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NATPE Thinks Digital, Acts Local for 2014 Confab

Org courts digital distribs, producers as demand for long-form fare grows

James L. Brooks, Terence Winter, Marta Kauffman, Andy Cohen and Morgan Spurlock are among the TV bizzers lined up to take part in next month’s NATPE confab in Miami.

Rod Perth, prexy of the National Assn. of Television Program execs, said registration for the confab, which runs Jan. 27-29 at the Fontainebleau Hotel, is pacing “well ahead” of the same period last year. The 2013 programming conference brought in around 5,000 attendees.

Perth emphasized that the conference is aiming to be a magnet for all the programming activity in the digital arena. A good portion of the conference sessions will be devoted to navigating emerging digital platforms, their need for programming and advertising support.

“They’re doing television shows,” Perth said, citing the long-form programming boom at Netflix, AOL, Yahoo and other Netcasters. “It’s just an amazing time right now to be a creator. We think NATPE has a unique value as the market conference that can connect all these communities.”

Notable digital execs on board to speak at the show including YouTube’s Alex Carloss, Roku founder-CEO Anthony Wood, Twitter TV topper Fred Graver and Maker Studios’ Erin McPherson.

NATPE has also partnered with the Consumer Electronics Assn. on a study of TV viewing habits and second-screen activity. Part of that research will be unveiled early next month at Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, while NATPE will have its own presentation in Miami.

Amid the focus on courting digital mavens, NATPE has also sought to shore up its traditional core aud of syndication distribs and station groups. The org has offered incentives to station owners to bring larger contingents of executives — carrots that include conference room space and volume discounts on the cost of attending the conference. Perth said all the major studio distribs would take part in the market in some form — whether in exhibition space on the market floor or private spaces in the adjacent hotels.

The international presence will also be strong. Of the registered buyers to date, 44% come from overseas, representing 46 countries. Of 225 exhibitors lined up to date, 34 are new to the show and five are returning after a long absence.

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