High Hopes for NATPE 2006

Organizers for the 2006 National Association of Television Program Executives Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas say a “perfect storm” of factors in the television industry will lead to the event seeing growth for the fourth straight year.

At a Tuesday press event, Sony Pictures Television President, Distribution, and NATPE Co-Chair John Weiser pointed to the fact that every major distributor is bringing out new product, the major changes in management at the station groups, and new distribution platforms as reasons the event will stand out this year.

Organizers said the event, set for Jan. 24-26 at the Mandalay Bay Resort, will have the largest number of sessions and presentations in its history, and will have representatives from more than 70 countries.

“The cross-pollination of programming between the U.S. and Europe has never been healthier,” says InfoSpace President of Mobile Media and NATPE Co-Chair Stephen Davis.

NATPE organizers say that online companies such as Yahoo! and Google who are pushing into the television business will be present, but not on the exhibition floor.  “They are right now in the acquisition phase and not the exhibition and distribution phase,” says NATPE President and CEO Rick Feldman.  “We believe that over time that is going to change.”

The keynote address will be delivered by BBC Chairman Michael Grade on Jan. 25. Other highlights include a breakfast presentation with Touchstone Television President Mark Pedowitz, as well as a Jan. 23 cocktail reception recognizing the winners of the Third Annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards, presented in association with B&C, Multichannel News and Variety and sponsored by NBC Universal.

The Second Annual Mobile++ daylong session will take place on Jan. 23.  The event focuses on the impact of wireless mobile and digital distribution technologies.