Inside This Issue:
Want to know how Beacon Award winners select the right category to enter? Curious how a Beacon Award entry is judged? Interested in how best to highlight the strengths of your project in the three page summary? The Beacon Awards Blog returns this year, bringing you the latest secrets of success to entering the Beacon Awards from the experts themselves. Past Beacon Award winners and judges will unveil new keys to putting together a winning entry and unpack the evaluation process to give you insider access as you compile your 2010 Beacon Award entry. Check in at http://blog.cablecommunicators.org/ every day for fresh tips and information.
You don’t need inside information to take advantage of the early bird discount rate on 2010 Beacon Award entries. Save $50 on your entry fee when you submit to the Beacon Awards by April 9—just seven days from today! ACC has already received the first two Beacon Awards entries of the year. There’s still time for you to qualify for the discount too. The final deadline is April 23. A PDF of the Call for Entries is available online.
The Beacon Awards recognize the best of the best cable communications and public affairs campaigns. Enter your best work and receive the recognition you deserve. This year’s Beacon Awards will be presented at a luncheon ceremony during ACC’s FORUM 2010, September 15 and 16 at the New York Hilton hotel. For more information, visit the ACC Web site.
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Time Warner Cable (TWC) launched the “Cracking the Codes in the Digital World” educational program as a new feature of the operator’s ongoing initiative “Connect a Million Minds” (CAMM). The “Cracking the Codes” curriculum teaches children about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by using real-life interactive examples based on TWC technology.
TWC partnered with school and youth organizations like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to bring students to facilities in California, New York, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Idaho, Maine, Arizona and Wisconsin during last week’s designated CAMM Week. The operator will continue to work with these organizations as “Cracking the Codes in the Digital World” continues to run and expands to “Cracking the Codes in the High Speed World” and “Cracking the Codes in the Wireless World” later this year.
“Cracking the Codes” supports CAMM’s mission to address America’s declining proficiency in STEM concepts. The five-year, $100 million, philanthropic initiative includes original PSAs that challenge public perceptions of STEM; Web site www.connectamillionminds.com; “The Connectory,” an online resource that provides parents and students with informal science and technology learning opportunities in their communities; grants to support nonprofit organizations that bring after-school STEM learning to students; and TWC employees, who volunteer at community events like science fairs and robotics competitions and share engineering and technology with students at CAMM career days. TWC’s national CAMM partners are Coalition for Science After School and For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Local TWC markets are activating CAMM across the country with community-specific programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.connectamillionminds.com.
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Join ACC for its latest webinar on April 8 at 2 pm EDT,“Social Media for Social Change: How MTV Used Viral Videos to Increase Youth STD Testing." To address the public health crisis of one in two sexually active Americans being infected with a STD by age 25, MTV and The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) joined with Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to launch GYT (Get Yourself Tested). Pegged to last year's National STD Awareness Month (April ’09), the campaign was purpose-built to inspire a critical mass of young people to be tested for STDs, including HIV. MTV’s Jason Rzepka and Lily Williamson will lead a case study of this successful campaign.
Recognizing the often uncomfortable nature of talking about STD and HIV/AIDS testing, GYT was introduced via a guerrilla-style viral marketing campaign—under the banner of “WTF is GYT?”—to pique the interest of America’s youth and begin inserting the acronym into the culture. MTV interns bombarded The Today Show wearing GYT shirts, hip hop artist Soulja Boy tweeted “WTF is GYT?” to his 170K followers, and un-marked videos with celebrities like Perez Hilton and Big Boi of Outkast guessing the meaning of GYT were “planted” on key social networking sites. Immediately, young people began uploading videos to YouTube speculating what GYT might mean. The strategy helped drive over half a million views of MTV’s GYT-related videos and elicited 3,000+ comments. In a month-long push, GYT engaged its target audience everywhere they were: on MTV, MTV.com, social networking sites, pop culture blogs, mobile devices, at school, and in nearly 880 PPFA clinics nationwide.
Only ACC members may attend this webinar, and it is free of charge as a benefit of ACC membership. ACC members can register for this free webinar via the association’s online education portal in the members-only section of ACC’s Web site. You must be logged into the members-only area to access this portal, and you can log in through the member login box in the left-hand corner of each individual page of the Web site. Your username is your work email address, and the password is your last name all in lowercase letters. If you are not currently a member, use ACC’s trial membership and join free for your first six months.
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Bravo TV has expanded its social media presence to Foursquare, a location-based social networking site that allows users to comment on their current locale. Viewers engage with the game aspect of Foursquare to collect programming themed badges and gain access to network personalities’ entertainment recommendations in various cities.
