It wasn’t even the invite-only NBC Universal Party at the
This year, NATPE has, like a phoenix, fully risen from the ashes. With more than 5,000 attendees – a 10% increase over last year’s figures - the iconic conference’s new energy – the result of a more focused industry direction and a mission – was palpable. In this, NATPE realized the results of an aggressive multi-year strategy to regain its standing and relevance in the entertainment industry.
Now that strategy has finally paid off.
At the post-event wrap lunch for media, Rick Feldman, the president at CEO of NATPE, was clearly pleased with the increase in international buyers and sellers to this year’s conference. “When I went to see the sellers, everyone said that the people they wanted to see were here.” said Feldman.
In the course of its history, NATPE has seen its ups and downs but it remains a snapshot of what is happening in the content landscape. A microcosm of what content works and how it is monetized. A place of buying and selling of industry wares. A focus group on what’s hot and what’s not among television program executives and indie content creators.
Prior to the repeal of the fin/syn rules in the mid-1990s, NATPE had been the go-to destination for hundreds of independent producers to shop their creations. The old FCC rules had mandated networks to set aside 25% for programming supplied by independent producers and prevented the big six broadcast networks from taking an ownership interest the shows they aired.
The rules created an atmosphere of intense competition and creativity that spawned some of TV’s most iconic programs – King World’s The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Wheel of Fortune, Carsey-Werner’s Cosby and Roseanne, and
But after fin/syn’s repeal, all that changed. The networks could now produce, distribute, and syndicate their own in-house programming.
Some production companies were absorbed by the big networks. CBS acquired King World and, after the Viacom merger,
In order to survive in the mid-2000s, NATPE hitched its train to the global markets and the chaotic democracy of the new media space and it hasn’t looked back since.
NATPE is globally-orientated now and the big networks were only one part of the confab’s strategic fabric this year. Yes, media hoped between hospitality suites promoting a gaggle of post-Oprah era talk shows from the big networks - shows headlined by
NATPE is no longer catering to
NATPE’s Feldman sums it up best. “NATPE’s moniker of ‘content first’ continues to resonate. Strong media brands in the global world continue to produce assets which more and more are enhanced by methods of engagement that create greater context for the viewers, resulting in increased audience attention.”
As long as content continues to be first, NATPE will be around for good.
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