By Dom Serafini

NATPE organizers’ biggest fear in moving to Miami was the risk that companies would be “bussing” international buyers out of the convention site (in this case the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach).

Since virtually all Latin American distribution companies that exhibit at NATPE have offices in Miami, it would be relatively easy for them to do exactly the same thing that studios do during the L.A. Screenings, when taking busloads of buyers to their lots.

The fear was unfounded since any respectable company will not risk being labeled the black sheep by NATPE and, as we all know and have seen, NATPE president, Rick Feldman, is not shy about pointing fingers.

What is going to happen, however, is that local companies will have buyers in their offices or in their executives’ houses or restaurants, either on Sunday, January 23, 2011, before the market starts on the following day, or after the market ends. Some local exhibitors have even vowed not to return home at night and are renting hotel rooms instead to both avoid the usual horrendous Miami traffic and to be ready for NATPE’s traditional early start-up hours (for this reason VideoAge will be delivered to all NATPE registrants in their hotel rooms starting at 5 a.m.).

Indeed, at least two of the 10 or so parties now being planned will begin on Sunday, including NATPE’s own welcoming party at the adjacent Eden Roc Hotel.

This is so distribution companies can also take advantage of the fact that many Latin buyers have houses in and around Miami and therefore will be arriving earlier.

For this reason, VideoAge is coming out with its first Daily on Sunday, not only because it is practically a market day, albeit a non-official one, but also to allow smaller distribution companies an advantage in terms of attention. Sunday is also considered NATPE’s “domestic” day, which will be reflected in the Daily’s edition.

After the market starts on Monday, parties held outside the market venue will be relegated to the hours after the floor closes or, in the case of the opening night party, after the official bash ends.

Unique this year is the fact that some companies will be throwing parties even after the market closes on Wednesday, January 26 (including NATPE organizers) and that office meetings will continue until Friday, while Europeans and North Americans will most likely extend their Miami visit up until the weekend to take advantage of the resort’s sub-tropical climate to relax.

This, in effect, will make NATPE a six-day market: A first in NATPE’s 46-year history.