Johansen jump-starts NATPE planning


National Association of Television Programming Executives president and CEO Bruce Johansen said he is planning a meeting later
this month in Los Angeles with all of the top syndication distributors to
discuss plans for next year's NATPE conference in New Orleans.

Johansen said his organization is attempting to change the way the conference
floor has been designed in the past.

Last month, more than 50 distributors broke from the NATPE floor in Las Vegas and
set up their own mini-conference at the Venetian Hotel.

Several top studios said they saved more than $1.5 million by meeting with
advertisers and station representatives in hotel suites instead of setting up
shop in elaborate convention-floor booths.

"We are getting renderings and drawings ready to show them what a booth
situation would look like or what it would cost to do a booth and hospitality
combo situation or just hospitality areas alone," Johansen said. "It will all be
scaled down with very specific cost-containment polices so that a distributor
knows exactly what their costs are going to be, they are uniform and they are
nothing like they were in the past."

Johansen added that there is nothing new to report about ongoing talks to merge
with fellow conference organization PROMAX/BDA.

"The talks continue, but that's all I can report right now," he said.