NATPE Leaders Optimistic About 2012 Conference

Rick Feldman Headshot - P 2011
Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

Rick Feldman Headshot - P 2011

The annual Miami Beach three-day event, from Jan. 23-25, will see an increase in U.S. major studios and foreign sellers.

Indications are NATPE 2012 next month in Miami Beach will see an increase of exhibiting companies with U.S. majors increasing their presence and more foreign sellers than in recent years, according to the groups president and CEO Rick Feldman.

The entire exhibition floor will be sold out, said Feldman, including about 25 percent additional space that last year was taken up by a digital theater, which will now be upstairs in a different area.

In a Tuesday press teleconference, Feldman estimated there will be 250 to 300 exhibitors from Jan. 23-25, including exhibitors from at least 15 more countries than were present last year. He estimated over 20 new companies will attend from France alone.

Jordan Levin, who is co-chair of the NATPE conference, said NATPE has evolved to where it truly is an event for the global community interested in video content. He noted that this will be the 49th NATPE, and that the following year, which will also be in Miami Beach, they celebrate the 50th anniversary.

Despite the economic problems in Europe, Feldman said that it does not seem to have impacted NATPE attendance or participation. “Advertisers still have to sell their products in good times and bad,” says Feldman.

There will be a total of 600 to 700 buyers, said Feldman, about the same as last year. Total attendance, which includes ad execs, press, financiers and others, will once again be about 5,000.

“We’re really pleased things are going nicely and we expect to have one of the best years we’ve had in a long time,” says Feldman.

The Hollywood majors are all increasing their presence except Warner Bros. which will have about the same size presence as in the past. Disney/ABC, which has the new show Katie to promote, will have an increased presence, as will Sony, among others.

The second day, Tuesday, will be specially programmed for advertisers, ad agencies and brands to participate in various panels and conversations.

The big change will be the way NATPE uses the space within the Fontainebleau Hotel and Resort, where the market and conference will take place for the second year in a row. Instead of placing most major exhibitors in one tower, which led to huge delays in people trying to access the handful of elevators, the sellers will be spread over at least three towers on the grounds, plus various conference rooms and in some cases on boats across the street from the hotel where there is a canal.

About 7 to 9 companies have taken space at the docks, said Feldman.

There will also be a new lounge off the lobby where people with NATPE badges will be able to rest, use computers and make calls, taking pressure off the few big bars which became quite crowded at times.

There will be about 200 speakers during the three-day conference, beginning with Phil Kent of Turner, who will give the opening day keynote address.

There will be fewer multiple person panels and more one on one sessions, ala Charlie Rose, to try and provide more depth to the programs.

The annual Brandon Tartikoff Awards will take place Tuesday evening and will be hosted by Billy Bush of Access Hollywood. As was announced in November, the honorees this year will be Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Fernando Gaitán, Dennis Swanson and Matthew Weiner.

To help facilitate interaction, there is a new feature called MyNATPE. People register online and then can use their access like a social network to get information, contact others, network and set up appointments.

There will be increase presence from new media companies. In particular YouTube, which is part of Google, has become a sponsor of the event and will have a larger contingent participating and provide a number of speakers.

Feldman also expects a strong presence from TV stations and TV stations groups, although he admits it will never be like it was years ago before consolidation. “Relative to the world we live in now,” says Feldman, “this will be the best contingent we have seen in a long time.”