In 1988, the inventive U.S. baseball player and manager Yogi Berra said: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
In January, the international TV industry will face a fork in the road. Coming via Highway 395 from the Miami Airport (or from anywhere connected by Interstate 95), one could turn right (to go north) to head towards the Hilton Miami Downtown for Content Americas, or turn left and go to the InterContinental for NATPE Global.
As it stands, at least in 2024, the industry seems like it will collectively follow Berra’s suggestion and take the fork by attending both.
Meanwhile, the LatAm TV sector is facing MIP Cancun (see separate story) in November and waiting with apprehension for Miami’s own “fork in the road.” MIP Cancun will take place 145 days before NATPE Global (January 16-18, 2024), and 152 days before Content Americas (January 23-25, 2024).
NATPE Global is organized by Canada’s Brunico, and Content Americas comes courtesy of the U.K.’s C21. Both are trade publishers. Brunico is basking in the recent success of NATPE Budapest, while Content is still receiving goodwill dividends from its January 2023 market in Miami.
Both organizations have plenty of munitions to be deployed in order to prevail, but are unwilling to use them. For example, NATPE could leverage two of the related markets that its organization has –– Kidscreen and RealScreen –– and relocate them to make its Miami event bigger. Similarly, Content could use some of the firepower of its various conferences, both in the U.S. and Europe, to bring Europeans to Miami. However, their current game plans are to have their Miami markets grow organically without taking resources from their other events.
Now, Miami-based companies will have an easy time giving each of these competing markets a chance by exhibiting and/or participating at both events — one held at the Miami Intercontinental (NATPE), the other returning to the Hilton. Issues, however, arise with out-of-state attendees, all of whom will be faced with shelling out an extra $3,000 (at the very least) to stay on during the five-day gap between markets (if traveling back and forth isn’t a better option), in addition to at least $2,000 (for food and lodgings) to participate at an extra market. This is on top of costs for exhibition spaces at both events.
Many out-of-town TV executives will be forced to choose one or the other, which is exactly what happened in Budapest. There, the clear winner was NATPE. Content will be moving to Warsaw next year.
But Miami could be tricky since Content is betting on the success of its past event, and NATPE is relying on the power of its brand. After all, before declaring bankruptcy and selling out to Brunico, NATPE had staged its markets for 60 years.
At the moment, both organizations are sending a barrage of press releases that effectively declare why its participants are better than the other market’s.
Plus, both organizations are displaying their firepower. Content has hired Isabella Marquez (the organizer of the L.A. Screenings’ indies) from Miami as a consultant, and former LatAm journalist Fabricio Ferrara from Argentina as a point person.
Similarly, NATPE has tapped veteran Miami-based distributor Cesar Diaz as a consultant, and Jose Sanchez, a former MIPTV and MIPCOM executive, as its point person.
It is now hoped that some defining pattern will emerge at MIP Cancun, to be held November 14-17, 2023. LatAm TV/film execs will convene there before heading to Miami some 60 days later. But Ana Cecilia Alvarado, CEO of Ecuador’s Ecuavisa Studios will not be at MIP Cancun this year. She will, however, participate at both NATPE and Content Americas in January, where she will be an official jury member of the Rose D’Or.
Reported a group buyer from Miami who wants to remain anonymous: “At first, I had plans to attend Content Americas, but now I might attend NATPE too, at least one or two days.”
VideoAge also had this report from Cida Goncaves of the Los Angeles-based 8 Star Entertainment, who spoke about Brazilian content buyers: “I only know a couple attending MIP Cancun and one attending both markets in Miami. One is acquiring content for a new platform in Brazil — Portuguese-language only. The other one will be acquiring TV and streaming rights, including theatrical release. They both have budgets, but won’t disclose.”
For Vivian Reinoso of Miami-based J2911 Media the burden is on NATPE: “I was pleased with Content Americas 2023, so [for me] to consider attending NATPE instead of Content, NATPE should be showing more of what they would be offering in January 2024 to determine if it’s worth switching.”
Finally, in early October, Liliam Hernandez, CEO of the Miami-based Universal Cinergia Dubbing, announced a Turkish Drama Gala scheduled for January 22, 2024 at The Temple House in Miami Beach, to celebrate the success of Turkish content on TV across Latin America and around the world. The event is part of the official calendar of Content Americas 2024 even though it will be held prior to the opening day, and close enough to the end of NATPE Global to benefit from the market.
The gala will commemorate the 10th anniversary of 1001 Nights, the inaugural Turkish telenovela broadcast in Latin America. This will be in addition to recognizing Turkish content companies. The occasion will also celebrate the achievements of two forward-thinking executives, Patricio Hernandez (no relation to Liliam) of Chile’s Mega Media, who first bought the series from Global Agency’s Izzet Pinto, and who subsequently sold it to Juan Ignacio Vicente of Chilevision. Both will be recognized as pioneers for introducing 1001 Nights as the first Turkish telenovela to Latin America. Their efforts paved the path for the subsequent introduction of numerous Turkish telenovelas in the region.
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