Mention the term NATPE and the first thought that springs to mind is the market held each January, most recently in Las Vegas. However, NATPE’s president and CEO Bruce Johansen is anxious to point out that NATPE is active throughout the year, often through the organization’s education foundation. He says that it was the combination of NATPE’s education and market interests that led organizers of the Prix Italia – an annual radio and television festival in Italy – to seek a partnership.
Prix Italia president James Graham agrees that NATPE’s education foundation was the primary incentive to contact the organization. ‘There is an academic and a teaching element attached to both NATPE and the Prix Italia.’
Graham says he would like to see a marketplace emerge at the Prix Italia, but one that is smaller and more focused -drama, documentaries and music & arts projects are the festival mainstays – than an event such as MIPCOM. ‘We would like a market in high quality stuff,’ he notes.
Johansen, however, is less interested in the market aspect. ‘That’s certainly not the intent initially. If at some point something could develop whereby people could buy and sell shows, that would be a nice by-product. But we’re not going into this, and they didn’t ask NATPE to participate, to create another market. The last thing anybody in this industry wants is another television market.’
When the Italian festival opens its doors on September 17 in Bologna, NATPE will be on hand offering professional seminars and workshops with some key executives from the U.S., says Johansen. In addition, the NATPE Education Foundation will establish an event for students at the post-graduate School of Communication and Media Studies, based at the University of Bologna, which both parties hope will evolve into an annual educational exchange.
More than anything else, says Graham, the partnership signals that the Prix Italia isn’t stuck in the last century, despite being more than 50 years old. ‘We wanted to become part of the modern world and have a relationship with one of [the markets], and NATPE is the best for us" we are not just growing old gracefully.’