages,” Homolay says. “Campaigns need to be cutting edge, where the brand and the services are properly marketed.”

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