“Bravo is always looking for ways to reach and engage our audience especially in the social media space and are very committed to our efforts with Facebook and Twitter. We began to track the emerging location-aware mobile application space and found an ideal partner in Foursquare. When we did a deeper dive, we discovered it provided an innovative and fun way to interact with our users. And, here at Bravo, people could not stop using the platform, vying for mayorships and unlocking badges, reinforcing its appeal,” Ellen Stone, senior vice president of marketing for Bravo Media, said. “Our Bravo personalities, or Bravolebrities as we refer to them, act as a curatorial voice offering recommendations and tips on where to shop, eat, etc, with over 7K venues tagged across the country. This content allows fans to experience restaurants, shops, on a local level through their favorite Bravolebrities.”
“Bravolebrities” from shows such as “Top Chef,” “Millionaire Matchmaker,” “The Rachel Zoe Project,” “Shear Genius,” and the “Real Housewives” series use the social networking site to tag their location while at favorite hot spots. The tagged locations serve as a themed collection curated based on the interest of the personality. “Bravo provides a curatorial voice in the areas of food (“Top Chef”), fashion (“Rachel Zoe Project”), beauty (“Shear Genius”), design and pop culture while catering to a smart, upscale consumer,” Stone said. “The Foursquare locations we tag reinforce each of these passion areas while appealing to our unique audience.” For more information, visit http://foursquare.com/bravo.
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ACC’s 2010 Cable Communications Institute is set to take place in New York City, June 13-16. At the exclusive, 2.5 day, educational conference, experts will review multiple communications techniques that are completely transferable to communications and public affairs professionals’ daily work. This graduate-level program is designed for mid to senior level communications executives who would like to expand their knowledge base and advance their capabilities to the next level.
Although the program is not finalized at this time, tentative speakers and topics for the academic program include the following:
· “From Public Relations to Public Engagement” with Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, New York
The 2010 Cable Communications Institute takes place June 13-16, in New York City at Syracuse University’s Lubin House facility adjacent to Central Park on 61st Street. Space is limited to the first 25 qualified applicants. Tuition for the Institute is $2,100 per individual on or before May 4, 2010. May 5 and after the fee is $2,300. Tuition covers all instructional materials and most meals. Travel and housing expenses are not included in this fee. To apply, complete the application form, found online to 202-222-2371, ATTN: Steve Jones.
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Bresnan Communications was honored this month for their efforts to educate the community about safe Internet use through its child-safety program, Bresnan SafetyNet. The Billings City Council and Montana’s Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce (ICAC) presented the operator with a plaque in recognition of their impact on the community.
The Bresnan SafetyNet offers educational and support materials and features special events to teach kids how to stay safe while on the Internet, playing online games and watching television. During presentations at schools, safety fairs and other local events, students and their families learn simple safety tips and receive take-home Internet safety packets. The program also provides free child fingerprinting and photographing services—providing parents and guardians with a disc and printout containing the child’s fingerprints and identification information.
Bresnan works with the ICAC Taskforce to utilize the knowledge and experience of members in delivering Internet safety presentations. The operator also donates free Internet and telephone services to help the Taskforce in its undercover work. For more information on the Bresnan SafetyNet, visit www.bresnansafetynet.com.
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Last week, ACC gathered industry experts to discuss the benefits and best practices of partnering internally to further your communications efforts during the online chat, “Integrating Cable Communications.” Amy Pempel, director of media relations, FOX Sports Florida & Sun Sports, Ann Shrewsbury, vice president, communications, Time Warner Cable--National, and Brian Craven, director of public affairs and communications, Bright House Networks, Central Florida, took questions from ACC members on everything from how to best collaborate to what food to bring to interdepartmental meetings. Below are a few of their tips.
To access the complete transcripts and more helpful advice, visit the Online Education Portal, located in the members only section of the ACC Web site. You must be logged into the members-only area to enter this portal, and you can log in through the member login box in the left-hand corner of each individual page of the Web site. Your username is your work email address, and the password is your last name all in lowercase letters.
Remember: You’re All in this Together
Sales, Marketing, Communications, Public Relations—no matter what department you’re in, chances are you share the same letterhead. It’s important to remember that you all represent the same product, just in different ways. Integrating communications allows multiple departments to work together and have a greater impact on the bottom line. “You get the best from everyone when you involve everyone in a project,” Craven said. “The feeling of team accomplishment is a great internal benefit, and a stronger presence/end product definitely comes from having more involvement.”
