Leading the Way on the International StageNATPE chief says attendance up 10%-12%, with foreign conferees making up one-third of the show 1/30/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern
With at least one-third of its attendees
coming from international markets, NATPE,
in 2012, has positioned itself well as the
kickoff to the international selling season that starts in
Miami, heads to MIP in France in April and ends with
the L.A. Screenings in May.
“I see it as a marketplace with a conference attendant.
We need it to be the preeminent marketplace for the
global content business, based in the U.S.,” Rick Feldman,
NATPE president, said during a press conference
last week. “We’ve always held NATPE in January so naturally
it makes us the first market of the year. I like being
that. A lot of the international people have told me
that over time MIP might play less of a role for them. At
least there’s discussion around that happening.”
NATPE remains a marketplace of TV shows, but of a
different sort than it once was, given that there used to
be 70 to 80 producers selling to hundreds of TV stations.
With consolidation, there are far fewer domestic TVstation
buyers and studio sellers. However, by bringing
independent producers, cable networks, digital platforms
and international players to the conference, NATPE has
evolved into a new type of market.
This year’s conference, which took place once again
at the Fontainebleau Resort on Miami’s South Beach,
was a bustling gathering of TV producers, distributors
and executives from all over the world. Some studios
hosted potential clients at breezy poolside cabanas in
near-perfect weather, while others held forth in airy
suites with ocean views.
“I’m overjoyed [with how NATPE has gone] because
everyone I’ve talked to has been overjoyed,” said Feldman.
He estimated that attendance for this year’s NATPE was up
10 to 12%, with approximately 5,000 people attending.
“Registration the first day was good, we were really
busy, so I think the final tally will be north of 5,000,”
said Feldman. “Relative to international, from the buyer
perspective we had maybe 10% more buyers. When I
went to see the sellers, everyone said that the people
they wanted to see were here.”
Deal-making at this year’s market—at least among
domestic syndicators—was less of a focus because most
of the key deals had been done heading into the show.
Still, several syndicators announced additional clearances
for their shows. Disney/ABC Television’s Katie is all but
done at 93% of the country. NBCUniversal’s Steve Harvey Twentieth’s Ricki Lake and CTD’s Jeff Probst
all are in the same position at 90%-plus. The
newest entry to the mix, Twentieth’s Dish
Nation, which features radio DJs chatting
and cracking jokes about the day’s events, is
already at 70% of the country.
Several international distribution deals
also were announced at NATPE, including
Ben Silverman’s Electus grabbing international
distribution rights to three off-Spike
series—Flip Men, American Digger and Car
Lot Cowboy—and selling the second season
of VH1’s Mob Wives to nearly 100 territories
worldwide. Electus also has already sold its
new NBC reality competition, Fashion Star,
to Asia’s DIVA Universal Network, bringing
the show to 20 Asian territories. Comedy
Central also said it will launch Comedy
Central Latin America on Feb. 1, opening
to 10 million Latin American homes.
Deals also get started at NATPE and
then get closed months later. For example,
Netflix showed up at NATPE last year
and started talking to the studios. What
emerged were industry-changing deals with
Warner Bros. and CBS for CW content and
with AMC for episodes of Mad Men.
This year’s show also felt a bit like NATPEs
of old, with several celebrities in attendance.
Charlie Sheen, who will star in a 10-episode
test of sitcom Anger Management for FX, was
the central attraction at a Monday-night party,
with contending talk divas Katie Couric and
Lake stopping by to check out the scene. Prior
to the party, both Couric and Lake greeted
buyers of their new shows in hotel suites.
NBCUniversal brought Steve Harvey to
the show, and also broadcast Access HollywoodLive poolside. Host Billy Bush, who later that
night emceed the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards,
got to spend more time with Sheen than he planned,
and Couric, Lake and Harvey came by to chat, while
paparazzi chased down Sheen. NBCU also hosted a private
party at the Versace Mansion with some of the cast
of Parks and Recreation, which the company is taking
out for sale to cable networks and digital platforms.
“We love having talent here because it brings a sexiness
to it,” said Feldman. “People take pictures, it creates
buzz and all of that. But it has to be talent that’s
relevant to content that people are absorbing. If we
can accommodate it, we want to have it. Having Katie
Couric and Charlie Sheen running around and being
by the pool is good for us.
“This year there are four new shows, so people are
here. There have been some pretty fallow years when
there wasn’t new stuff, so there wasn’t any talent. After
seeing how successful it was to bring talent this year,
I think we’ll see more of it in years to come without a
doubt,” Feldman added.
NATPE’s organizers succeeded in managing the hotel
space, eliminating most of last year’s long elevator lines
to get to suites to see sellers.
“The thing that we were most nervous about was
changing the con! guration from last year. The first
thing we had to do was make sure the elevator problem
was almost completely ameliorated, and to a large
degree, we did that,” said Feldman.
Next year, NATPE’s 50th, the market will again be
held at the Fontainebleau, for the third year in a row,
and the organization has an option to return for 2014.
Next year’s dates fall one week later, from Jan. 28–30.