The Festival of Media, which is in its third year, kicked off at the Palacio de Congresos at Valencia on April 19, 2009. The first look at the overall festival – the theme and the participation – and one wonders that when the media agency side of business became as important, if not more, as the creative side decades ago, then why is it that an event that focussed only on media is only three years old.
Even though the day was only about networking and “easing the delegates in” as Charlie Crowe, CEO, C Squared – the organisers of the festival put it, the welcome address saw the presence of some of the biggest global heavyweights in the media agency business.
Right from Dominic Proctor, CEO, Mindshare to Mainardo de Nardis, CEO, OMD, Charles Courtier, CEO MEC Global to P&G’s Bernhard Glock and many others, the hall was filled with the international Who’s Who of the media agency business. Madison World’s Chairman Sam Balsara, who is also one of the judges of the first ever Festival of Media Awards, was also at the event. Amongst the other Indian delegates one could spot on the opening day were Platinum Media’s Basabdutta Chowdhary and Lintas Media Group’s Himanka Das.
Another familiar face in the crowd was BBC’s Global Ad Sales Director Johnathan Howlett and BBC’s Seema Kotecha.
In the opening address, Crowe spoke further on the festival and the fact that such events made more sense in a downturn. He said, “It is true that the conditions around us are grim but the need to meet is important even when things are down. Good events are just as important in tighter times, as any other.”
Adding further he said, “The Festival is quite a body of work that is packed with speakers, sessions and workshops. This is a great place for the media industry to not only network and meet new business partners but also to collectively reflect on what is happening around us and how we can resolve some of these issues.”
Over the next two days, the Festival of Media has lined up global heads of various media agencies and many clients to deliberate on the current economic situation and the way forward. India was not present in very high numbers on day one. With BCCL’s Bhaskar Das also not being there in the speakers anymore, the conference showed very measured participation from Indian agencies.