The association’s new president, Rod Perth, says registration is pacing ahead of the last show with all the major distributors on board and a number of speakers signed up. However, he would not give any specifics, saying those details will be forthcoming in October or November.
In his first teleconference with reporters, the new president of NATPE was long on enthusiasm, but short on details about the organization’s annual conference slated for Jan. 28-30 at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami.
Rod Perth, who succeeded Rick Feldman in the top job four months ago, said that three-day affair will be what it has always been — a market for the buying and selling of programming as well as a conference for addressing issues confronting the programming community.
“I really feel terrific about all the ingredients and all the moving pieces being in place because this will be a fantastic market…,” he said.
NATPE is focused on making the conference work for attendees, he said. “It’s all about the return on investment of their time and their money. We are becoming as service oriented as we possibly can be.”
Hotel registration for 2013 is pacing ahead of last year, he said, without forecasting attendance. Some 5,000 were on hand last year, the second straight at the Fontainebleau after years in Las Vegas.
The theme of the 2013 gathering will be “Beyond Disruption,” he said, adding that NATPE sees disruption not a negative, but as opportunity for innovating with new technology.
In other words, he said, the conference will be “about technology and the impact of technology” on programming, which remains at the center of all that NATPE is and does.
He said that NATPE had already lined up “story tellers,” “content creators” and “visionaries” to address the theme, some in almost “TED-like in style,” but he wasn’t prepared to identify any of them.
He said that all the “major domestic” program distributors have committed to attending the show, but he declined to comment on TVNewsCheck’s report that Sony Pictures Television would be returning after a five-year absence.
Perth said that he has been talking with other TV trade groups in hopes of working with them, but he declined to say which ones. “You can fill in the blanks, and probably guess who I’ve been reaching out to.”
Perth rejected one reporter’s suggestions that the outreach was aimed a merging with another organization or conference.
He would not say how many more years the organization is committed to the Fontainebleau, but said that it is in discussions with the hotel about extending their deal. “Miami has been an absolute off-the-chart hit with people.”
Perth said that he would preclude nothing in terms of future venues, although he noted that Los Angeles is a long trip for “Europeans, Latin Americans and others.”
NATPE will mark its 50th anniversary at this year’s conference by celebrating some of the shows that NATPE had a hand in making successful. Again, he declined to elaborate.
Perth did identify three of 2013’s recipients of the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards: Steve Levitan, creator of Modern Family; John Langley, “the godfather of reality television;” and Deborah Lee, CEO of Black Entertainment Television.
A fourth winner will be announced soon, he added.
Perth promised to meet again with reporters in late October or early November with more details about the conference.