Organization outlines initiatives to bring studios back to show
By Joe Schlosser -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/3/2002 7:00:00 PM
NATPE will pick up the hotel tab and registration fees for top local station buyers to woo them to attend next year's show in New Orleans, part of a broad plan outlined last week to appease disgruntled studio hotshots.
NATPE President and CEO Bruce Johansen detailed several new initiatives for both domestic and international syndicators last week during a meeting in Los Angeles, including a cost-effective, modular booth structure with a top price of $200,000.
The meeting came a little more than a month after what even organizers described as a dysfunctional conference in Las Vegas, as Johansen recognized that NATPE needed to reinvent its annual television convention in a way that will bring top Hollywood studios back into the fold, essentially by paying for syndicators' best customers to attend the show. That idea seems to have been borrowed from organizers of cable's Western Show, which last fall agreed to pay the way for major cable operators, as a way of keeping cable networks from bolting the exhibition floor.
"It was an encouraging meeting, one that had a lot of healthy dialogue," Johansen said. "We wanted to hear what everybody had to say, and that's what we did. I think we are on the right track."
"I would say I was very encouraged and quite pleased to see all of the support and positive energy that was in that room trying to figure out how to make this convention work for all of its constituents," said Twentieth Television President Bob Cook. "I think the idea that was put forth by Bruce isn't bad. I don't think anyone wants to contemplate it for the long term, but, as a stop-gap measure to get us by New Orleans, I think it works."
Cook's Twentieth TV was one of more than 50 syndication companies that elected to set up shop at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas last month rather than take their usual place on the NATPE floor. Cook says barring another downturn in the advertising marketplace, Twentieth will likely make the trek to New Orleans next January. A number of other syndication executives, speaking on condition of anonymity, seemed to agree with him. Also, it appeared, NATPE was receptive to the idea of having an official role in coordinating the hotel-suite arrangement sometime again in the future.
A representative from Warner Bros., whose syndication chief Dick Robertson, has led the charge away from NATPE, attended the meeting, but the studio wasn't commenting on its reaction to Johansen's latest plans.
They'll meet again later this month.
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