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Marketers Make Mark in Big Apple

If attendance at the Promax/BDA conference is any indication, the industry recognizes the increasing importance of branding in a multichannel world.

Attendance for the PROMAX/BDA convention, which draws promotions and marketing types from across the TV business, has not returned to its halcyon days of the late 1990s--4,673 attendees in Toronto in 1998. for example--but the gathering is back on the upswing. This year’s show, which ran June 21-23 in New York, drew 3,227 attendees, up slightly from 2004 (3,025), but up dramatically from 1,850 for the 2002 event in Los Angeles. However, it is still off from numbers like 4,673 attendees in Toronto in 1998.

CEO Jim Chabin says the near-capacity crowd (the Marriott Marquis can hold 3,300) represents a diverse group, with representatives from broadcast stations, cable networks and international companies turning out.  This year, for the first time, the organization invited media buyers to attend for free, which Chabin says drew a promising crowd from ad agencies. He says next year Promax/BDA will invite media buyers and station general managers to come at no charge.

A number of high-profile TV executives turned out to address the conference, including Disney Media Networks co-chiefs Anne Sweeney, and George Bodenheimer, NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker, ABC News Nightline anchor Ted Koppel, and domestic diva Martha Stewart.

Chabin says the top-flight speakers and renewed attendance proves the industry’s commitment to promotion and marketing. “It is absolutely obvious to those participating that, with so many choices and ways to get your news and entertainment, the television industry can no longer cut its way to profitability and get the returns it wants to get by cutting back on promo and marketing,” he said.