BROADCAST PROMOTION AND MARKETING EXECUTIVES

PROMAX International (formerly BPME--Broadcast Promotion & Marketing Executives) is the trade organization for media promotion and marketing professionals. Founded in the United States in 1956 as the Broadcast Promotion Association (BPA), its name changes tellingly reflect the substantial changes experienced by the media industries in the last four decades.

Initially, broadcast promotion was the term for media efforts conducted by television and radio stations to maximize the size of audiences and the numbers of advertisers. These efforts largely consisted of date/time program announcements on the station's own air coupled with print advertisements in the local media (particularly TV Guide in the case of television promotion). More elaborate promotion campaigns were usually handled by the networks. Sweeping industry changes in the 1970s and 1980s--including among others the lessening of the dominance of the commercial networks, the growing importance of locally-produced news, the rise of cable and pay-TV services, increases in program production costs, and the growth of syndicated programming--resulted in a significantly more complex media environment and led to the need for more sophisticated promotion techniques. Consequently, in 1985, the organization changed its name to Broadcast Promotion & Marketing Executives (BPME) to reflect the increasing importance of marketing principles such as the use of consumer research, competitive positioning, long range planning, and audience segmentation. An ever-more-rapidly changing media scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s--including the growth of non-broadcast program distribution channels and increasingly international webs of participation--led to a second major name change to PROMAX International in 1993.

 


Courtesy of Promax International

PROMAX, a loose acronym for Promotion and Marketing Executives in the Electronic Media, employs a full time paid president and staff and receives oversight from a volunteer board of directors comprised of industry personnel. Focussing on the fields of broadcast and cable television, radio, entertainment, and emerging technologies, the organization supports a wide range of related activities including promotion, marketing, advertising, public relations, design, sales, and community service. Among its services to members are: the quarterly magazine Image, which reports on industry events and developments, key issues, notable campaigns, and new products, services, and techniques; PromoFax, a weekly newsletter faxed directly to members; an annual directory/promotion planner which lists members and suppliers, including key industry dates and events; the Resource Center, located in the organization's Los Angeles headquarters, which houses an extensive collection of videotapes, printed materials, and publications; and a Job Line, which provides information on available positions and job seekers (a key service in a field noted for advancement across rather than within markets). Perhaps the most notable service is the organization's annual seminar where members meet for workshops, demonstrations, presentations, and general networking. Suppliers of promotion materials demonstrate their products and services in an exhibit hall, and networks, group owners, and other industry organizations host suites for special presentations. The culmination of the seminar is an awards ceremony recognizing creative excellence, for many years hosted by the popular film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

In addition to ongoing member services, PROMAX awards several academic scholarships in cooperation with sponsoring industry groups. In 1980 the organization published a college text, Broadcast Advertising & Promotion: A Handbook for Students and Professionals. It has also conducted numerous surveys over the years on salaries, budgets, staff size, and other departmental measures, which help promotion executives gauge their status and performance according to industry standards.

-Jerry Haggins

FURTHER READING

Eastman, Susan Tyler and Klein, Robert A. Strategies in Broadcast and Cable Promotion. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing, 1982.

Webster, Lance. "The Growth Years: BPA to BPME". BPME Image, April 1991,pp. 18-22.