C-W-M to check into Venetian for NATPE

Division follows WB to set up suites in nearby hotel

Carsey-Werner-Mandabach’s domestic distribution division is following the trail Warner Bros. recently began, blazing off of the exhibition floor of the upcoming National Assn. of TV Programming Execs confab.

In lieu of an expensive, elaborate NATPE booth at the Las Vegas Convention Center in January, C-W-M’s domestic division has booked suites in the nearby Venetian Hotel.

That’s where Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution also will be setting up shop, in forgoing its usual booth space (Daily Variety, April 2).

In addition, at least two other syndicators have been looking into taking space at the Venetian, although no plans to move off of the NATPE floor have been revealed by any studios other than Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution and C-W-M.

C-W-M’s international operation, like Warner Bros.’, is still expected to take floor space.

As the program sales business has changed with the tides of consolidation, NATPE’s annual gathering has come under fire from syndicators, who say too few of their station clients attend the event to warrant the expensive exhib presence.

C-W-M domestic distrib chief Bob Raleigh and Warner Bros.’ Dick Robertson both vocalized their concerns at a panel sesh during the latest NATPE edition earlier this year.

NATPE prexy-CEO Bruce Johansen has defended the event, pointing out that while fewer general managers show up, the key decision makers still attend.

Johansen declined to comment on C-W-M’s decision.