Johansen: The show must go on

The National Association of Television Programming Executives has made some significant changes in the format and location of its
annual national trade show, the most important of which may be the fact that the
show will continue, the trade association announced Thursday after holding a
board of directors' meeting.

Although last year's show saw major syndicators defect from the floor, this
year, all major companies plan to take part in what NATPE is calling the
"Hollywood Plaza" and the "Buyer's Lounge," NATPE president and CEO Bruce
Johansen said Thursday.

The new concept will provide syndicators with kiosks where they can meet buyers
and other executives, and the kiosks will be significantly less expensive than
the large booths that used to be on the NATPE floor.

Johansen said companies will still have hotel suites for private meetings,
but they can also use the Buyer's Lounge to do deals.

TV stations seem to be coming back to the NATPE confab, and Fox plans to host an
affiliate event in New Orleans that will coincide with NATPE. "We're looking at
a transitional conference," Johansen said.

The 2003 show will take place in New Orleans for the last time, Jan.
20 through 23, and then the show will move permanently to Las Vegas.

"With regard to cost considerations and convenience, we really do prefer Las
Vegas," Johansen said. "Getting to New Orleans is very difficult for people
coming internationally."

The new show, which starts in 2004, will take place in
one of Las Vegas' hotels and will still include a show floor, but the floor
won't house the extravagant booths of the past.

"Over the years, NATPE grew bigger because each of the studios wanted to
outdo each other. But once the customer base started shrinking and the economy
went into a tailspin, the money was not there to justify the expense anymore.
Everybody in the business pulled in their reins," Johansen said. "It's still a
healthy business, but it is no longer necessary to do business with hundreds or
thousands of stations. You can talk to four or five people and clear a show."

Johansen also confirmed that the Syndicated Network Television Association
plans to hold a spring show in New York for advertisers and buyers, but he
doesn't expect that show to affect NATPE's annual event. "There will still
always be a need for the advertising community to meet with the creative
community," Johansen said.

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.