NAMIC Presents Programming Vision Awards

Attendees of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity In Communication’s April 16 Vision Awards will trade in their tuxedos and gowns for lunch napkins as the cable organization revamps the presentation of its 14th annual event.

But while the physical venue may change, the spirit and prestige of the Vision Awards presentation — which celebrates the best of cable’s multiethnic and cross-cultural original programming — will remain in tact, according to Debra Langford, the executive director of Strategic Sourcing for Time Warner and president of NAMIC’s Southern California chapter.

Unlike past ceremonies, standalone Vision Awards shows, this year’s iteration — hosted by Access Hollywood weekend co-anchor Shaun Robinson — will be part of NAMIC Southern California’s day-long Creative Summit Conference, which will focus on the development and distribution of multicultural targeted content.

NAMIC will hand out awards to cable network programmers in 15 different content categories (see “Vision Award Nominees,” next page).

She said the series won’t lose any credibility and prestige by moving to a luncheon format, pointing to the success of several prestigious awards luncheons within the industry, including Multichannel News’s own Wonder Women event.

“We were excited to move this within the body of the Creative Summit,” she said. “We continue to recognize the amazing talents and incredible work that the community has done in terms of diverse themes.”

NAMIC president Kathy Johnson said the organization is also responding in part to the industry’s request to streamline events. “We hope to build attendance because its happening during work hours so more people can be in attendance,” she said. “In addition, it helps to cross-pollinate the two events.”

The move certainly hasn’t hurt the show’s status among cable programmers: Langford said more than 200 nominations from 29 networks were submitted — both records for the awards show. “Cable serves a multicultural audience and everyone is looking to tell interesting stories from various points of view,” she said.

While the awards celebrate cable’s diversity programming efforts, Langford said that future shows may look to broaden their reach to include the broadcast networks and new media content. “It’s really about content across all platforms,” she said.

The Vision Awards lunch will be part of NAMIC’s day-long Creative Summit conference, which shines a light on the content side of the business, according to Johnson. The Summit returns after a one-year hiatus and it’s agenda is dubbed “Content 3.0” to emphasize the conference’s look at the future creation of multicultural content and the new platforms that will deliver it.

Indeed, the opening panel will focus on how the emergence of digital technology has transformed the TV and entertainment industry.

Other concurrent sessions will focus on multicultural advertising, distribution of multiethnic content, and marketing to a multicultural audience (the full agenda is below.)

In addition, Langford said NAMIC will offer a career fair featuring more than 20 companies and a networking reception sponsored by Fox Cable Networks at 5 p.m.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.