Guest Commentary: NATPE Looks to Adapt to Changing Business Model

Mar 1, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Thanks for your recent editorial entitled “NATPE Take-Home: Change Is Imperative” (TelevisionWeek, Feb. 2).
We understand that to be true.
We are all dealing with economic stress and there is no segment of our business immune from the pressure of trying to find a better business model for the future.
NATPE has not been a “syndication” market for some time. It is not our intent to fight the business as we find it, but rather to reflect it. The U.S. domestic syndication market has been suffering for 10 years.
NATPE has morphed into a global, multiplatform video content marketplace and remains the only market/conference of its kind in the U.S.
Although attendance was down (we are not alone), NATPE ’09 attracted 1,500 international delegates from 70 countries around the world. Included in our overall attendance were 650 qualified buyers representing cable, broadcast, mobile, feature film and online interests.
As we promised, business was done and contacts were made. The show floor, though not as crowded as we’d have liked, featured a new What’s Next tech area and a digital theater for 100 people that was filled for two and a half days. A cocktail party connected producers and ad execs, one dinner grouped studio distribution and station group leaders and the Tartikoff Awards brought 400-plus people together to celebrate what we love about the business—and to remember, as Chuck Lorre reminded us, that “TV matters.”
That said, we are not naïve about the problems. It is not ideal to have exhibition split between floor and suites. As it stands now, 75% of the exhibitors choose the floor. I did not say that “the event would be better held entirely in suites,” as I don’t believe that to be true. What I did say was that in this economic climate, maintaining the floor as we know it could be tough.
The truth is that our clients are split on how they choose to reach their clients. We are surveying everyone now to see how they feel about 2010. We do not feel that it is our place to force the situation. It is our job, whenever possible, to accommodate the needs of our exhibitors.
For 2011 we can move from Las Vegas, but all things taken into consideration it remains the best option. Los Angeles seems like a great idea, but the L.A. Screenings are here in May; while we respect this event, it is not what we want NATPE to become.
Regarding the name change, while certainly a topic of many a board meeting, as TelevisionWeek knows very well, there are risks to this. The law of unintended consequences needs to be heeded here. Also, it’s expensive to execute and support. So, we’ll see.
Finally, we appreciate the support of all our friends who in the middle of a difficult economic time still came to Vegas to get together.
Some people, however, flew to Vegas and met in and around NATPE without paying for the privilege. Those people should be ashamed.
Rick Feldman is president and CEO of the National Association of Television Program Executives.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)