NATPE ’06 to focus on new content

Confab to focus on producing, protecting product

NATPE ’06 organizers Tuesday unveiled a confab agenda that places heavy emphasis on producing, distributing and protecting new content.

“We’re about everybody watching, wherever they watch, as long as their rights are protected,” said National Assn. of Television Program Executives prexy-CEO Rick Feldman during a breakfast press conference in preparation for the Jan. 24-26 gathering at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.

“We’re living in a seamless world of content,” Feldman said. “This is the return of a healthy environment, both domestically and internationally.”

Added co-chair John Weiser, president of distribution at Sony Pictures Television, “If you’re an owner of content, you need to know how to platform your product and know your competitors.”

Attendance for the last three NATPE confabs has grown, and Feldman said that the numbers are ahead of last year at this time.

Feldman said there will be more panels and sessions than any other past NATPE and that companies and/or reps from more than 70 countries are scheduled to attend. When the final numbers are tallied, there should be between 350-400 exhibitors, with 80% on the floor.

NATPE officials said FremantleMedia will move from its suite in the Mandalay Bay down to the floor, and that other companies will follow as soon as contracts are finalized and signed.

After interviewing attendees at this January’s NATPE about what went right and wrong, Feldman said the largest complaint he got was the walking distance between the suites and convention floor.

Admitting there’s little the org can do to address that problem except increase signage, he stated, “We know it’s a schlep from the floor to the suites. You don’t want an appointment on the floor and then have to be at the suites in 15 minutes.”

Feldman said the org is working with Mandalay Bay again for NATPE 2007, but dates might have to be juggled.

Looking to interest confabgoers who think beyond traditional forms of content and distribution, NATPE will once again dedicate the entire Monday before the confab to mobile technology, to be sponsored by iHollywood.

Michael Grade, chairman of the BBC, will deliver the keynote address Jan. 25. Feldman said one reason Grade was selected to speak is because the BBC “has a footprint no other company in the world has.”

Other events lined up include:

  • chat sessions with Touchstone TV topper Mark Pedowitz and JibJab satirists Gregg and Evan Spiridellis;

  • an “Inside the Writer’s Room” forum with “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Phil Rosenthal and scribes;

  • a look at how local news covered the Hurricane Katrina disaster;

  • expanding telenovelas throughout the globe;

  • and a panel on the 25th anniversary of syndicated celebrity magazine show “Entertainment Tonight.”

A recipient of the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards will be announced in the next few weeks.

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