The Cycle

Lights, Camera, PR Action

While in Los Angeles last week for PRWeek’s Entertainment and Media Roundtable, I also attended a PRWeek panel, discussing PR in the entertainment industry. The panel, moderated by PRWeek’s Keith O’Brien, included Susan Fleishman, EVP of corporate communications for Warner Bros; Chris Ender, SVP of communications for CBS; and David Stamper, SVP, partner, and GM of Fleishman-Hillard Los Angeles. A recap of the panel is after the jump.

The panelists discussed several industry issues, including the state of mass media, the changing news cycle, and how online has changed the landscape.

“People can say anything they want [online] and then it becomes reality if you’re not careful,” Fleishman said. The recent situation with the erroneous United Airlines’ 2002 bankruptcy story “shows the danger,” she added.

“Everybody is a journalist and that is interesting,” Ender noted. “But it becomes the worst of times when a credentialed journalist chases [whatever appears online.]”

You can’t ignore traditional media, he added, but “you can build up an audience or do damage control by going directly to the audience.” He used the example of CBS’ former show, Jericho, which build a fan base online before the debut in 2006.

The panel also discussed the changing celebrity culture, with celebrities touting themselves as brands, and how celebrities can work with products and companies in the PR world.

Consumers are savvy when it comes to partnerships between brands and celebrities, Stamper said, and companies must be careful which celebrities they align with. But, he admitted, “for some brands, having a bad girl or bad boy celebrity can work for a brand that is edgy and is for a more alternative audience.”

Look for a transcript from PRWeek’s Entertainment and Media roundtable in the October 6 issue.

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