Friday, June 22, 2018
  • Thursday, Jun. 16, 2016
PromaxBDA Addresses Changing TV Landscape and How Entertainment Marketing Is Evolving With It
Ben Silverman and Lee Hunt, featured in separate sessions, provide industry perspective
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Marking its 60th anniversary this year, PromaxBDA held its annual Conference June 14-16 at the New York Hilton. With the confab tagline” Create What’s Next,” speakers and panels discussed the state of the television industry and how entertainment marketers are adapting to the ever-changing Industry.  The PromaxBDA Association represents more than 10,000 companies and individuals who are engaged in various aspects of the marketing of television and video content on all platforms. Utilizing myriad platforms, outlets and technologies, PromaxBDA members are tasked with driving audiences and ratings to their networks, stations and content brands through effective and creative marketing strategies.  A pair of individual speakers during two June 15th sessions provided a glimpse at what’s going on in the industry.

Ben Silverman
The session titled “Supplier of the Future with Ben Silverman” featured an on stage interview with Propagate Content’s chairman and co-CEO Silverman conducted by MSNBC anchor and weekend Today co-anchor, Stephanie Ruhle. Focusing on the changing television industry, Silverman--having been a William Morris agent and co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Studios as well as founding several companies--was well equipped to answer Ruhle’s questions.

Silverman played an integral role in several well known past deals including selling The Tudors to Showtime.  To get this done, he created an international co-production by starting an Irish production company to team with a Canadian production company, and hired one writer to pen all the episodes so that he could try to convince the network to go straight to series which he did (it was the first straight to series show ever.) Another past deal includes getting NBC to pick up The Office. He joked about using the same building for their office and the office set to save money, and that the cost of an episode was about a third of the cost of an episode of 30 Rock.  As CEO of Propagate, Silverman is currently developing eight programs for a combination of eight different outlets; some traditional networks and several streaming services.  He noted that its’ a great moment for content suppliers.

In answer to a question regarding whether traditional platforms are the right place for new content coming out, Silverman used Netflix as an example and how them taking a program straight to series versus just doing a pilot is very compelling for everyone involved who wants to tell a story including supplier, writers, directors and actors.  Silverman also said with so much money coming into the system, it’s hard for a lot of the traditional players to compete because they have to program more hours--programming three hours of primetime a night five to six nights a week can be 18 hours of original programming a week needed versus a Netflix.

Ruhle talked about how the word disruptor is overused and asked why do we think that upstarts know how to make entertainment.  Silverman explained that several have demonstrated that they can make high quality content and that in some cases they have hired infrastructure from the legacy media brands. There’s not a distinction between the shows airing on these platforms and the shows that are airing on cable and broadcast since they are one-hour dramas, half-hour sitcoms, game shows or reality shows.  He said that the greatest place to create cultural impact is still with the broadcast platform and that he has Jane the Virgin and No Tomorrow on The CW.  He added that even in a binge-led, a la carte, on-demand, consumer-focused environment, the greatest thing you can have is that lead in--that your show follows a show with a big audience such as The Voice.

In response to Ruhle’s question about whether the big platforms are at a massive disadvantage since they are less flexible, Silverman said that they have to protect their entrenched base and have to make sure the money they were making continues to be made while trying new things.  He compared Hulu to a Ferrari waiting for someone to press the gas pedal because they don’t want to cut off their other business. They could have turned that into Netflix but they didn’t want to invest against it; they wanted it to be more a place...where reruns could air. That was because they were funded by ABC, NBC and Fox.  He noted that they are starting to invest in content but not like their competition.  He also talked about how the broadcast industry is regulated and because digital platforms are not regulated at all, they can work with advertising and marketing partners in ways that traditional players cannot.

Ruhle talked about how traditional media platforms are marketing on Snapchat and Facebook and asked if a reason to not use them is that they will be competitors in the future. Silverman suggested making them a partner in the future instead of a competitor.  Additional advice included “If you can’t take the no, there’s no point in playing the game.” Silverman says in response to a no, he now just thinks to himself that it’s okay, you’ll be watching it anyway.  He also told the audience about his desire to do an interactive novela and joked with the audience to see if there was anyone interested as he’s open to all discussion.

Lee Hunt
Strategist, trainer, author, industry thought leader and founder of Lee Hunt, LLC, Hunt led his popular annual conference session on “Best Practices,” with this year’s session being titled “New Best Practices 2016.” Hunt introduced the session by saying that this conversation would continue delving into the topics of the past few years including the disruptive changes facing our business: the relevance of channel brands in an on-demand world, competitive cross channel promotion, OTT cannibalization, the rise of Netflix marketing, and TV vs. SVOD. He joked that maybe we should change the name of the session from "New Best Practices" to "What Fresh Hell is this?"  

Noting that he was going to have a lot of charts and graphs this year, with a lot of detail, Hunt kicked off his presentation with statistics on how the technology of viewing continues to change. He noted that 65% of TV households now have a TV connected to the Internet. Today there are more connected TV devices than set top boxes, meaning that more televisions can access Internet-delivered content than cable, satellite, or Telco-delivered content.

In 2010, 15% of TV viewers streamed at least some of their TV content. Today more than half of all TV viewers are now streaming content--57%.

How does that affect linear viewing? Between 2014 and 2015, we saw a 3% decline in linear television viewing. Of that 3%, half was attributed to a single service.

Hunt went on to provide information and statistics covering many important aspects relating to Television viewing and entertainment marketing strategies, including..

•the need to base marketing on viewer information
•a problem with networks airing repetitive ads, which can be a huge turnoff for those that binge.  
•length of credits
•transitions from episode to episode
•cross channel promotions compared to own channel promotions
•pre roll creative
•DVR marketing

Because Hunt generously told the audience that his full presentation would be available on his website, SHOOT is pleased to let its readers know how to access it if they would like additional information on any of the above  Click Here to view Lee Hunt’s complete Best Practices 2016 Presentation.

Other sessions/awards
The conference kicked off on June 13 with a day of by invitation only sessions followed by three days of panels and speakers ending with the 2016 PromaxBDA Promotion, Marketing & Design Awards on June 16.   Click Here to see the 2016 PromaxBDA Award winners.

Additional session speakers during the course of the three day event included executives from 20th Century Fox Television, 2C Creative ABC Entertainment Group, Amazon Prime Video, Anatomy, AwesomenessTV, BET Networks, Big Machine, CNN, Comedy Central, CW Network, Facebook, HBO, HGTV, History Channel, Hulu, Lifetime, NBC Entertainment, Starz Entertainment, SundanceTV, Troika, TV Land, USA Network, Viacom, and Viceland.