NATPE Preview: Miami? Nice.

NATPE organizers say this year's model, coming to Miami from January 24-26, has given the market and conference a 'new lease on life.'
January 6, 2011

Relocating to Miami has had an invigorating effect on the NATPE Market and Conference, organizers say.

‘Honestly, instead of looking at it as the 48th edition of the NATPE Market and Conference, we’re looking at it as the first edition,’ said Rick Feldman, NATPE president and CEO, during a media conference call held just prior to the holiday break. Over 500 buyers from over 40 countries are registered to attend, and 250 companies, including between 15 and 20 new companies, will be exhibiting. While those exhibitor numbers are roughly in line with last year’s, importantly, all major Hollywood studios have confirmed attendance.

Kevin Beggs, NATPE chairman and Lionsgate president of programming and production, said that while the board may’ve waffled a bit initially about the move, Feldman ‘pushed it through and we’re all grateful for him for doing it.’ Hotel room blocks, both at host hotel the Fontainebleau and the Eden Roc, are effectively sold out, requiring organizers to secure rooms at the Grand Beach Hotel. Feldman says that unlike recent years, when the event was held in Las Vegas, delegates are opting to stay for the duration of the event as opposed to ‘jumping in for a day or two.’ Thus, a ‘full and robust day of programming’ on the closing Wednesday is part of the agenda.

Those who are making the trip will have more time to network, said Feldman, as event organizers have whittled the conference content by close to a third to accommodate more poolside meetings.

As for attendance for this year’s edition, Feldman said during the conference call that registrations were pacing far ahead of last year, with earlier marketing efforts resulting in stronger interest domestically and internationally. Still, pacing ‘roughly suggests 5,000′ delegates, a NATPE spokesperson confirmed yesterday, which is in line with last year’s numbers. Feldman said that a ‘wider berth’ of European companies would be making the trip to Miami, while not necessarily sending the numbers they’d send to the MIP conferences.

Highlights of this year’s NATPE include a master class on the future of branded content, featuring several panelists who’d appeared at realscreen‘s Branded Entertainment Forum in New York City last October, including Frank Cooper, Chief Consumer Engagement Officer PepsiCo Beverages Americas;’s president of media and entertainment Robert Friedman and Emil Jattne, senior brand manager of Grey Goose. One-on-one interviews include chats with Electus’ Ben Silverman, All3Media’s Steve Morrison and outgoing NBC president/CEO Jeff Zucker, and WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell will provide a keynote on Sunday.

Tuesday’s Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards will honor Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports Group; Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart; longtime TV host Regis Philbin and Gerhard Zeiler, CEO of the RTL Group.

This won’t be the first time NATPE’s hit Miami, as the market and conference graced its shores during the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties. But Feldman maintains the move (which will also extend to next year’s edition) has definitely been the shot in the arm needed for the event.

‘From all the evidence, we have a new lease on life here and are doing everything in our power to ensure that when people leave here, they feel the money and time was well spent,’ he said.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.