MARKET SHARE

Promax Station Summit v2.0 Set For June ’12

Bouyed by the success of its first conference for station creative services pros, the association is ramping up for next year by doing more of what worked, fine-tuning other aspects and developing "new sessions on best practices in technology and in social and earned media,” says PromaxBDA President-CEO Jonathan Block-Verk.

It’s back.

Early bird registration starts this Thursday for the second annual PromaxBDA Station Summit, which will return to Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, June 26-29, 2012.

The encore is driven by popular demand. Last June’s first Summit for station creative services and promotion managers at TV stations drew an unexpectedly large crowd and won widespread praise from attendees and sponsors. That’s no small achievement after years of declining station participation at PromaxBDA’s main conference — a situation attributed primarily to shrinking station profit margins, which eliminated discretionary travel.

PromaxBDA reversed that trend by attacking the problem on two fronts. First, it clearly focused the new event entirely on local marketing needs and opportunities, making attendance less “discretionary.”

Second, the Summit enlisted financial support from studios, which subsidize up to $1,000 of travel costs of station attendees. Summit sponsors included program syndicators 20th Television, CBS Television Distribution, Debmar-Mercury, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros.

They will all be back as will network sponsors ABC and NBC. So far, the only new sponsor for 2012 is CBS.

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But PromaxBDA President-CEO Jonathan Block-Verk expects that list to grow. “We’ll have more on board this year. Not only the Big Four, but we’re also trying to integrate the CW and the Spanish-speaking networks,” he says. “We had some very constructive feedback from the networks and studios who leveraged the Summit as an opportunity to meet with affiliates and client stations.”

The strategy for year two is simple and classic, he says. Do more of what worked and fine-tune the rest. “We pride ourselves on not repeating things, but certain themes from the first Summit will always be pertinent.”

In addition to such evergreen topics as the latest station marketing trends, the next Summit will “develop new sessions on best practices in technology and in social and earned media,” says Block-Verk, who couldn’t provide specifics. “We’re still seven months out. That’s three lifetimes in social media terms.”

While attendee feedback was mostly positive, one target for improvement is the Local Awards dinner, which despite high production values played to a half-empty room, competing as it did with every other attraction in Las Vegas. The Local Awards are presented for excellence in local station promotion.

The time required to present 50 awards struck many as excessive. Block-Verk says that PromaxBDA was generally pleased by the voting and selection process, but is exploring new options for scheduling, formatting and staging the ceremony itself.

The core constituents for the Summit will continue to be station promotion and marketing executives, but PromaxBDA expects that base to broaden. “Success in broadcasting is as much about promotion as about content,” Block-Verk says. “I think we’ll see more marketing-minded GMs, sales managers and station group heads.”

Last year’s summit drew about 500 attendees, including over a hundred walk-ins who registered on site.

Block-Verk expects attendance to grow steadily. “I think it would be great if we see 25%-30% growth, but it’s not about how big it becomes. We want it to remain a great personal experience as well as a top-tier conference.”


Market Share salutes the best on-air promotion throughout North America, many of them winners of Local Awards from the PromaxBDA Station Summit in Las Vegas. Read other stories in the series here. Contributing Editor Arthur Greenwald, himself a veteran promotion manager, profiles these winning campaigns and the creative and strategic talent behind them. Want to suggest other future topic? Write to Arthur at [email protected]


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