Figuring out how to drive viewers to particular networks and programs while competing with a range of new media devices — from mobile phones to digital video recorders — will be a key focus of the Promax/BDA conference as it returns to New York for the first time in nearly a quarter century this June.
"The issue is with the various kinds of delivery systems now tearing into audiences, and the fact that channel location and or where you are or how they get to you is now, more and more, being done differently," said Promax CEO Jim Chabin. "The question is going to be, what role will branding have in making sure that those people know how and where and when to find you?"
Chabin said Promax commissioned Frank N. Magid Associates to conduct a major study on how viewers receive marketing messages. The results of the study, covering spots running through the May sweeps, will be released at the conference, scheduled from June 23 to 25 at the New York Hilton & Towers.
Another key focus of the conference will be to examine how broadcast and cable networks use more of their advertising inventory to tout their own shows than products from any single advertiser, and to gauge the effectiveness of those promos.
"The question is, how well are we using that time?" Chabin said. "Do we invest as much in our air time as [General Motors Corp.] does in theirs, or do we invest as much in our air time and the quality that we put on as Revlon or Microsoft [Corp.] does for theirs?"
The conference will feature several key cable players on panel sessions, including Fox Sports Television Group CEO David Hill, MSNBC anchor Brian Williams, Oxygen Media CEO Geraldine Laybourne and MTV: Music Television president Judy McGrath.
Also scheduled to speak are Rush Communications CEO and Def Jam Recordings founder Russell Simmons, author Dominick Dunne, The New York Times columnist Stuart Elliott and actor, musician and producer Brian Stokes Mitchell.
Come June, the Promax show will be in the Big Apple for the first time in 23 years. The association was drawn to the number of advertising executives in the city, along with decreased rates for lodging and airfare to New York, Chabin said. Promax attendees can get rooms at the Hilton for $229 a night.
Other participants at the conference will include USA Network senior vice president of on-air promotion Chris McCumber; MTV Networks senior vice president of on-air design Jeffrey Keyton; ABC Entertainment senior vice president of marketing Michael Benson, CBS vice president Jeff Kreiner and Burston-Marsteller managing director Lisa Kovitz.