More than 500 station marketers attended the first annual PromaxBDA Station Summit at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, and by all accounts, the event was a rousing success.
One studio marketing executive said that he and his team extended their trip by a day to stay for the sessions because they were getting so much out of the event. Cil Frazier, marketing director for Media General's WVTM Birmingham, said that the conference was "an incredible networking opportunity," and was particularly impressed because she hadn't attended a Promax since 2007.
The opening keynote speech, an inspirational talk in which GSD&M's Roy Spence exhorted attendees to build their own businesses by giving local start-ups and entrepreneurs a hand, received a standing ovation. At a follow-up session on "Extreme Creative: Advanced Techniques for Writing, Creating and Producing Better Promotion" led by Tooth + Nail's Linda Button and Marilyn Kass had standing-room only attendance, with people sitting in the hallway to watch the screens.
"What started out as an idea in November 2010 has been fully realized and I couldn't be happier with the outcome," said Jonathan Block-Verk, president and CEO of PromaxBDA. "This Station Summit was a true collaboration based on the notion of creating a forum for marketers, syndicators and local leaders to empower and invigorate the community and industry, and it's fantastic to see it all come together with such positive feedback and results."
While the focus on marketing and promotions at the local level has waned in recent years, due to the economic downturn and particularly tough times for TV stations, the focus on it has returned because stations realize that in order to stay competitive in a deeply fragmented marketplace, they need to constantly be promoting their offerings.
The event was sponsored and largely financed by six studios and syndicators: CBS Television Distribution, Debmar-Mercury, NBCUniversal, Twentieth Television, Sony Pictures Television, and Warner Bros.
All of those studios hosted presentations on Wednesday, June 8, in which they talked with stations on how they would be promoting launches, such as Warner Bros.' Anderson Cooper and Big Bang Theory and Debmar's Jeremy Kyle, and how to continue promoting existing shows. Cooper himself attended the show on Wednesday, chatting with attendees on how his new show is shaping up. On Wednesday morning, Warner Bros. announced that Lisa Morin, a former producer of Oprah, was joining the Anderson team as an executive producer.
Whether the event will take place next year hasn't been decided, but both the studio organizers and the station attendees seemed enthusiastic about gathering again next year.
PromaxBDA made a special effort to recognize stations' pro-social and promotional efforts. At lunch on Thursday (June 9), three stations were given awards for their good work in the community. KPLC' Timothy Bourgeois, WAFF's Todd Long and NBC Local Media's Larry Wert all were given awards for public service campaigns on civility, volunteerism and environmentalism, respectively.
That night, more than 30 American and Canadian stations were honored for their promotional work. For a complete list of winners, go to http://prod.promaxbda.org/localawards.aspx.
PromaxBDA's main event, simply called The Conference, is coming up in Manhattan on June 28-30.