Convention plans are again suite for NATPE

Aug 12, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Warner Bros. and Carsey-Werner-Mandabach lead a list of domestic syndicators that once again will not be exhibiting on the NATPE convention floor in January.
Although other syndicators have yet to commit one way or the other on a return to the floor, NATPE President and CEO Bruce Johansen said that unlike last year, syndicators and the National Association of Television Program Executives are working together in the best interests of the buyers.
“Every indication we’ve gotten from the hotels is that virtually no major will miss New Orleans,” Mr. Johansen said. “Although many of them may set up space at the hotels, we have received positive response from the majors overall toward this year’s market, and we are working with them to make this a good conference for the attendees.”
A call to the New Orleans convention bureau confirmed that virtually all the majors have indeed reserved “hotel business suites” for the winter convention. However, many have yet to announce whether they will leave the floor or not. Similar to last year in Las Vegas, Warner Bros. and Carsey-Werner-Mandabach are the first to confirm their departures for a hotel suite to Electronic Media. Others, including Buena Vista, Twentieth, NBC and Universal, have yet to announce a decision.
The mood this year has clearly shifted toward what’s best for the future of the business on both sides of the equation.
“NATPE groomed us to become what we are today,” said one president of a syndication company. “It’s imperative for us to keep the convention about the good of the business and work together as a united front, whether I’m on the floor or not.”
Part of that front included NATPE’s flying in the country’s key buyers this year. Mr. Johansen announced earlier in the year incentives for buyers and sellers such as free room accommodations and registration arrangements for top program buyers.
“Whether the buyers visit the majors on the floor or in the hotel, it’s up to us as an industry to coordinate together and focus on making a great conference,” Mr. Johansen said.
On the international side, although several key players have yet to commit to the floor, Mr. Johansen said that every indication is that the international pavilions will return.
The Las Vegas convention last January was marred by wars of words between financially pressured studio executives and NATPE loyalists. Various proposals were put forth to make an annual convention more “effective” for syndicators. Ideas ranged from a change in the convention’s timeframe to the creation a separate convention with the Syndicated Network Television Association.
Although temperatures have since died down, sources confirmed that the SNTA is still mulling a spring gathering geared toward advertisers.