Cox Communications executives trumpeted the benefits of bundling at this week's CTAM Digital & Broadband Conference, so perhaps it's only fitting that cable's lead marketing organization will do the same with the confab itself.

After deliberating over the idea for the better part of 18 months, CTAM said it has decided to close down the Digital conference as a stand-alone gathering and merge it with the organization's flagship CTAM Summit.

CTAM will begin the packaged effort at the 2004 Summit, slated for July 18–20 in Boston. Philadelphia will host the 2005 show.

CTAM officials said the decision to shut down Digital was not driven by financial reasons. In fact, this year's gathering drew 1,318 registrants, just off the show's record of 1,328 four years ago. CTAM launched the conference in 1990 in Orlando. The gathering initially centered squarely on the pay-per-view subject, but later evolved to focus on digital cable and broadband services.

Taking a page from the surfing theme employed at this week's conference, CTAM President and CEO Char Beales acknowledged that it's best to "get off the wave before it crests."

Still, the decision to combine shows will also help CTAM make better use of its resources, Beales said, noting that the organization spends dollars and people power on high-profile projects such as the "Cable Movers Hotline" initiative with CableLabs and the industry's "Only Cable Can" marketing campaign.

The marketing organization will also enhance its focus on one-day seminars that dive into a specific subject. CTAM, for example, will offer one focusing on commercial services on May 18 in Washington, D.C.

CTAM also hopes the move will draw more attendees and bigger name speakers to Summit, which usually attracts between 2,200 to 2,400 people.