The 2007 National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) conference is in the books, and our most recent chapter was a major success as viewed by the many companies we have canvassed.
Each year, the “show” is unique and seems to take on a life of its own. Although distributors are somewhat gun-shy about releasing sales figures, the post-NATPE word of mouth indicates that the conference was a successful selling experience for all.
A “successful” conference means a number of things. It means, from a business point of view, that our attendees have benefited from the marketplace. From a professional point of view, it means that attendees found our panels and other programs rewarding. A successful conference allows us to recycle funds into existing and new NATPE programs that are of great benefit to our membership and our industry.
NATPE is truly a non-scripted event where 8,000 attendees create their own universe and come with their own set of expectations. NATPE celebrates the TV content and needs of people from 75 countries.
It may have seemed that NATPE '07 was somewhat schizophrenic, attempting to be many things to many people. But it's not true. NATPE does not believe in balkanizing our business. We don't think in terms of domestic vs. foreign or “old” media vs. new.
About 60% come strictly to buy and sell content. Another 30% attend for networking opportunities and to attend our conference of 50 sessions with more than 200 speakers.
It is impossible to satisfy every single agenda, but our goal is to first satisfy the needs of buyers and sellers and then to create a diverse conference that reflects the complexity of the business in wide-ranging discussions.
Every NATPE seems to resurrect the floor-vs.-suite issue. Let's put this discussion to bed: About 15%-20% of distributors choose to exhibit in suites. There are a limited number of suites at the Mandalay Bay hotel, and those seem to meet the needs of some syndicators. So, for the foreseeable future, the situation will remain about the same, with all the majors in the mix.
NATPE is a living and breathing organism. Certainly, it's more art than science and truly market-driven. Other gatherings exist, but most reflect slices of our business while we reflect the whole. NATPE is a collective, inclusive experience that marries art and commerce with the emphasis on connecting the dots between the two.
The bottom line is our continued growth and the positive feedback we received from the feet on the ground at NATPE '07. We will continue to keep our eye on the ball.