Chuck Ross

Why You Should Attend This Month’s CES and NATPE Conventions

Jan 5, 2010

With the New Year’s holiday now over, it’s time to get back to business for those of us who work in the TV industry.

And that means right away. There are two major conventions in January, both in Las Vegas: CES, the Consumer Electronic Show that begins later this week, and NATPE, the annual gathering of the National Association of Television Program Executives, that takes place the last week of the month.

CES used to be just a showcase for the latest TV sets and other electronic products and gadgets coming out. NATPE used to be a place that local TV station executives went to fill out their schedules with non-network programming.

Both conventions have evolved and offer much more; and much more specifically for those in the TV business.

So to get us up to speed with what each convention offers, we’re presenting two guest blogs by our longtime friends Gary Arlen and Rick Feldman. We thank both of them for enlightening us as each explains why we should attend their respective conventions.

Arlen is President of Arlen Communications Inc., a research and business development firm specializing in media and communications convergence. He’ll tell us about UP NEXT, the new TV-related event at CES.

Feldman is the President and CEO of NATPE, and he’ll tell us what’s new and exciting about NATPE this year.

Since CES starts later this week, first up is Arlen’s piece:

UP NEXT, a new event at CES in Las Vegas, puts two worlds of television under the same roof. CES (once known as the Consumer Electronics Show) is famed for its biggest-in-the-world exhibits of TV sets and home video gear. Now it is also a venue for television creative and distribution expertise.

UP NEXT, on Jan 7 and Jan 8, is a first-of-its-kind event during CES evaluating the factors that affect traditional TV and new media, which are increasingly intertwined and competing for consumers’ attention.

It specifically focuses on how and where viewers get their entertainment and information, and how much audiences and advertisers are willing to pay for it.

For program creators, packagers and distributors, it’s a place to see what’s coming up next. The event pinpoints the creative and business developments that are shaping the profitable coexistence of traditional and new media.

The UP NEXT agenda starts with hard-to-find financial data about media economics from Stephen Chao, the former Fox TV executive. It continues the next morning with the first details from Ben Silverman, a former NBC TV vice chairman, about his new venture called “Electus,” in collaboration with Barry Diller’s InterActive Corporation.

One question you might have is why we’re doing this event at all. Here’s how the idea for UP NEXT evolved: For the past five years, I’ve noticed the growing presence of video producers and distributors coming to CES for glimpses into the shifting video landscape and how it affects the way they operate. So when, in response to industry demand, CES’s organizers began exploring a TV programming-oriented event, we were ready to create a timely and valuable agenda with top-notch speakers and panelists.

The result is UP NEXT, a free event designed for the media content community to plunge into current developments and get a deep peek into what’s coming up next. As my co-producer Arthur Greenwald intones, “What sets UP NEXT apart is our emphasis on real world numbers, avoiding glib pessimism or ridiculously simple-minded optimism. Our ambitious goal: to help participants identify lucrative business models faster than they would through trial and error.”

We’ve built UP NEXT using experts with solid research, economic, technical and creative experience. The subtitle “Content, Creativity, Cash” bluntly describes our focus, but our mantra has become “avoid exaggerated pessimism about traditional and reject irrational exuberance about new media.”

As a result, three dozen creative talents and business wizards, thinkers and doers from Hollywood, Wall Street, Madison Avenue, Silicon Valley and beyond, will bring unprecedented perspective to CES. UP NEXT deals with real-world concerns about how to monetize content in today’s transitional environment. We’re looking at specific issues such as video search: How will viewers find programs in the mega-channel, on-demand landscape, and what will they pay for the shows they want to see?

Discussions at UP NEXT will range from the vital labor concerns of Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard to creative opportunities from actor-producers Illeana Douglas and Bradley Whitford and director-producer Thomas Schlamme. Networks’ top digital executives, including Vivi Zigler from NBCU, Albert Cheng from Disney/ABC and Lois Choi Owens from Scripps Networks, will offer their perspectives on the interplay between established networks and digital distributors.

In addition to the celebrity hyphenates and financial gurus, there are production and distribution veterans. The UP NEXT speaker line-up features research and advertising geniuses who perceive the shifting tastes of media consumers. CBS’s legendary ratings whiz David Poltrack is bringing new viewer research findings, gathered during the current holiday season, and will match numbers with Scott Brown from Nielsen, David Bloxham from the Media Design Center at Ball State University and Artie Bulgrin of ESPN.

