By Leah Hochbaum Rosner

As the annual NATPE market — which will take place January 26-29 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada — swiftly approaches, TV executives around the globe are getting ready to present their programming to a slew of interested buyers. Argentinean-born Patricio Teubal of Italy’s Mediaset is one such TV exec. Following a few years’ absence from NATPE, Mediaset will be back at the conference exhibiting under its own brand. He spoke with VideoAge about why his company opted for a suite instead of a space on the convention floor, why this year’s NATPE will be better than last year’s and how the recent launch of Mediaset’s scripted formats distribution unit will bring new business to the Rome-based distribution company.

VAI: What product will Mediaset be bringing to NATPE?

PT: Mediaset only recently launched its scripted formats distribution unit. At NATPE, together with its distributor for scripted formats, Resonant TV, Mediaset will present stories with universal flavor, such as science investigation series RIS: Crime Evidence, comedy Family Storm and sitcom Young Enough. In a period of recession, TV channels have lower advertising budgets and therefore less money for production. For this reason, we’re focusing on formats that request lower budgets — although we have alternatives for all budgets. In addition to scripted formats, Mediaset, through its distributor for Latin America, Comarex, will be showcasing new ready-made content like drama series High School Days and theatrical movie Carnera: The Walking Mountain.

VAI: Will you be exhibiting on the convention floor or will you have a suite? Why?

PT: This year, we’ve chosen to exhibit in a suite rather than on the floor given that most telenovela distributors are traditionally located at THEhotel and, since most of our potential clients are the same, it’ll be easier for them to reach us.

VAI: How will NATPE ’09 be different from last year’s market?

PT: NATPE ’09 will probably be richer in terms of new products for two reasons: the end of the U.S. strike and the proliferation of digital, mobile and pay-TV channels, which have created more demand. However, this doesn’t mean that the amount of deals promoted by this market will increase.

VAI: How are your appointments coming around thus far?

PT: We have already scheduled more appointments this year than we did last year. We attribute this to the fact that we have added the distribution of scripted format programs and our clients will not only be channels, but also production companies.

VAI: What territories will you be focusing on? Why?

PT: In years past, we’ve had a positive response from most of the Latin American territories regarding our ready-made content. This year we intend to follow the same path with our scripted format sales. Italy, being a Latin country, has a lot in common with Latin America. Don’t forget that there are 50 million people of Italian origin across Brazil, Argentina, the U.S., Canada, Uruguay, Venezuela, Peru and Chile.

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