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NATPE 2001: A TV odyssey

Fans of Elvis may think he's still the king in Las Vegas, but from Jan. 22-25 content will rule when NATPE 2001 rolls into town, offering programming executives an opportunity to check out the latest in television programming and more than ever, new media content and technologies.

This year's show already appears to be well on its way to being larger than last year's, with pre-registration up some 23% to date (last year 17,520 people walked the hall of the New Orleans Convention Center). And on the exhibitor front, 855 separate companies will be manning a booth, almost 10% ahead of last year's exhibitor total of 780.

"While we love New Orleans and it's a great venue and the food is fantastic, Las Vegas is so convenient for most everybody involved in this show," says Bruce Johansen, NATPE's President and CEO. "The convention is so easy to get there and the bulk of the people who go to NATPE are based in Los Angeles. And we'll be able to attract more people from Silicon Valley, an area we are aggressively going after."

And with syndication and the TV station industry continually consolidating, the biggest question looming over NATPE's 38th
annual conference is, what and where is NATPE's future? Johansen says not to fret. NATPE is in good shape, as is the TV business.

"Some people wring their hands and say this is the end of syndication as we know it," says Johansen. "But I think digital television and all of these other technologies just triples the industry's growth opportunities. People who have good, creative ideas are going to make a fortune in the next couple of years."

The show also promises to offer executives a chance to become educated on issues impacting everything from broadcast to broadband in sessions running concurrently with the exhibits. Among the highlights are "coffees" with creator/executive producer Darren Star (Sex in the City) and Merv Griffin (Jan. 23, 24 respectively), the presentation of the Chairman's Award to Jerry Seinfeld on the morning of Jan. 23, and HD workshops every day.