Pictured above at NATPE Miami 2020, panelists Fernando Barbosa of Disney Television
Latin America (l.), and Telemundo Studios’ Marcos Santana (r.) with Moderator Roko Izarra of Produ.

The official announcement that NATPE Miami 2022 was going to be an in-person trade show came on October 27. It would be the first in-person NATPE market since the Miami event of January 2020, the last of the major in-person markets before the pandemic.

The announcement was somewhat ambiguous since it did not mention any venue, leaving room to speculate that the market would not be held in the traditional Fontainebleau Hotel. However, eight days later the organization produced an advertising page indicating that the Miami Beach oceanfront resort hotel would indeed continue to house the event.

This is at least true for 2022, since NATPE is expected to be moving to the Bahamas the following year — to the new Grand Hyatt in Nassau  — with the apparent blessing of all major U.S. studios. In the view of the Miami, Florida-based Dianne Bissoon, who for her company, the Coral Gables, Florida-based Cable and Wireless launched the TV service, Lime TV, in 16 Caribbean islands in 2019, “the Grand Hyatt [in the zone called] BahaMar is a perfect place for conventions. I always stay there when I’m in Bahamas.” However, JP Bommel, NATPE president and CEO, sent a note stating that, “for 2023, no official plans have been made at this time.”

That international content distributors were interested in an in-person NATPE Miami began to become clear in early October, when many indicated to VideoAge that they were putting aside a marketing budget for it. However, without an official statement, many couldn’t commit to definite participation.

Another concern was that the association actually made money with its 2021 NATPE Miami virtual event, and could therefore have been tempted to repeat the strategy in 2022. Plus, extra cash went back into its coffers when the Fontainebleau refunded some of NATPE’s 2020 fees for the hotel’s hacker problems during its check-in process.

Against this backdrop, some good industry news began to emerge, like the fact that the bounce-back from pandemic-ridden 2020 for the U.S. TV broadcast industry is expected to continue in 2022, with total broadcast advertising revenue surpassing that of pre-COVID 2019, according to a just-released forecast from Kagan, the media research unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence. TV broadcast revenue is forecasted to reach $24.25 billion. At the same time, at the onset of 2021, many marketers were optimistic about the prospects of once again attending in-person events. This was according to a SmartBrief report –– released by the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Broadcasters. SmartBrief surveyed a group of U.S.-based B2B marketers for the report, and revealed that 55 percent of survey respondents said in-person events will be a large part of their strategy, while 45 percent said they will not be.

Then came the November 19 press release in which big emphasis was given to the fact that the U.S. studios were to be in attendance in Miami, including Disney, NBC Universal, ViacomCBS, WarnerMedia, MGM, and Sony Pictures. Plus, A+E, Banijay Americas, Debmar-Mercury, Lionsgate, and Univision would also be there, which further dispelled any doubt that an actual in-person NATPE Miami would be held January 18-20 at the Fontainebleau Hotel.

In addition, NATPE announced a line-up of top-level executives for its conference program, with names such as Dan Cohen, president of ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group; Laura Molen, president of Ad Sales and Partnerships, NBCUniversal; Byron Allen, chairman and CEO, Allen Media Group; and Cris Abrego, who’s both chairman of Banijay Americas and CEO of Endemol Shine Holdings.

ViacomCBS’ Cohen will be moderating a panel on Tuesday, the market’s opening day, in a tent that is to be set up outside, near the pool area. The tent is a new addition for NATPE, with space for conferences, as well as indoor meeting rooms.

ViacomCBS will be taking the entire 15th floor at the Versailles Tower, where a good number of the group’s divisions will be housed. In addition, they’re planning a major party for Wednesday, January 19, the market’s second day, while Lionsgate will have a cocktail at their Versailles Tower Penthouse the day before, on Tuesday the 18th.

NATPE’s latest press release prompted veteran LATAM distributor Cesar Diaz of Miami-based 7A Media to comment, “We’ll have a large attendance from our LATAM clients. I’m very much looking forward to an in-person NATPE. We’re all craving to get back to some sense of normality.”

Similarly, according to Doris Vogelmann, vice president of Programming of the Doral, Florida-based VME-TV, “A lot of people have waited for NATPE to be the next big in-person event.  I feel that markets like MIPCOM and MIP Cancun have started to show that a market in-person can be successful if you take the necessary precautions.” She then continued: “Having online meetings definitively help keeping in touch with vendors, but I still believe that the in-person component helps develop the business further. Even though online markets can be successful, in-person meetings will always provide more options that will reflect on a better outcome. Our Industry is about relations, and in-person networking enriches that.  At the end of the day, it is also a desire to go back to some kind of normality.”

Added NATPE’s Bommel, “We can feel the excitement from everyone we talk to as we get ready for NATPE Miami. We are very happy with the number of buyers and exhibitors that are signing up at a great clip. We expect that VIP buyers and new buyers will sign up in the next few weeks.”

He continued: “We are also excited about the many activities we are currently planning to be outdoors, in the cabanas, and at a specially built NATPE Networking Tent by the pool for daily breakfast, lunch, and happy hour.” He concluded: “NATPE is going to be all about harnessing new opportunities, new markets opened by streaming, and co-production deals as content evolves globally. We look forward to seeing everyone down in Miami for the first big party of the year for our industry.”

Audio Version (a DV Works service)

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