NATPE 2011: The Rebuilding Year

Monday, January 31, 2011 by Frank Radice

The National Association of Television Program Executives Annual Event

 I’ve been going to the NATPE TV supermarket for years.

I remember a time when millions of dollars were spent on the booths, and lavish parties were thrown for the execs and the affiliates.

I also saw it lose ground to CES during the financial meltdown, and now I’ve seen the start of a comeback for NATPE as an event and a marketplace.

I’m told there were a thousand more attendees at NATPE this year over last.

67 countries were represented here and every major content provider globally seemed to be in attendance.

This year, they had online show guides to help navigate the sessions and the floor, a hash tag and TwitterFall, a Facebook presence, and lots of social media interactions…they just needed better access to the NATPE Wi-Fi on site.

The theme this year was “Content First!”

Some things I heard and learned on content distribution, international programming, video strategies, brand integration and connected TVs:


Netflix, HULU, and other new(ish) content rich platforms need to be viewed as alternative distribution methods, not competitors. Beth Roberts of NBCU says broadcasters need to rethink their approach to windowing feature content to avoid being overwhelmed by all the new platforms.

But traditional media still sees platforms like Netflix as foes, where content producers see it as its friend. The truth is it’s not going away, so everyone needs to play nice in the sandbox.

The mood overall was upbeat, as the advertising climate heats up again.

The international business was red hot according to my sources, and of course Latin American programming played a significant role here, with a large turnout from Univision, Telemundo and Televisa (not surprising in Miami)!

There was talk about the mainstay of Hispanic programming in the US Latino market- The Telenovela – being the best at serving the female demographic to the detriment of the male viewer. In other words, give the guys something more to watch as well!

Yahoo!, having lost the UGC battle To YouTube, is changing its video strategy to one of original video content.

Brand integration in programming was a big topic for the advertisers here. There was even a company on the floor pitching a software solution that inserts banners into video called SeamBI for seamless branding integration.

The talk about multi-screen TV consumption was still on a roll here, so that’s good news for interactive TVs (but I’m still not convinced. Get Glue and Twitter while watching a show already distracts me).

And one last thought. It was an honor to see two old friends, Dick Ebersol and Mary Hart join Regis Philbin and Gerhard Zeiler, all Icons of television, receive the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award from NAPTE. It truly was an inspiring event.



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