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PromaxBDA Marketing Conference Critical in Constantly Changing Industry

PromaxBDA: The Conference kicks off Tuesday amid great change in the industry.

When a cross-section of marketers from television and other sectors converge at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles for the three-day conference, a transformed and continually transforming landscape will be at the top of the conversation in and around the panels and speeches, which include keynotes from uber producer Greg Berlanti and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

“I believe Promax is really important to come to, more important than ever,” says Chris Sloan, president and chief creative officer of production company 2C Creative. “This was the year I think everything just shifted. The amount of change in the last year has been exponential to previous years.”

It is an age of great disruption, with over-the-top services forcing business models to shift, and live viewing and network ratings surging downward. Aided by major stars turning to TV — from Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey in HBO’s True Detective to Oscar nominee Terrence Howard in Fox’s Empire — television, which of course now includes OTTs like Netflix, has overtaken film in the cultural agenda, Sloan says. The bar has been raised creatively — for TV marketing and promotions too, as they need to keep up.

According to a recent report by PwC, advertising revenues are set to rise 3.5% annually by 2019, including a 25.6% jump annually for mobile Internet advertising, and by 2018 online advertising will overtake broadcast TV in the U.S.

With on air no longer the primary driver and increasingly fragmented audiences, marketing needs to be sharper and more-targeted, and there needs to be more of it. And without a school for television marketing — just on-the-job training and teaching oneself — this annual conference on the state of marketing and promotion, Sloan says, “actually where you can come and be educated formally and inspired, I think it’s compulsory.”

It is an opportunity to reconnect with people and share ideas. “We get reeducated about what’s going on,” Sloan says.

In addition to Berlanti, the executive producer of a myriad of shows such as The Flash and Arrow, and Gordon-Levitt, the founder of HitRecord, the event's keynote speakers also include comedian Tig Notaro; Viacom Music and Entertainment Group president Doug Herzog; LZ Sunday Paper founder Lauren Zalaznick; and Medici Group CEO Frans Johansson.

Tuesday afternoon is the discussion with Herzog, who developed The Real World at MTV and launched a plethora of popular and acclaimed shows like The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and South Park at Comedy Central. While Herzog has “a magic touch about him,” Sloan says, he also wonders how MTV and Comedy Central in particular will handle the huge shift of their millennial target audience.

PromaxBDA: The Conference is expecting more than 100 industry leaders and 150 networks, broadcasters and agencies in attendance. The 50-plus sessions include panel titles like “Beating Digital at its Own Game,” “Binge Viewing: Best Practices for Marketing” and “There’s an App for That: Revolution in Content Delivery.”

Sloan will be one of four speakers for Wednesday’s “You Promote It. Why Not Create it? Leaping from Promos to Long Form” panel, joining Sharon Levy, Spike executive VP, original series; Collin Reno, WME partner and cohead; and Stu  J. Weiss, Studio City chief creative officer and owner. The session will peel back the curtain for those in the TV marketing and promo business to get a sense of what it’s like on the long form side.

“Most of my life and career has been spent in marketing and promotion. You can do both. You can make the leap. Just because you’re a marketing person doesn’t mean you can’t tell stories in longer than 30 seconds.”