AT MIPCOM, NATPE CEO Rod Perth sat down with a VideoAge journalist, not to complain about some of the magazine reports, but to explain the strategy behind NATPE Europe, which in 2014 will move to Prague from Budapest.

NATPE Budapest was a rebrand of DISCOP when NATPE took over the market originally intended for emerging Central and Eastern European territories. With those territories maturing, NATPE found itself at a crossroad: It could either move it to the Balkans, and thus continue serving emerging territories, or bring it to a more mature country, such as the Czech Republic and make it into a global market.

Having opted for the latter solution, the Balkans and their emerging countries (some 10 territories in Southeast Europe) are now left to a new market called New European Market (NEM), to be held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, June 10-13, ending nine days before the start of NATPE Europe.

According to Perth, “NATPE Europe has developed into a market moving toward mainstream and it was renamed out of respect for countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic. It will be broader and more inclusive, but still focused on the Eastern component of the broad description.”

Perth said that the choice of Prague was dictated by industry members’ feedback. “Over the last two years the consistent theme was that after 20 years in Budapest, it was time to refresh it,” he said.

Indeed, the need to move out of Budapest began under the previous NATPE administration, soon after taking over the market. At that time Warsaw, Poland, was considered an option to solve space and increasing cost issues with NATPE Budapest’s Sofitel Hotel, but was later discarded because the comparatively strong Polish domestic TV market didn’t justify the significant higher set-up costs.

Perth added, “The advantage is that studio screenings will be all under one roof at the [market headquarters] Hilton Prague Hotel. All studios will be there: CBS, Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony, WB and Lionsgate.” Asked about past complaints that the studios’ presence chiseled away buyers’ time with small distributors, Perth retorted that studios will bring more buyers, which will benefit smaller distributors in terms of quantity and quality of buyers, especially those who couldn’t afford to travel to Los Angeles for the previous month’s L.A. Screenings.

Plus, he said, “there will be greater flexibility with suites, since there is no basement, and much better space for both small and large exhibitors offering suites, meeting tables and stalls.”

Explaining added benefits of NATPE Europe, Perth mentioned “new values by including a conference component, an advertising component and investing in NATPE Navigator to connect participants digitally.”

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