Executives visit Vegas in spite of boycott

As the NATPE confab kicked off in earnest Tuesday, leaders of the org were none too happy to spot a couple of sales executives from Sony Pictures TV hanging around the Four Seasons Hotel, adjacent to the Mandalay Bay Resort where the Las Vegas confab is held.

Why? Because Sony made a point last year of saying publicly that it would boycott NATPE, charging that the meeting has become irrelevant to its sales efforts. Instead, Sony took out a big chunk of floor space for a spacious booth at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month in Sin City.

Major distribs have passed on taking NATPE floor space on and off for years now, but what rankled org officials was that the Sony execs appeared to be meeting with station buyers, piggybacking on the NATPE activity to line up sales for the company’s new “Judge Karen” courtshow without registering for the conference.

NATPE prexy Rick Feldman said it boils down to an issue of fairness for the distribs who do support the four-day event, even if only by paying the $275 price of a daily admission.

“If their (execs) are here, then on some level they felt they had to be here,” Feldman said. “How is that fair to the other guys who do support the organization and make the conference possible? I want Sony to be part of it next year, and I’m asking them to pay their fair share.”

A Sony Pictures TV rep could not be reached for comment.

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