Previewing NATPE '06


Organizers of the NATPE conference, set for Jan. 24-26 in Las Vegas, say a “perfect storm” of factors will see the event grow for the fourth straight year. Those include every major distributor's bringing out new product, big changes in station-group management, and new distribution platforms, says John Weiser, Sony Pictures Television president, distribution, and NATPE co-chair.

Organizers say the event will have the largest number of sessions and presentations in its history. With representatives from more than 70 countries, it's increasingly global as well. “The cross-pollination of programming between the U.S. and Europe has never been healthier,” says InfoSpace President of Mobile Media and NATPE Co-Chair Stephen Davis.

Internet companies that are pushing into the television business, such as Yahoo! and Google, will be present, though not on the exhibition floor. “They are right now in the acquisition phase and not the exhibition-and-distribution phase,” says NATPE President/CEO Rick Feldman. “We believe that, over time, that is going to change.”

Highlights include a breakfast presentation with Touchstone Television President Mark Pedowitz and a reception recognizing the winners of the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards, presented in association with B&C, Multichannel News and Variety and sponsored by NBC Universal.

The keynote address will be delivered by BBC Chairman Michael Grade. The Mobile++ session, focusing on wireless and digital distribution technologies, serves as a precursor to the show on Jan. 23.