NATPE is laying off six of its support staff, a move that is likely due to the financial strain of having nine major syndicators decide not rent out floor space at next year's NATPE convention.
Tribune Entertainment president and NATPE board member Dick Askin believes the organization "is definitely getting hit, but how big a hit no one really knows." Besides taking in less exhibition money, NATPE is also likely anticipating a drop in advertising money with syndicators not putting up their posters and banners as usual on the floor.
The syndicators say tough economic times have forced them to scale down their NATPE presence. A spokeswoman for NATPE explained that the lay-offs would not hurt the upcoming conference, since NATPE's top organizers weren't affected.
She also added that NATPE executives don't anticipate having to let any more people go. The massive floor defections prompted talks within NATPE's membership to figure out how to make future conferences more relevant to the broadcast community.
Ideas floating around include changing the time of the conference and combining several of the related TV trade shows (i.e. NATPE + Promax/BDA) into one big, week-long event. - Susanne Ault