The presidents of the 4As (the group formerly known as the American Association of Advertising Agencies), CTAM (the cable TV marketing society) and Sony Pictures Technology will add perspectives about the marketing and technology developments.

UP NEXT’s free sessions will take place in room N250 of the Las Vegas Convention center starting at 1 pm on January 7 and continuing at 8:30 am on January 8. Details are available here. There’s a link to the CES registration site.#

Now here’s the piece about NATPE:

Hey, Rick Feldman here—President and CEO, of NATPE—with a few words previewing the attractions being put into place at our annual Market and Conference in Las Vegas.

Our overall theme remains CONTENT—COMMERCE—CONNECTIONS.

Content, because our business ultimately succeeds or fails via the products we deliver to our viewers. Commerce, because NATPE is still a place where distribution and co-production deals are initiated, refined and often closed. Connections because NATPE reigns as THE premiere TV business facilitator, bringing content creators, rights holders and ad agencies together to identify business opportunities in the global, multiplatform video industry.

Who can you connect with at NATPE 10? How about David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications, Elisabeth Murdoch, chairman & CEO of Shine Group,
Esther Lee, senior vice president at AT&T, Michael Eisner, CEO of the Tornante Company and Dana Walden, chairman, 20th Century Fox Television.

We’ll illuminate the changing role of the showrunner and creative opportunities inherent in multiplatform video delivery from Neal Baer M.D., Wolf Films; Philip Gurin, The Gurin Company; Hugh Laurie, David Shore and Katie Jacobs from “House”; Bravo’s Andy Cohen, who will feature Donald Trump, Jillian Michaels and Curtis Stone as his guests; Steve Levitan and the cast of the hit comedy “Modern Family”; and Bill Lawrence, creator and executive producer of “Scrubs” and “Cougar Town.”

Insightful innovators in the digital world from companies including NBC Universal International; Google; LucasFilm Ltd.; Twitter; Microsoft Xbox; and YouTube will host exciting demonstrations and discussions about
the collaboration of technology and production.

More than 250 industry innovators and drivers will offer lucrative ways to utilize all content delivery. NATPE is showcasing senior executives from CAA (Creative Artists Agency); Lionsgate; Levity Entertainment; Fox Television Studios; Telemundo Network Group; Hearst Television; Endemol USA; NBC Universal; Bravo; CABLEready Corporation; Walt Disney Studios; Disney Channel; USA Networks; CBS Entertainment; MarVista Entertainment; and TNT (Turner Network Television).

From content creation to distribution and consumption, video business models are being disrupted and transformed. But the consumer’s appetite for quality content has never been stronger, and smart companies are taking advantage of an opportunity to define what’s next. Leading the discussion will be Michael Kassan of MediaLink, along with Drew Buckley, Electus; Jordan Levin, Generate; and Michael Kelley, PricewaterhouseCoopers, among others.

NATPE has also gathered a who’s who from Madison Ave., including senior executives from Crispin Porter + Bogusky; the Third Act, a unit of Digitas; GroupM Interaction Worldwide; Ogilvy Entertainment; and Canoe Ventures.

I don’t think I’m boasting when I say there is no where else where you can have access to a line-up of such depth and pedigree. All together we have gathered more than 250 industry leaders and influencers to offer leading edge perspectives on the current and future state of the media content market.

NATPE ‘10 continues its connection-friendly environment, from the exhibition floor and hospitality suites to the conference discussions and social events. This January, we’re leveraging our relationships to offer you a one-of-a-kind, customized networking service.

Participants eligible for our new pilot business concierge program, NATPE Navigator, receive a tailored agenda specific to their business goals; personally arranged, structured introductions and admission to premium sessions which will facilitate relationships and help get deals done.

It is our hope that these new opportunities, as well as the changes to the familiar layout of past NATPE Market & Conferences, will make the 2010 event easily managed and highly productive for you. I encourage you to delve into the discussions, engage with as many participants as possible and thoroughly explore all that the 2010 NATPE Market & Conference has to offer. To entice you further, I would like to extend a special registration rate of $650 to you. Just use promo code NATPETVW when registering here.

Have a great market and I look forward to seeing all of you at the Fountainbleu in Miami Beach next January.#


  1. i have an amazing interstitial show proof of concept demo, but i am a small production company. this project has amazing ad sales opportunities. i am attending this years NATPE conference in las vegas. what is the best way to set up meetings with network and development executives.
    regi allen

  2. Thank you for highlighting Ball State’s participation in 2010 CES (Up Next). Please note that the correct name of Ball State’s presenter is Mike Bloxham.


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