Promax & BDA delivers big names, new sessions

Jun 24, 2002  •  Post A Comment

The Promax & BDA Conference & Exhibition in Los Angeles this week will meet some of the television industry’s toughest issues head on with inspirational speakers and back-to-basics sessions aimed at raising ratings and revenue.
The event’s location has enabled organizers to attract high-profile participants this year who won’t be thwarted by having to travel as far as New Orleans or Miami Beach, Fla., two other cities that have hosted Promax in recent years.
The presentation lineup begins, for example, with an opening keynote by Turner Broadcasting CEO Jamie Kellner and closes with Dr. Phil McGraw. NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker will participate on a panel, as will Ari Emanuel, founding partner of the Endeavor agency.
“We’ve got a high number of high-profile people speaking,” said Glynn Brailsford, president and CEO of Promax & BDA. “They really are there to help provide that clarity and focus that people are looking for in this very uncertain climate we’re all in,” he said.
Promax organizers won’t say how many people they expect to attend the conference, though they believe the number will be slightly lower than the 4,500 in attendance last year.
The nuts and bolts of the conference are found in its sessions. The organizers have made several significant tweaks to the lineup this year, adding the following three new tracks to meet the changing needs of the television community:
* The Focal: Local track is geared specifically toward local stations. “Last year we concentrated on news, which is a primary concern for our local stations-news promotion and marketing,” said Mr. Brailsford. “But we really wanted to extend beyond that and embrace as many of the topics our members at local stations are facing as we possibly could. So we worked with them to identify what was uppermost in their minds.”
Focal: Local includes sessions ranging from generating nontraditional revenues and getting the most out of syndicated programming to securing the best media buys and management skills for those with a creative services background.
* The new U.S. Hispanic track addresses the business and creative challenges associated with this increasingly important market. Even in a down market, Hispanic channels have had strong ad sales, an indication of the growing strength of the Hispanic community.
“Since in a number of markets you have the local Spanish-language channels competing quite fiercely with the English-language channels for ratings dominance, we thought it was important to incorporate a specific U.S. Hispanic track into our international conference,” said Steve Grieder, general manager, USA Travel Network, St. Petersburg, Fla.
To develop the track, Mr. Grieder and other organizers consulted with members and reached out to advertising agencies and Hispanic marketing organizations. “We tried to talk to people who have a sense of where this industry is going and try to come up with sessions that address what’s going to be the concern going forward,” said Mr. Grieder.
Sessions will review the landmark NBC-Telemundo deal, cover the challenges of creating programming for the Hispanic audience and tackle one of the biggest questions in U.S. Hispanic television: How to reach teens.
“If you look at the demographic shifts in the United States, I think every station and every channel in the country is going to have to look at the U.S. Hispanic community as a key component of whatever strategy they follow,” said Mr. Grieder.
* The third new track, Survive and Thrive, focuses on the business side of television. Sessions offer insight into permission marketing, getting your message through the clutter and the business of branding. Speakers include author and marketing guru Seth Godin, pop culture expert Jonathan Pontell and brand strategist Robin Fisher Roffer.
“The business track is designed to help Promax & BDA members think about the business side of creativity,” said Mark Tomizawa, Smash Advertising, Boston, who helped develop the track. “It helps them stay up to date with the very latest and best marketing thinking, so the ensuing creative is strategic and powerful and gets the right kind of results.
“A lot of these tracks are recognition of the fact that things are changing, and you can either help lead the way or you become dated,” said Mr. Tomizawa. “And in television, you can’t become dated.”