I.T. ON T.V.

Pacific Telecommunications Council broadcasts same-day footage of its I.T. conference to nearly all of Waikiki.

January, 2002

“Making I.T. Work” is exactly what the PacificTele-communications Council (PTC) is doing at its technology conference of the same name. Aptly titled, the conference, scheduled for Jan. 13-17 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, will be mass broadcast to dozens of hotels across Waikiki, utilizing modern information technology – a first for the 24-year-old organization.

“What we really want to do is create another medium for us to communicate with attendees,” says Stuart Asahina, director of membership and marketing for PTC. “Between sessions, or at the end of the day when they go back to their rooms, this allows us to get information to them wherever they’re staying.”

PTC has signed onto a “shared revenue” partnership with Convention Television Services (CTV), a division of Network Media, the official television station of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, to broadcast same-day coverage of the conference. Run in conjunction with Network Media’s three other specialty visitor information channels, CTV is accessible in 28,000 rooms across Waikiki and features a 20-minute walking tour of the Hawaii Convention Center when it isn’t showcasing any conferences or conventions. For PTC’s 24th annual conference, Next Generation Communications: Making I.T. Work, CTV will capture every speech, panel discussion and meeting, as well as highlight the exhibitors and conference attendees, and will also feature news anchors presenting daily highlights.

“PTC-TV will complement our event communication systems nicely, because surveys indicate that CTV is viewed by 85 percent percent of convention attendees in their hotel rooms two to four times a day,” says Hoyt Zia, executive director of PTC. “In addition, PTC-TV is providing exhibitors from the conference and Hawaii businesses the opportunity to advertise to a vast network of hotels that will include not only this international audience of telecom professionals, their family and associates, but every visitor whose hotel room is on the CTV network.”

According to Mark Jensen, general manager of network media, CTV averages about $50,000 in sales revenues per conference and has done about 12 broadcasts since 1999, with another 17 lined up for 2002.

Jensen says he expects to generate advertising sales in the ballpark of $80,000 off the conference, of which PTC will receive an unspecified percentage.

The percentage depends on PTC’s level of participation. Jensen says former organizations he’s worked with – which have been aggressive with executing sales and supporting the program – have received nearly one-third of total advertising sales from the station. Advertising revenues will be supplemental to PTC’s attendee entry fees.

Attendance to the conference has been increasing by about 10 percent per year for the past five years, with its highest showing of 1,800 people last year. Zia says early indications show a slight drop-off in registration, but he is hoping the slew of high-profile international speakers and exhibitors will be an attractive draw to those in the telecom industry both nationally and internationally.

“The whole television broadcast is important to us, because there are people who come to Hawaii but haven’t registered for the conference, and those people might see something on the channel that might pique their interest,” says Asahina. In addition to the television broadcasts, PTC is employing alternative communications media to stay in touch with conference attendees. An intranet system will be set up on site so that attendees may check e-mail, post announcements and stay abreast of conference updates. In addition, a print newsletter, Conference News Daily, will be circulated to attendees at their respective hotel rooms every morning. Says Asahina: “The newsletter, the intranet system, the television broadcasts … they’re all part of I.T., and we’re using this conference to showcase information technology today.”

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Jacy L. Youn