NATPE at a Crossroads of Big Changes.


During a quick trip to Miami to gather info for a preview of NATPE from the market base, VideoAge heard several assessments of three interlinked trade shows, as well as views concerning future TV industry developments.

The first assessment related to the reduction of LATAM business at MIPCOM due to the successful MIP Cancun. The second was about NATPE, which is also benefitting from MIP Cancun since deals initiated there are bound to be finalized in Miami.

Cancun, the thinking goes, is not taking anything away from NATPE since many of the smaller buyers that attend the Mexican market (such as government stations and small TV outlets) are not going to Miami due to budgetary reasons.

However, even if NATPE organizers were to provide incentives to those smaller LATAM buyers, exhibitors would not be all that grateful since those buyers tend to seek revenue-sharing packages without minimums or very low license fee deals.

It was also pointed out that while Jornadas, a cable TV trade show in Buenos Aires that takes place in September, has been suffering in terms of participation, Ventana Sur, a December market in Buenos Aires that traditionally focuses on theatrical movies, has shown growth in its TV activity.

From the point of view of executives at major U.S. studios, big content packages are typically signed at buyers' offices--not on the market floor--since acquisition executives at NATPE are often distracted or sidetracked by a host of sellers who are after their business.

However, the main argument heard in Miami was that the presence of major U.S. studios at various TV trade shows will be more and more doubtful. Since their content output will be going exclusively to their streaming services, and with no back-end to monetize, the need to attend markets vanishes.

It is possible, however, that some of the studios' regional offices will continue to produce local content, and, after a couple of years on their streaming services, will seek other windows to monetize that content.

In addition, consolidation will surely drastically change the industry, if one considers the almost certain merger between Viacom and CBS. It is hoped that the group will not make the same mistake that Paramount made when it acquired and subsequently folded Worldvision into its domestic division in 1999 (to save small operation costs, it sacrificed larger revenues), and will keep the three brands as separate entities: Viacom, Paramount, and CBS.

Naturally, this scenario...

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