NATPE has been a familiar fixture on the TV distribution calendar for 37 years, but the TV industry has changed, and so has the event. Originally designed to serve the U.S. syndication market, NATPE has evolved in its Miami location into an event with a heavy Latin American focus, and it’s attracting more and more European and U.K. distribution outfits.

NATPE COO JP Bommel said: “In the year before we moved to Miami, we had 22 European exhibitors and, as of last year, we had 120 exhibitors from Europe. We’re looking at 30 from the U.K. alone, in 2017.”

Attracting more European-based exhibitors and attendees to the conference is part of Bommel’s strategy and he said the event is gaining more traction due to the conference element, including master classes, networking opportunities and keynote talks. Europe now makes up 18 percent of the TV trade show.

The event attracts key U.K. players — ITV, Endemol Shine, Sky Vision, All3Media International and Zodiak to name a few. This year DCD Rights, TCB Media Rights and Content Media have also signed up. This is also because U.K. product is becoming more competitive. Since Brexit, British companies can sell content for a lower dollar amount and still receive the same amount of pounds. For example, £10,000 per hour now can be sold for U.S. $11,400 (in comparison to $16,000 in pre-Brexit times.)

Sabrina Ayala, Cineflix Rights’ svp of Sales France, Italy, Iberia and Latin America, is a regular attendee. She said it’s always been a go-to market for the Americas — both the U.S. and Latin America. Cineflix is London-based and Ayala said: “We’re not necessarily going to open an office in Miami, so we depend on something like NATPE that gives us the opportunity to focus on Latin America.”

Ayala added that it’s a good place for relationship building as the atmosphere is more relaxed than markets like MIPCOM and MIP-TV. “It’s at the beginning of the calendar year so it sets the tone,” she continued. “It’s about catching up with people — where your business is, what are the goals for the future. The Latin American focus has given extra impetus to build the relationships in those territories.”

But it’s not only useful for people who don’t have a permanent presence in the region. In fact, Veronique Verges, svp, Latin America and U.S. Hispanic at Endemol Shine International, said that in the last six years the company has reinforced its presence in the U.S. Hispanic and LATAM region by opening an office in Miami and a second sales office in Sao Paulo.

“Attending NATPE every year is part of that reinforced presence on the ground,” explained Verges. “NATPE is a must for distributors with any ambition to distribute in the USH/LATAM region. In addition, we need to be present alongside our very active sister productions companies who are also major players in the region and attend NATPE.”

Verges added that there will be a mix of new launches and returning series both in scripted and factual entertainment. She said: “We expect confirmations of acquisitions from our clients. Typically, NATPE maps out the level of business that we can expect to close within the first half of our financial year.”

Facundo Bailez, sales manager at All3Media International, said many broadcasters from smaller LATAM markets which don´t go to Cannes also attend NATPE, which has also become a very important event for creative exchanges in the region as many independent producers go there, too. He added: “Being in January, many broadcasters are getting the final details of the new season ready, so it’s a good time to follow up on discussions from MIPCOM and discuss formats and contents that will go on air during the second semester or even the following season.”

For Jonathan Ford, Content Media, evp, Sales and Distribution, the main purpose of the market is to “build on our reputation as one of the leading global distributors.” As far as content is concerned, he will be bringing programming from across the genres. “We will certainly be showcasing our latest deliveries but also giving sneak previews for our upcoming titles,” he said. “We have an extensive slate of both drama and non-fiction titles including our new millennial drama series Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope, three brand new features from our renowned Jack Taylor franchise starring Iain Glen, non-fiction specials Elian, executive produced by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney, Beside Bowie which tells the story of legendary guitarist Mick Ronson and our 8 x half hour docu-reality series The Retreat starring Nick Knowles.”

DCD Rights is heading to Miami with a three-strong team, including head of sales, Rick Barker, Lenneke de Jong, who looks after the Latin American markets and CEO Nicky Davies Williams, who describes it as a “must-go” market for her company.

While, like others, Davies Williams said Latin America is a strong focus, she also said U.S. cable networks, Scandinavia and Europe are also on the agenda. “We have two series running on U.S. cable networks currently and have recently increased our slate. NATPE 2015 opened up dealings with Ola, which have since acquired programming. The music platforms in LATAM have consistently acquired content and we have recently completed a volume deal with Vubiquity, a burgeoning VoD player.”

The increased number of SVoD platforms at the event is something Cineflix’s Ayala also noted. “We seem to be meeting with more and more digital buyers, SVoD every year. We’re looking to diversify more and more on the SVoD platforms and NATPE will continue to be a good place to do that,” she said.

All3Media’s Bailez has also seen an increased presence of companies from Scandinavia as well as Spain, Portugal and Italy, which have obvious synergies with the LATAM region.

And while NATPE’s importance in the calendar year is widely acknowledged, there’s a new kid on the block: MIP Cancun, which although small is gaining reputation.

Mem Bakar, TCB Media Rights Sales Manager for Asia, Iberia & Latin America, will be going to NATPE with factual and lifestyle formats, This is Brazil, Abandoned Engineering and Sex Pod, in her portfolio with her sights set on expanding business in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. She said: “I haven’t been, but have heard that MIP Cancun is productive as meetings are set based on distributors’ catalogues and buyer needs hence you know that you are a ‘good match’ with the broadcaster and there is potential business to be done prior to the meeting.”

By Jane Marlow 

Audio Version (a DV Works service)