Wanna Go to Promax? Try Barter

Chabin's novel approach aims to raise attendance

Promax/BDA is trying a new tactic to get station promotion managers to its conference in Los Angeles this June: It's getting someone else to pay for their trip.

Under an arrangement between Promax and Active International, a corporate trading company, stations can have Active pay their employees' way to Promax this summer. That includes registration, airfare, rental cars, hotels, restaurants and membership fees. In return, the stations will give Active a chunk of airtime to sell to advertisers—essentially, using bartered time, although Active doesn't like to use that word.

In this case, if a TV station wanted to send five executives to the conference at a cost of $10,000, Active would give Promax a check for that amount, says Jim Chabin, CEO of Promax/BDA. The TV station would then give Active about $35,000 worth of airtime to sell to advertisers. Active would share any profits on those sales with the station.

"Adding Promax/BDA to our roster of participating companies provides the opportunity for the association's membership to receive a valuable professional and educational experience while also helping them to attract additional revenue and build greater awareness for their individual stations," says Alan Brown, executive vice president of worldwide media for Active.

Under Chabin, who returned to Promax last fall after a stint at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the association is working hard to find fresh approaches to attract executives to its conference. This trading opportunity with Active is one way; Chabin also is giving free admission to station general managers and presidents of cable networks. Otherwise, the cost of admission for Promax/BDA is $695 a head.

Also giving a boost to the conference are NBC's plans to hold an affiliate meeting on June 5 at the annual marketing show. NBC promotion executives John Miller and Vince Manze, co-presidents of The NBC Agency, and Scot Chastain, vice president of affiliate advertising and promotion services, are taking promotion managers from NBC affiliates and holding NBC Day at Promax.

Promax hopes other networks will follow suit, making Promax a must-attend conference this summer.