By Leah Hochbaum Rosner

With the NATPE market — which will be held at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort in late January 2009 — less than two months away, international TV companies are readying their slates for three days of meeting, greeting, and doing business. Being the first market of the year, NATPE carries with it the hopefulness that only new budgets can bring — budgets that program buyers the world over saw drying up around MIPCOM.

Ron Alexander, director of International Sales at the Chantilly, Virginia-based Teleproductions International, Ltd. (TPI) spoke with VideoAge about his company’s plans for the Latin-infused event, why floor space will always be more valuable to him than a suite, and why he believes that NATPE is as relevant as ever.

VideoAge International: What product will TPI be bringing to NATPE?

Ron Alexander: We are coming to NATPE with a new special titled Run or Die: The Fernando Araujo Story. Available in both English and Spanish, this new docu-drama is an account of the drama, action and emotion surrounding the courageous escape of a prized hostage of the FARC guerillas in Colombia. The people of Colombia were electrified by Araujo’s daring escape as he was the first high-profile hostage to ever escape from the guerillas. The film was shot entirely on location in the cities and jungles of Colombia.

VAI: Will you have a suite or a space on the floor? Why?

RA: We will exhibit on the floor, as always, at booth 1109. The mix of hotel exhibitors and convention floor exhibitors is a bit odd and not convenient for buyers in general. We’ve always been advocates of a presence on the floor. In addition to our regular buyers, we like the opportunity to meet drop-bys.

VAI: Do you have any concerns about the upcoming market?

RA: There will certainly be economic concerns at NATPE ’09 on the domestic side of the business. However, TPI focuses on the international market and we believe the international business — especially for acquisitions — will stay strong.

VAI: What territories will TPI be focusing on while at NATPE?

RA: As TPI focuses on the international market, we expect many Latin, Asian and some European customers to be in attendance.

VAI: Is NATPE still relevant?

RA: Yes, it is. With MIP-TV just a couple of months after NATPE, we find that NATPE is a good place to start discussions on new releases and projects that we plan to launch at MIP-TV. In the meantime, as long as NATPE organizers continue to attract an adequate number of international buyers, we will continue to make it a regular part of our annual exhibition schedule.

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