NATPE Needs Independent Voices
By Gary Lico -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/13/2005 7:00:00 PM
The FCC's Michael Copps made waves at NATPE by decrying the lack of independent voices in prime time. If medical problems hadn't forced him to address the confab by satellite, he might have sensed another snub of independents: the NATPE organization itself.
In the exhibit hall, four rows of majors were surrounded by a sea of independent producers and distributors. And walking the aisles? Scores of folks with shows to sell.
Yet NATPE's new board of directors contains no independents.
Why is the NATPE board just filled with big players, when indies are fueling its membership growth? Why is there not one voice for the independent producers and distributors who grind out show after show—the hits that have fueled cable's growth, such as Forensic Files and Trading Spaces, as well as two of broadcast TV's hottest shows, Wife Swap and The Apprentice?
NATPE's pre-convention ads urged on even the smallest independents. They turned out in large numbers. Most took their meetings in the NATPE lounge—but, with just 4,000 square feet, sellers and buyers had to hunt for space. Some sellers even camped out for the day with logos on their tables (bad form!).
This cramped space also inconvenienced the very buyers NATPE needs for its survival. Indies with booths were relegated to the “outskirts,” with majors taking a “not in my backyard” approach. Some erected walls to keep non-station buyers out. Yet non-majors outnumbered majors by about 10 to 1.
Independent producers count on the huge growth in niche telecasting, reality programming, domestic cable and international TV to build their business, and they need a healthy forum to continue doing so. NATPE is happy to take their registration dollars, but must give indies a voice on the board and more space to do business. And yes, they should be expected to pay for that space, if even by the hour. That will reduce interlopers and set a higher standard.
For indies with booths, NATPE needs to mix them in with majors. Segregating them has eliminated the “middle-class” indie—and made hospitality suites their only option.
Indies need to grow up, too. Many came to Vegas just to hang out in the lobby. You want more space and influence? Register!
Because indies are so important as exhibitors and attendees, NATPE must listen to them—and be more than a way station between other international television fairs.
No related content found.
No Top Articles
Digital Rapids provides market-leading software and hardware solutions, technology and expertise for transforming live and on-demand video to reach wider audiences on the latest viewing platforms more efficiently, more effectively and more profitably. Empowering applications from..more