NATPE Miami will end later today, and we can report straight from the market floor that overall things were looking good — good as the daily happy hour on the market floor that, this year, was revitalized by a greater presence of both exhibitors and participants.
One thing that surprised many market attendees was the unexpectedly large domestic contingent representing station groups, which was thought to be lost many years ago. At NBCUniversal Domestic Distribution’s party, more than 400 people from the domestic market showed up. (Yet a competing studio executive estimated that out of 400 guests, only 100 were actually buyers.) Talking with a few buyers, VideoAge discovered that they were actually buying to prepare their TV stations’ new schedules for mid-February.
The elevator lines at the Tresor (dubbed “Terror Tower”) at the Fontainebleau were at their worst on Days 1 and 2. Strangely the long waits were to go down (20 minutes), not up (about 10 minutes at most). It meant that plenty of people resorted to taking the stairs down 20 floors.
Rumor is that NATPE organizers are not keen to solve the elevator problem at the “Terror Tower” (at least going back to last year’s smoother rides) in order to discourage distributors to exhibit at the Tresor and encourage them to exhibit at the other towers as well.
There were 170 distribution companies with stands and about 80 exhibiting in suites (the vast majority of which were in the Tresor Tower). Exhibitors on the floor reported an increase in foot traffic over last year.
On NATPE’s final day today, Germany-based Tandem gave a press conference for its Pirate’s Passage animated film, which is written and produced by Donald Sutherland. Sutherland, who was in attendance, was interrupted in the middle of his presentation by a false alarm which disrupted the planned Champagne breakfast. Nevertheless Sutherland was entertaining and dealt with the disruption with a sense of humor.
And he wasn’t the only celebrity on hand over the last few days. Famed producer Norman Lear provided a keynote and was on hand to sign his books. And at the opening night party on Tuesday, Dean Gunnarson from Peace Point’s Escape or Die! did a live escape stunt, escaping from a tank filled with water (happily he was unscathed).
NATPE’s opening day was undoubtedly Telemundo Internacional’s day, with breakfast, lunch and dinner for buyers, colleagues and press. It started at 8:30 a.m. on the Lady Windrige Yacht, continued at 12:30 p.m. with a screening lunch in the Eden Roc’s ballroom and concluded with a dinner party at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Plenty of their shows’ stars, including big names such as Kate del Castillo and Blanca Soto, were on hand.
Wednesday night marked the annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards, which honored Gustavo Cisneros and Adriana Cisneros of Cisneros Media Group; Linda Bell Blue, executive producer of Entertainment Tonight for 19 years; Jay Leno, Emmy Award-winning host of The Tonight Show; Jonathan Murray, Chairman of Bunim/Murray Productions and credited as the creator of the reality genre; and Ted Sarandos, who has led content acquisition for Netflix since 2000. It was hosted by Brooke Burke-Charvet.
NATPE 2016 will take place January 19-21, starting on a Tuesday, after Martin Luther King Jr. day except for that, no other news emerged from Rod Perth’s closing NATPE conference. The NATPE president concluded saying just that NATPE 2015 hosted participants from over 60 countries.