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Is NATPE a good market?

Is NATPE A Good Market?

"We wouldn't be going to NATPE if we didn't see some residual effect," said Bill Kunkel, senior vice president, Hearst Entertainment. "And right now, NATPE is a great asset to us because we have domestic and international properties."

"Quite honestly, any market is a good market for our company," responded Richard Mann of All American Television. "I think NATPE has taken the proper step in opening up the entire show to international," Mann continued, "instead of just having the prescribed hours in the morning. But I also think they've still got greater emphasis or acknowledgement to international in the future."

"Is NATPE effective for me?" Rob Miller, vice president, U.S. television, Fox Lorber, asked in return. "My feeling is that for a small company like ours, it's good visibility. It's still good to be at NATPE, yes, doing deals. But, the impression I'm getting in phone calls to program directors is that people are cutting back. They won't be coming this year."

On the other hand, Hearst's Bill Kunkel believes, "NATPE concentrates clients for us. It gets us to the people we can't reach in some of the smaller markets. There are markets that we can't afford to go into, but they can afford to go to a NATPE, where they can buy, in effect, probably 50 to 80 per cent, of their acquired schedule. With people being as cost conscious as they are, it's a good gathering place."

"NATPE is an excellent market for us," enthused Brian Lacey, of Zodiac Entertainment. "It puts us in direct contact with broadcasters from the U.S. - and the rest of the world. It's becoming increasingly more internationalized. For a company like ours, which also does international distribution, it's a very valuable market."

As to the lifting of certain prohibitions from last year's show, Lacey said, "I'm happy they've gone back to more of the tone and attitude that NATPE was prior, because, after all, it is the entertainment business, and there has to be some fun. People have come to expect that when they come to one of those markets it's a kind of performance. We shouldn't take ourselves so seriously. It shouldn't all be so deal-driven."

"It's a very expensive market," one industryite grumbled. "It may sound like sour grapes, but the expenses down there are tremendous. With the belt-tightening that's going on in this business, I don't think it's necessary to have both INTV and NATPE. These are tough times. Who can afford both?"

"It's a well-run venue, but pricey," another industryite remarked. "A little short in length for the large amount of money that people have to sell out to participate. With the money they put into those stands, you could feed a third world nation!"

Wilda Rokos, vice president, Tomwil, Inc., handles international distribution, but many of her company's series are also offered for syndication. "We're there because the international buyers are showing up more and more at NATPE," she explained. "Our clients want us there to talk to the foreign buyers, because the people from overseas clearly don't understand how syndication works. It's a totally new concept for them. NATPE is a very different market from, say, Monte Carlo or MIP, because you have so many companies involved in the ancillary rights. It's a bewildering thing to the foreign buyers, so there's a whole educational process that needs to be done."

Judith Bland, president of Eaton Films of London, which distributes Harmony Gold product, said, "NATPE will always remain an essentially American market, but the international buyers like the feeling of NATPE because it's distinctly American in feeling, it's different from all the other markets."

Frank Agrama, chairman and CEO of Harmony Gold, feels NATPE is a sort of sneak preview of product for international buyers. Then, at Monte Carlo, they can grab programming before their competitors even get to screen the material.

The forthright Agrama still feels the floor hours at NATPE are too limited, too restrictive. "They close the floor in order for the people to attend the seminars. That's bull!" he exclaimed.

Majestic Entertainment is another company that won't have a stand but still plans to participate at the convention. "In years past, Majestic has been an exhibitor," said vice president Scott Hanock. "During these last years, we had hoped to see the convention grow in attendance in the international marketplace. For NATPE to position itself as an international organization, it needs an influx of major international buyers." Hanock said he'll be counting the number of overseas buyers at this year's show to determine whether Majestic will return to NATPE as an exhibitor in the future.
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Title Annotation:National Association of Television Program Executives
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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