SNTA Frontrunner Is Ad Exec

Jan 12, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Just as syndicators are leaving for Las Vegas to press the flesh at the National Association of Television Program Executives convention, the Syndicated Network Television Association appear close to finding its new president.
Multiple sources said the front-runner for the job is Mitch Burg, former president and chief operating officer of Mediaedge:cia and former CEO of IDT Media as the new president of the organization.
Mr. Burg would bring almost 30 years of media and marketing experience to the group, which has been searching for a replacement for Gene DeWitt, who left in August.
Whoever gets the job, the appointment is expected to be announced at NATPE.
Last February Mr. DeWitt led the SNTA’s presentations to media buyers and planners in New York before an internal rift developed, resulting in his departure. The presentations were considered a success by most distributors because they educated many younger buyers on opportunities available in syndication.
The ongoing search for a president did not keep SNTA organizers from maintaining their priorities. Late in 2003 they opted to expand the organization’s presentations to media buyers and planners from one event per year to three. In addition to a return to New York, there will be stops in Chicago and Los Angeles in March.
“We’ve created one of the biggest conglomerations of agencies, clients and vendors and have worked hard to develop a format that meets our clients’ needs. It’s truly one-stop shopping: All the major agencies and their clients will have access to top syndication companies in one place in one day,” said Howard Levy, executive VP, Buena Vista Television Advertising Sales. The New York conference is slated to take place March 11 at the Grand Hyatt.
All SNTA members will participate in the conference, as will MGM-NBC Media Sales and Entertainment Studios. The format will be condensed to one day vs. the two-day conference last year. In addition, the organization is coordinating with the Association of National Advertisers Television Advertising Forum. The organizations will host their conferences on consecutive dates in New York. The ANA’s forum will be held at the Marriott Marquis on March 10.
SNTA members include Buena Vista Television Advertising Sales, King World Media Sales, Paramount Advertiser Services, Tribune Entertainment Co., Twentieth Television, Universal Domestic Television and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. Each member steadfastly maintains there is plenty of groundwork to do to establish syndication as a top-tier location for ad dollars.
Sources said the major challenge continues to be convincing media planners and clients to make syndication part of their plans. That will be the main push for Mr. Burg, or whoever else ends up as president, according to media agency executives.
Selling Syndie Is Job One
Still other executives claim it is syndication advertising executives themselves who are the problem. “They have a lot of strong personalities that don’t agree with one another,” said one veteran media agency buying executive. “Plus, the organization has always been under-funded [as compared with the Cable Advertising Bureau].”
Selling syndication shouldn’t be left just in the hands of the SNTA, some executives said. One former Turner Broadcasting Co. cable advertising executive recommended each syndication company needs to sell the syndication business first, then their specific shows. “When I was at Turner we’d have 50-page presentations for advertisers. The first 45 pages was to sell cable; the last five was to sell Turner.