NATPE Chief Previews 2007 Conference

Nov 14, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The National Association of Television Program Executives convention this year will address the theme of how executives in the business are adjusting to a rapidly changing industry, NATPE President and CEO Rick Feldman said Tuesday.

The conference, which kicks off Jan. 15 at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas, serves as the major U.S. forum for buyers and sellers of syndicated television programming to gather and strike deals. The 2007 meeting will feature Wired magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson as keynote speaker, setting the theme of “Evolve and Prosper” for the event, Mr. Feldman said.

“Everyone understands the ice is melting,” Mr. Feldman said at a press conference at NATPE headquarters in Los Angeles. “The world two or three years from now will look very different.”

Signups this year are tracking even with the last event, which 7,515 attended, Mr. Feldman said. Attendance peaked in 2000 with about 20,000, then declined sharply due to consolidation in the industry, the shock of the 9/11 attacks and the difficulty international visitors have had since then traveling to the U.S., he said.

The 2007 conference will be Mr. Feldman’s 30th trip to the meeting, which over the years has reflected the ups and downs of the syndication business. The emergence of digital methods of distribution, including mobile devices and the Internet, is the latest change to which the TV syndication business must adjust, he said.

The event kicks off Jan. 15 with the Mobile++ session on digital distribution. On Jan. 16, NBC Universal executive Bonnie Hammer and producers Stephen J. Cannell, Harry Friedman and Anthony Zuiker will receive the fourth annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards. On Jan. 18, former Warner Bros. domestic syndication chief Dick Robertson will be the guest of honor at a roast.

The conference will include expanded exhibition time on Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon at the request of participants, Mr. Feldman said.