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
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
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."