While a few details about NATPE remain to be worked out, one thing is for sure: Latin America will, as always, be extremely well represented at the Miami conference and marketplace. More so than any recent events.

Just over two months in advance of the market, we checked in with NATPE’s lifeblood — the Latin companies to get their thoughts on the event, which will take place January 23-25th at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach.

“Although we participate in many markets throughout the year, NATPE is very particular to us because it’s the first convention of the year, providing us the opportunity to meet with our Latin American clientele to present and discuss our new line-up of products for the coming year,” said Cesar Diaz, vice president of Sales for Venevision International.

“On the other hand, the majority of our clients come to the convention with a clear understanding of their needs for the coming 12 months and with acquisition budgets approved for the year,” said Diaz, whose company will be exhibiting on the 30th floor of the Tresor Tower.

“Because NATPE takes place in Miami, Florida, we count on the certain and significant participation of Latin America, which is a very important market for our content,” said Esperanza Garay, senior VP of Sales and Acquisitions at Telemundo Internacional, which will be on the 12th floor of the Tresor Tower.

“Undoubtedly, NATPE’s unique offer is the strong participation of Latin-American buyers. Their presence has strongly increased since this trade show returned to Miami because this destination is geographically, as well as culturally, closer for them,” she said.

It is the access to Latin American clients that’s convinced Jose “Pepe” Echegaray to launch his new company, PE Media Services, at this year’s NATPE conference. The company will “offer consultancy services for companies who want to establish themselves in the Latin market. Clients will be informed that we are the exclusive representative of Power product for Latin America which includes the new RHI slate as well as the RHI library in addition to other product PE Media has secured distribution agreements,” Echegaray said.  He will be in the Power suite on the 30th floor of the Tresor Tower at NATPE.

In recent years, NATPE activity has extended way beyond the usual Latin clients. “We have seen a consistent growth of attendees from different fields and regions, including media dealing in the Hispanic market in the United States,” said Venevision’s Diaz. “This is important as the U.S. Hispanic market is the fastest growing market in the region.”

Lisette Osorio, international sales director at Caracol TV, added, “We have actually started to see a growing interest from countries in Eastern and Western Europe as well as some Asian countries.” Caracol will also exhibit at the Tresor Tower during NATPE.

For Sheila Aguirre, senior vice president of Sales for Latin America and Hispanic-speaking USA at FremantleMedia Enterprises, NATPE is also a good time to catch up with clients who didn’t attend MIPCOM. “We bring many titles we launched at MIPCOM, which works well because our Central American clients haven’t seen them.  However,” she added, “we also have some very interesting surprises reserved especially for NATPE.”

Unfortunately, there isn’t much time at NATPE to screen because there are meetings every half hour. So, we either wrap up pending deals and/or talk about new programs and formats. It’s really too short. The follow up is extensive,” she said.

In addition to clients from Central and South America and new regions, representatives of new technologies are becoming important buyers at NATPE  too. “We now meet with producers, sellers and promoters of all types of digital entertainment content that are involved in the new mediums and platforms that are exploding in our industry,” said Venevision’s Diaz.  This convention is not only limited to Pay-TV and broadcast television, but it is also a melting pot for all the medias that are slowly flourishing in our industry.”

And it seems that most Latin American countries, and those dealing with Latin American buyers, are happy with NATPE’s move to Miami. “I welcomed the move to Miami and I do hope that it will continue to grow in numbers…. not in expense,” said Echegaray. “Costs must be kept under control. Otherwise, many distributors will not be able to assist and the market may lose its healthy presence of worldwide distributors.”

Aguirre pointed out the limits to the current Miami venue. “I think, if it is to grow, we need a new location (in Miami) to accommodate everyone and avoid elevator delays.I prefer Miami, however, because there are so many non-stop flights for clients, as opposed to Vegas….  and no one can beat our weather.”