PROMAX Bites Big Apple

With increased registration from cable industry executives and international representatives, organizers of this week’s PROMAX and Broadcast Design Association conference here expect attendance to rise from last year’s confab in Los Angeles.

PROMAX represents design professionals that produce mainly national and local broadcast and cable program promotions.

The sector has been hit hard during the last few years by a recession, fallout from the dot-com bust and media consolidation, all of which have reduced network and station marketing budgets. But PROMAX CEO Jim Chabin was upbeat last week, pointing to heightened attendance figures and a lineup of conference speakers such as Donald Trump, star of NBC’s The Apprentice; ABC News doyenne Barbara Walters; MTV Networks Group president Judy McGrath; and Oxygen Media chief Geraldine Laybourne.

“It’s like being the manager of the Cubs and winning the World Series,” Chabin said. “We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in this industry, and to be here for our 49th annual conference is a pretty remarkable feat.”

As of last Wednesday, 2,550 people were expected to attend the show — set for June 23 to 25 at the New York Hilton and Towers — with registration up 31%, compared to last year’s conference in Los Angeles.

Chabin said the move to New York helped boost attendance, as networks such as Gotham-based NBC, A&E Network, Lifetime Television and MTV: Music Television, which previously sent only a few executives to PROMAX, will send more this year.

International attendance is also on the rise from countries like Singapore (24 registered attendees), Australia (21), China (3) and Korea (2), in addition to a larger contingent from Western Europe.

ABC’s Walters is set to give the opening keynote address on Wednesday, while Nickelodeon is throwing a party the same evening at New York’s Rockefeller Center.

June 23’s schedule includes a session on “Branding for the TiVo Generation — Embedding Promotion Within Your Show.”

Fox Sports Television Group chairman David Hill also is scheduled to oversee a session on sports promos, while Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper (Ebert & Roeper) will critique promos at another panel.

The PROMAX & BDA Awards show will culminate the day’s proceedings