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ROAD TRIP CAN'T FIND THAT INFORMATION HIGHWAY? THE AICP'S 'FUTURE OF MEDIA' CONFERENCE IS HANDING OUT DIRECTIONS

By Published on .

BEFORE YOU CAN GO ZOOMING OUT ONTO THAT INFORMATION highway you're going to need a road map, or so goes the thinking behind the upcoming Conference on the Future of Media that the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) is planning for New York this June. Wrapped around the third annual AICP Show at the Museum of Modern Art (officially known as The Art & Technique of the American Television Commercial), the conference has bitten off a mouth

ful, promising to examine "the changing landscape of media venues, TV commercial production, agency/advertiser/production company relationships and technology's continuing impact on how we all do business," according to the association's promotional literature.

The AICP is hoping to attract up to 500 paying attendees (at a price of $695 for members and $795 for nonmembers) for the conference, which includes an ambitious series of panel discussions, workshops, lectures and social events spread over three days. While the workshops will focus mainly on nuts and bolts issues for AICP member companies, it is the seminars and panels that conference chairman Nick Wollner of Crossroads Films believes will be the big draw. "We're at a seminal stage here," says Wollner, who is president of the AICP's East chapter. "The ground is shifting." The goal of the conference, he adds, is to help people shore themselves up under this terra infirma, in part by trying to redefine their roles in the new media environment.

Among the topics to be covered will be the role of infomercials, the growth of interactive multimedia communications and the impact of 500 channels of television, among others. One session will be devoted to an examination of the current state of the commercials production industry, another will examine how different companies are negotiating the labyrinthine paths of new media and a third will discuss what companies and individuals are doing now to position themselves for the future.

The afternoon sessions will focus on some of the new technologies that will be integral to the delivery systems of the future, says Jon Kamen of Sandbank, Kamen & Partners, who is also a former AICP national president and chairman of the AICP Show. Kamen says the organization is actively seeking speakers from software companies, hardware companies, the communications industry, the networks and advertisers.

There are also plans for an afternoon session featuring "creative visionaries" in the cosmos of new media content-as with the aforementioned panels, it's too soon for the AICP to drop speakers' names just yet-who will discuss the kinds of new programming and advertising possibilities that clients, agencies and production houses will be looking to exploit in the potentially bewildering years to come.

Certainly this last aspect, the integration of advertising and sponsorship, is what the conference is all about, Kamen says. "As advertising professionals, we need to educate ourselves to what's going on, not only to better prepare ourselves but to support our clients and their clients."

He sees the conference as a form of "continuing education" for the advertiser, the agency and the production company, and points out that while bits and pieces of these topics are covered in other programs, there's nothing else quite like this that will be taking place in New York.

While the panelists chew on the topic of new media, conference attendees will get a chance to not only see this year's AICP Show commercials winners but also hear director Tarsem talk about directing. Joining Tarsem on the MoMA lecture circuit is surprise choice Jeff Goodby, who, while better known as a copywriter, has directed a few award-winners of his own.

For more information on the conference and the show, call the AICP, (718) 392-2427.u

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