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Miami or bust: NATPE '94.

Even though NATPE '94 is nine months away, many U.S. and international program distribitors are starting to make pilgrimages to Miami Beach.

This is the first time that a major television convention is being held on the 12-km island, with the exception of AMIP in 1983 and 1984 At that time, former MIP-TV organizer Bernard Chevry and current MIP-TV president Xavier Roy recognized the potential of Miami Beach as a venue for a TV convention. Unfortunately, the AMIP experiment, which was promoted as a way of introducing non-U.S. programs to American broadcasters, was considered too premature to succeed.

For the 31st annual NATPE convetion and exhibition, to be held in 1994 on Monday, January 24th through Thursday the 27th, some 10,000 people are expected to descend on this busy resort town at the Southern tip of Florida.

The number of participants could well swell over the 10,200 mark of last January. In the words of NAPTE's Nick Orfanopoulos, "it's the perfect time of the year [i.e. climate]. Plus, it is a favorite tourist spot for Europeans and Latin Americans," not to mention Canadians who love the long sunny beaches. The whole greater Miami area has the U.S.' largest population of Spanish-speaking residents. It features a major Spanish-language daily newspaper, several Spanish-language TV stations and many producers and distributors of Spanish-language programs.

It is not unusual to find areas, or even hotels, where English is spoken as a second language, if spoken at all.

Even though Miami Beach has many little hotels and motels, there are II accredited major official NATPE hotels on the island. Some of the 5,000 accredited people will be commuting from across Biscayne Bay daily on the Island's four Causeways. The 5,000 NATPE participants represent a daily average, with the "cume" expected to pass the 10,000 mark.

NATPE will provide regular free shuttle bus service to and from the 33 (for now) official hotels and the Convention Center located on the southern tip of this 90-year-old city. The Center is near the Art Deco District, an area comprising 400 buildings with the architecture of the 1920's and 1930's.

Some official NATPE hotels are as far as the outlying Coral Gables, Miami Springs, Coconut Grove and the airport. Thus, it is expected that some participants will contact Miami Beach hotels themselves foregoing the traditional discount associated with reservations through NATPE.

Rush-hour road traffic could slow down the maximum 25 km hotel-to-convention ride (and vice versa) to 45 minutes, which is, nevertheless, shorter than what Houston, Texas, offered some NATPE participants years ago.

The positive side of this will be that market participants will be spending more time on the floor, especially since the convention is now reduced to three full days. As usual, NATPE exhibitors will be providing plenty of refreshments and food. Florida's being a "right-to-work state" (i.e. no unions), should contribute to keeping costs in check. These savings, however, will be offset by the fact that January is "high season" for the winter resort of Miami; therefore, hotel rates and restaurant charges are at their peak.

As far as the program itself is concerned, it will retrace the outline of NATPE '93: i.e. the conference of independent TV stations(INTV) will open on January 25th in their official hotel. The convention floor will open on the following day for the remaining three days. The Miami Beach Convention Center doubled in size in 1988 to 0.5 million square feet of exhibition space, about the same area found in San Francisco this year. The difference is that Miami offers one single large hall.

Nightlife should keep everyone hopping with many clubs in the Little Haiti and Little Havana areas of Miami.

With air travel facilitated by direct flights from many major U.S. and international cities, Miami is poised to be a magnet for all TV magnates.

Enjoy while it lasts: In 1995 and 1996 NATPE is scheduled for Las Vegas, before going back to that simpatica city of New Orleans.
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Title Annotation:National Association of Television Program Executives
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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