BET lend support to CMEx

One of America`s leading television networks, Black Entertainment Television (BET), a driving force for US
travel to the Caribbean, has confirmed its support of the Counterpart International-produced Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) to be held at Almond Village Resorts in Barbados, December 4-8, 2003.

“BET currently plays a key role in the positioning of the Caribbean`s tourism product and we are excited to be a part of these critically
important media and industry talks,” said Paxton Baker, Executive Vice President, BET Digital Networks and President of BET Event Productions (BEP), which recently assumed responsibility for the US marketing of the Barbados Jazz Festival.

BET Jazz and BEP have been the producers of the successful St. Lucia Jazz Festival and Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival since their inception and also produce the Bermuda Jazz Festival and the Anguilla Tranquillity Jazz Festival. The companies also produce and promote festivals in Ghana, West Africa, Iceland, New York and very soon, India.

“As a production company and a subsidiary of BET Jazz, BET Event Productions is uniquely positioned to offer clients a lot more than a well produced festival,” said Baker. “Our festival production packages are tied to an extensive US/Caribbean marketing campaign, utilising all of our media resources. This has been incredibly successful in driving business to the islands that we work with,” he added. Since the company`s purchase by Viacom in 2001, BET Jazz has been able to bring the resources of Viacom-owned properties to the table, providing access to media giants as VH1, MTV, CBS, Infinity Outdoor and Infinity radio.
Cybelle Brown, Senior Director of Sales and Marketing of BET Digital
Networks/BET Jazz, said the network views CMEx as an important vehicle to sensitise journalists about the important role of culture and entertainment in fostering sustainable tourism. The St. Lucian native added: “Many islands are unable to afford destination marketing campaigns on US national television. BET Jazz produces commercials inexpensively and as a cable company is able to negotiate phenomenal cable airtime packages. We are pleased that our alliance with the Caribbean has provided access to media resources which have historically been beyond the reach of many destinations.”

Counterpart International President Lelei LeLaulu described BET`s backing of the fifth session of the Caribbean Media Exchange as an honour. “Their participation speaks volumes about the resources which are available to the region in the Caribbean Diaspora and African American community in the United States. We must continue to build bridges with these natural partners who are all working for the success of the Caribbean,” he said. BET Jazz will host a special CMEx event on cultural industries and niche marketing. Both Paxton Baker and Cybelle Brown will attend the conference.
Relate stories on Caribbean Weekly:
(25/09/03) Barbados proud to host CMEx

(29/09/03) Award winning Andria Hall to speak at CMEx V