Collaborating with other departments also gives everyone the opportunity to become more informed about your company’s plans and products. “The advantages are measurable as with a strong integrated communications plan,” Pempel said. “Everyone involved in the event, effort, program or campaign will be fully prepared and informed, which leads to success.”
Make Sharing Information Easy
“There is a risk of ineffective communications or over-communicating, which can be a serious casualty and stifle success. So the challenges are crystallizing all the information into a manageable plan and insuring your plan stays on track,” Pempel cautioned. Sharing information is essential to any campaign’s success so find the means of communication that works best within your company. “One method of keeping on the same page is the use of a common platform like Outlook--something as simple as that--to make sure everyone keeps step in timing,” Craven said.
Software often used for collaboration, such as Sharepoint, is also an option. Building an internal communications structure or using wikis, which each user can modify, can create a consolidated location for project management. “Beyond [using a common program], the best way to keep everyone engaged and involved is to have regular interaction through either traditional meetings or to use IM to send messages as they arise during a project,” Craven also said.
Never Underestimate the Human Touch
“There are lots of software tools/systems that can be used, but I also don't want to underestimate the significance of meeting one on one with other department leaders, understanding their roles and key objectives and developing those relationships,” Shrewsbury said. Face-to-face interaction works to the advantage of all parties involved. Explaining campaigns and goals in person allows for clearer communication and gives opportunity to eliminate miscommunications that can happen though technological means. It provides the chance for questions to be asked and answered in real time as well as simply puts a face to a name, personalizing the process.
“Daily briefings, multi-department conference calls, updated spreadsheets posted on centralized server Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½ those are effective tools for us. But honestly, you can have all the technical bells and whistles you want, but there are times when a good old-fashioned, one on one conversation with someone becomes your most effective tool,” Pempel said. “I’ve found that when various tools & tactics come together across multiple divisions/departments, the result can lead to a much more streamlined campaign.”
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Several cable companies have joined with nonprofits and computer technology organizations to create a coalition in support of broadband adoption among low-income families. The Digital Adoption Coalition will work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide eligible families with broadband access and education.
Members of the coalition include AT&T, BendBroadband, Bresnan Communications, Bright House Networks, Cablevision Systems Corp., Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Connected Nation, Eagle Communications, Inc., Dell, Intel Corporation, Mediacom Communications Corp., Microsoft, Midcontinent Communications, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), One Economy Corporation, Sjoberg’s Cable TV, Suddenlink Communications, Time Warner Cable, US Cable Group, and USTelecom.
The coalition would collaborate with HUD to improve broadband access, services, and technology to approximately 250,000 low-income households across the nation. Focusing on outreach efforts in public housing, project-based Section 8 properties, and multi-family assisted communities, the coalition would provide digital literacy training, discount computers, affordable Internet access, and project administration services to eligible homes.
One Economy, a global nonprofit dedicated to spreading broadband adoption to families in need, filed an application with the National Telecommunications & Information Administration on behalf of the coalition for funding through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. For more information visit, One Economy’s Web site.
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C-SPAN has launched an online video library to provide access to over 160,000 hours worth of footage captured by the network since 1987. The free, searchable archives provide viewers with two decades worth of events on digital video and the means to share online clips through social media networks.
Program video, transcripts, photo galleries, and statistics are accessible through database and electronic archival systems developed by the network. Videos are Flash capable, and made to be posted to social media through e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter sharing functions.
In addition to general searching and browsing capabilities, the library provides “Congressional Chronicle,” an index specifically dedicated to footage of House and Senate proceedings. The videos are organized by speaker, with full text and video search capability, and cover Congressional action as far back as 1993. For more information, visit http://www.c-spanvideo.org/videoLibrary/index.php.
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ACC Board Member Dr. Libby O’Connell, chief historian, senior vice president, corporate outreach for A&E Television Networks, has been named one of Multichannel News’ 2010 Women to Watch. O’Connell and her fellow honorees were celebrated at a luncheon co-hosted by Women in Cable Telecommunications and Multichannel News on March 24th in New York City. O’Connell oversees corporate outreach for A&E, History, and Lifetime Networks and has helmed numerous public affairs initiatives including Take a Veteran to Work Day and A&E’s Intervention Town Hall Meetings.
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Join and support ACC by becoming a 2010 corporate member. For more information on how your organization can join ACC as a corporate member, please contact Steve Jones at email@example.com or 202-222-2373. For membership details, go to http://www.cablecommunicators.org/cmember.php.
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