We heard our speakers discuss the realities that make up #TheNewNormal but what were the final thoughts from the masterminds behind the Conference, our Co-Chairs, Frank Radice and Marc Ortmans?

The format this year was inspired. What were the top three insights you gleaned that surprised you about #TheNewNormal (posed by Joel Beckerman, Founder, Man Made Music)

Frank Radice
What I learned most from this year’s “The New Normal” conference, as an organiser, was that the PromaxBDA UK constituency is eager to learn more about the advances in technology and how those advances can be best used in their lines of work. This year’s conference was less about how promos are made and more about how technology intersects with the world of promotion, marketing and design. The big surprise to me, and one you don’t often see at conferences like this, was how engaged the audience was, both in the main hall and in “Normal Land.” During the presentations, the crowd stayed in the room, and during the breaks, they interacted with the demonstrations. It showed how a well organised one-day event could be a worthwhile, educational, and entertaining experience for the attendees.

Marc Ortmans
Clearly the threat to conventional television is large and growing with the new mix, not just of platforms but viewing experiences too. While channels are fighting competition for eyeballs and advertising, programme making and quality is ironically benefiting from the new money and editorial freedom from players like Amazon and Netflix. Tech is also at the heart of enabling this new paradigm, and VR in particular is showing early signs of being both a standalone platform and complementary partner with existing distribution with its more immersive engagement.

Is the industry pivoting rapidly enough to respond to some of the trends we heard about on the day and if not, what can the leaders do differently to affect this change? (posed by Derren Sequeira, Entertainment Lead, Facebook).

If the rapt attention of the crowd was any indicator, I believe they saw and heard things that were new and useful to their professional experience. It isn’t a matter of the UK industry pivoting quickly, it’s more a matter of understanding what the changes in the industry mean and how best to utilise the change for professional benefit. The one thing leaders can do to better affect the positivity of any innovation is to encourage the education of their people. That means supporting their efforts to learn through attendance at events like “The New Normal.” Go to conferences, network with peers, learn new things from experts and teachers, and take that back to the workplace and share.

When Sky launched, the established broadcasters considered the brash new satellite service as being on the periphery – not a serious member of the broadcaster club. That attitude changed when Sky introduced US promotion and marketing strategies forcing the established channels to play catch-up and raise their game. Today some of the same scepticism surrounds the new players and technology. The challenge is recognising what is competitive threat, and what represents opportunities to be embraced. Pivoting fast enough starts with broadcasters seeing and understanding what’s going on across the landscape.

Greatest moments from the day

The most memorable to me were Dean Donaldson saying “Facebook is the biggest threat to television,” Anastasia Leng talking about how data can affect creative video decision making, and the live band on the stage.

Anastasia Leng’s talk – she is at the epicentre of the New Normal.
The Jay Stollman band playing great walk-on intros for unsuspecting speakers.
Hearing insights from VICELAND, Amazon Video and Facebook. Disruption now and to come.

How was co-chairing the conference with each other?

This conference was wholly conceived my myself and Marc Ortmans. Without his calm demeanour and cool professional approach to things, the train could easily have gone off the rails. It was a very complicated show that took many months organise. Marc knows the ins and outs of PromaxBDA UK and how things can get done. The two of us worked so well together that at no time was there ever any conflict or friction. We were driven to succeed.

A breeze and a lot of fun. Actually, it was pretty dangerous as we said ‘What if’ a lot and ended up adding more and more new ideas and speakers into the conference.

Last words about each other – anything goes!

On the first day of my tenure on the board of PromaxBDA UK I was a typical brash, loud American. It seemed to me that the others in the group were listening but not really paying attention. After the first meeting, Marc took me aside and offered me some sound advice. He said, “Maybe you should lay back a bit, not be so pushy.” That was great advice. The funny part is, I ended up where I started, loud and pushy. But with Marc at my side it worked.

We stalked Ade Adepitan after his panel at the Edinburgh Television Festival. Ade had been talking about it being good to fail if you want to succeed. Frank said, “No its not! That’s bullshit. Maybe it’s OK to make a mistake but FAIL? Nah! That’s wrong!” An animated conversation followed ending with Frank looking at me and then Ade, and saying, “You should so be our keynote speaker.” And it was sealed then and there.