To answer your questions, PlayBite is an industry event that gives the media and other influencers an opportunity to spend 1:1 time in an informal setting with companies that we think are doing cool things in the consumer technology space. Our staff at Bite love consumer technology and are often very tapped into what's hot and new. We know how important it is to provide journalists and influencers with what they want so we created a shortlist of companies that fit the bill and reached out to them to see if they'd be interested in attending PlayBite. Regardless of their current agency situation, we found that most of the companies we approached were interested....
There are many benevolent reasons why Bite would do such a thing (as Chin pointed out). Agencies (Bite, for instance) are completely capable of doing it purely to give journalists a wide swath of organizations to cover.
But I've seen this elsewhere, whereby one of the goals was to attract potential clients (who may or may not have current agencies). Of course, I'm not saying that Bite did this. Just so that's understood.
So, if you have done something similar (even if it's for nefarious reasons), I would love to hear your thoughts (anonymity will be honored).