Carsey-Werner to play NATPE low-profile

Carsey-Werner is cutting back its presence at next year's NATPE, moving its domestic syndication unit off the convention floor into a suite at Las Vegas' The Venetian hotel.

The company had been expected to make such a move (B&C, April 9). At press time, NATPE officials had no comment. Bob Raleigh, Carsey-Werner's domestic chief, explains that similar to why its future neighbor Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution is packing up for the The Venetian, there was "no need to have an enormous, expensive presence on the floor for customers that aren't there."

Similar to Warner Bros., Carsey-Werner's international division will take out some space the NATPE floor, but the booth will be a diminished 1,000 square ft, down from January's 6,000 square ft. space taken for the entire company. Raleigh understands that NATPE is important for attracting international buyers and advertisers - NATPE chair Jon Mandel has called the event a "pre-upfront" - but pointed out that Twentieth Television and Buena Vista oversee its shows' ad sales. "(NATPE CEO) Bruce Johansen and his group have done an excellent job of making it into a large trade show," admits Raleigh. "But it's just not the major selling event for domestic television that it once was. As long as it maintains that direction, we will maintain a reduced presence."

Beyond just setting up shop at The Venetian, Carsey-Werner will just send half of its sales force to the convention, sending the other half on the road that week to visit station executives not attending NATPE. In the past several years, less individual station executives have been showing up, given the fact that a lot of their programming duties are now the jobs of single station group heads, who often make their decisions before NATPE even starts.

"We're not, not going to participate," added Raleigh. "We're just going to participate in a different way." - Susanne Ault