A Variety of PR Pundits

Variety has a telling piece that attempts to make sense of how PR pros from the top entertainment/media companies are grappling with the explosion of media outlets and, consequently, the loss of message control.

The piece makes it clear that there isn’t a boilerplate answer for how best to manage the (inward and outward) flow of corporate information today. The modern rules of engagement have necessitated a re-thinking of the practices we have cited in this weblog and others. Here is some of what they had to say:

Warner Bros. Entertainment exec VP of communications Susan Fleishman: “The news cycle is a nanosecond.” “That can be difficult.”

Chris Ender, CBS’ senior VP for communications: “No matter how many outlets are out there, one of the basic principles of P.R. still applies: If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.”

“CBS exec VP Gil Schwartz: “Certainly there is a lot more ferment and people crawling all over the subject (of media), but in our business, which is communication, that is a boon. If you have got a great company with a great story, you have more places to tell it.”

Allan Mayer, head of the entertainment division at the crisis management PR firm Sitrick & Co: “The general dilemma studios face is that they have a lot of different interests, all of which need to be considered before they decide to enter a debate,” says .

Time Warner, EVP, corporate communications Ed Adler: “Our story is how our businesses work better together” than split. We’ve been telling our story as people throw charges at the company.”

And, of course, the piece has its share of non-attributables:

One executive: “That was a seminal moment in corporate communications for all of us. It wasn’t just about us telling our good stories anymore. We didn’t get to decide what we wanted to talk about.”

A person familiar with the [Dreamworks] situation: “…but GE brass wasn’t all that concerned about “the sort of hothouse atmosphere that causes the gossip and positioning.” “GE does deals of this size and more all the time” and doesn’t generally comment unless, and until, they are done.” “There was no strategic benefit to responding.”

The writers cited how Apple and Pixar’s stealthy approach to public relations has proven successful, but we all know that stealthiness can only take you so far, as noted in the previous postPR