Cable is continuing to make inroads at the Promax & BDA
convention -- traditionally a bastion for broadcast and radio marketers, promotion chiefs
and ad designers.
This year's conference, June 17 to 20 at the Toronto
Convention Centre, features top cable executives as the keynote speakers. And cable
attendance, which has doubled in three years, is expected to climb again.
Tom Freston, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, will deliver
the keynote speech Thursday, June 18, at 1 p.m., and he will be followed by Greg Moyer,
president and chief editorial and creative officer of Discovery Communications Inc., who
will give the design keynote address.
"Cable's participation at Promax has never been
greater," said Jim Chabin, president and CEO of the organization. "Tom has
launched a series of brands globally, and he has demonstrated the power of promotion. MTV
has changed forever the way that TV is marketed. Greg is going to talk about how brands
can be extended into retail. We think that what Discovery has done with its store in
Washington, D.C., is the first wave of how retail will affect what we do."
Chabin also cited the growing number of convention
attendees who have indicated a cable affiliation. In 1994, 504 cable executives went to
Promax; last year, the number was 1,108.
Cable attendees are still predominantly programmers, Chabin
admitted, but he added that he has seen "more senior-level" marketing executives
from large MSOs and cable systems attend in the last few years. Cable operators and
programmers have been the promotion-oriented conference's "fastest-growing
constituency," Chabin said.
Digital technology, the Internet, competition and
satellite-broadcasting services are among the major topics that will be discussed at the
conference, according to Chabin.
"Everybody's trying to get a handle on digital and
figure out what it means," he said. "We have to find out how to market it, how
to make people understand it and how to sell it to the public."
A number of sessions will also be devoted to Web sites and
"The Internet has become a genuine player,"
Chabin said. "It's both a threat, in that it draws away viewers, and a tool, in that
it's a way to attract viewers to other mediums."
Cable-oriented sessions at the conference include a
compilation of the best cable and satellite spots of the year and an overview of branding
by Chris Mosely, senior vice president of advertising and promotion for Discovery Networks
U.S., Thursday afternoon.
In addition, Chabin said, the board of directors of the
Broadcast Design Association has voted to be acquired by Promax. He expected approval of
the sale of the nonprofit organization's assets to Promax to be finalized by the Toronto
conference, which would add 1,550 members to Promax's current total of 2,050.