VNR companies postpone most regular broadcasts

NEW YORK: Major VNR companies have been forced to cancel or

postpone the distribution of most of their regular stream of broadcast

packages as a result of the extraordinary news coverage of the terrorist


Medialink, the largest broadcast PR outfit, had "very few" regular VNRs

going out last week, although the company is starting to reassess the

situation. In the days after the attack, it was able to provide live

feeds from its studio to broadcasters in Canada, Japan, the UK,

Australia, Mexico, and Poland. Also, a camera pointed south was set up

on Third Avenue.

Ivan Purdie, executive vice president of Medialink, said he was advising

clients to carry on with production of VNRs right now, but to hold off

on distribution. "Clearly there is only one story at the moment" said

Purdie. "That will change though, and we are monitoring the stations on

a daily basis to determine when is the right time to go back with

appropriate stories."

News Broadcast Network, which claims to be the second-largest

distributor of VNRs, is advising clients that it expects normal service

to be resumed at the beginning of October, although military

developments may work against this plan.

"Right now, we're only sending out industry-specific VNRs. We have one

about to go out that deals with the new restrictions on travel, but all

the regular consumer pieces have been postponed until October," a

spokesman said.

West Glen has shelved all the regular VNRs and SMTs it had planned, and

has diverted staff into a mass pro-bono effort. The company scrambled to

produce broadcast messages for the US Postal Service to inform lower

Manhattan residents about mail pickups, as well as for the American

Society for Dermatalogical Surgery to give information about procedures

for rescue workers. It is also producing PSAs for a campaign - Wash

America - that will raise money by getting teens to wash cars.

LA-based On The Scene Productions (OTSP) is slowly starting to get back

to regular business. It has just finished its first SMT since September

11 (on the Miss America Pageant). OTSP president Sally Jewett said that

she felt it was appropriate to get involved because "the pageant has

been completely changed. It has been turned into a telethon to raise

money for victims." Jewett added that the tour has booked "well and

quickly. It's a hopeful sign."

Jewett added that she felt that the business of broadcast PR firms will

now change. "People still have to communicate. Technology like

webcasting and teleconferencing will put people in places without having

to get on planes."

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