NATPE CEO Promises Bigger Turnout and More Digital at 2014 Conference

11:42 AM PST 12/10/2013 by Alex Ben Block
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NATPE speaker Andy Cohen

225 exhibitors are set so far, and the roster of speakers at the Miami event includes James L. Brooks, Andy Cohen, Morgan Spurlock and Marta Kaufman.

Attendance at the 2014 NATPE Market & Conference in Miami Beach will be up from recent years. NATPE president and CEO Rod Perth promised more buyers, exhibitors, station groups and advertisers during a Tuesday conference call -- with a particularly increased presence from the digital arena.

“It’s a very exciting time in the media world,” said Perth. “There’s a new sense of energy here. We’re very proud of that. NATPE is now positioned to be at the nexus of this world.”

Speakers at the conference -- the theme for 2014 is "No barriers, New business” -- will include Simpsons EP James L. Brooks (who is also one of the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award winners); Bravo host Andy Cohen; producer Marta Kaufman, documentarian Morgan Spurlock; and producer and writer Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire). David Levy will give one of his first interviews since becoming president of Turner Broadcasting.

On the digital side, speakers will include Shawn Atkins of Discovery Communications; Drew Buckley of Electus; and Alex Carloss of YouTube.

The pace of buyers who are coming has increased over last year, and international continues to grow. Perth said 44 percent of the attendees will be from outside the U.S., representing 46 different countries so far. There also will be exhibitors from 23 different countries.

For 2014, 25 percent of the speakers at the conference will be from the world of advertising and major brands. “They want to immerse themselves in the business,” said Perth. “They can no longer stand on the side.”

The number of station personnel attending from at least 28 station groups will be doubled from last year, thanks to an initiative to offer special rates and opportunities.

Years ago, the station groups were a key part of NATPE, but that has declined with consolidation of the ownership of stations, economic issues and changes in how and when shows are bought. The initiative is intended to show the stations that they need to be part of the discussion about changes in the digital era.

“We’re providing reasons for them to be there,” said Perth. “They compete with digital, fractionalization, generational changes, things they realize NATPE can help them understand.”

Last year, according to Perth, 41 percent of speakers at the conference were from digital; this year, that will increase to about 50 percent.

As of Dec. 10, 225 exhibiting companies had signed up and more are being added all the time. Every major American studio will have a presence, including CBS, MGM, Viacom, Lionsgate, NBC Universal, ABC Disney, Warner Bros., Fox, Paramount and Sony.

Most of the major Latino broadcasters will participate, including Univision, Telemundo, Azteca and Televisa.

There will be a new concierge service to help match up buyers and sellers and others. Also for the first time, there will be an exhibitor news portal where sellers can upload press information that will appear on the NATPE website and can then be accessed through the NATPE app. “It will create a real-time news ticker at the market,” predicted Perth.

NATPE began a partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association last year, and that will expand in 2014. NATPE and CEA will release a study on the use of second screens at the CES in Las Vegas and part 2 at NATPE itself.

There also will be an exhibit at NATPE of the most innovative electronic devices and gadgets shown at CES, with a person on hand to walk visitors through what is being exhibited.

The Tartikoff awards will be hosted by Nancy O’Dell on Tuesday night during NATPE. The other honorees, who were previously announced, are Televisa CEO Emilio Azcarraga Jean, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and Lauren Zalaznick, who in September left NBC Universal after 12 years.

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