By Leah Hochbaum Rosner

With the new year comes the promise of new programming budgets, and of course, the first market of 2009, NATPE, which will be held January 26-29 in Las Vegas, Nevada. As usual, many of the event’s attendees will be focused on Latin America and all that that region has to offer. Guadalupe D’Agostino, vice president and general manager of Venezuela’s RCTV International, will indeed be paying attention to Latin America while in Sin City, but said she’s also looking at opportunities in both Asia and Eastern Europe. VideoAge spoke with the Miami, Florida-based D’Agostino, about her plans for the market, why RCTV has chosen to move into a suite rather than take a space on the convention floor, and why she thinks that despite the “volatile times” in which we are living, that things will soon start looking better.

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

Guadalupe D’Agostino: We will be bringing our brand new sensational telenovela Nadie Me Dira Como Quererte (The Way About Her) for Latin America and the world. We’ll also be bringing a new entertainment formats catalogue featuring reality, cooking and variety shows, in addition to our renowned fiction format catalogue.

VAI: Will you be in a suite or will you take a booth on the exhibition floor?

GD: We have shifted from our former stand on the floor to the hotel suite because, given the fast paced rhythm of the festival, it’s the most comfortable atmosphere to conduct business in at NATPE.

VAI: What are the main differences between this year’s NATPE and last year’s?

GD: At the present moment, we are living in volatile times. Last year, we experienced the writers’ strike. And this year, it’s all about a soft economy and a new administration in Washington. However, no matter how close (or far away) we are to an economic resurgence, there is always an eager audience waiting for content delivery via conventional or innovative technology. We are optimistic that the market will be great this year. With the worldwide transition to a digital signal around the corner, and the need for more content and a healthy and productive industry, NATPE ’09 looks very bright.

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

GD: We will be focusing on Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia. Latin America is a solid market with an established infrastructure and we are a key player in the region. Eastern Europe continues with its healthy appetite for telenovela content, and Asia keeps growing and developing foreign content of all genres. Our sensibilities are pretty similar and our track record proves that our finished or formatted content has great possibilities throughout the Asian region.

VAI: Is NATPE still relevant?

GD: NATPE is extremely relevant and very important to us. It is the only market where we get the opportunity to meet with all of our North and South American clients. America as a whole is a lucrative and reliable territory due to its geographical proximity and our ready-to-air Spanish content. We have established long-term business relationships in the region, and attending NATPE has been instrumental in positioning the RCTV International brand in its expansion to other territories such as Europe and Asia.

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