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NATPE pushing agency presence

NATPE is ramping up its efforts to encourage interaction between the ad buyers and syndication community at January's 2002 conference.

In rolling out a "Chairman's Roundtable," a panel discussion featuring the heads of major ad agencies, among other activities, NATPE wants to prove that its conventions are valuable for media companies to attend. Citing slower economic times, past NATPE regulars like Warner Bros. and Carsey Werner's domestic syndication divisions, have announced they are scaling back their presence next year. But NATPE officials, including its chair Jon Mandel, have countered that the conventions are critical for syndicators' success because they are a `pre-upfront' for advertisers to preview product.

"I never bought into a show in syndication that I didn't see first at NATPE," says Mandel, also co-managing director/chief negotiating officer at MediaCom. He also disagrees that NATPE 2002 could be a quiet market, since a lot of the big shows (i.e. Dr. Phil and the strip version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?) have already cleared many stations. "At the end of the day, I don't care how many time periods you've sold. If you don't sell to me and my ilk, what does it matter?" he points out.

NATPE is also creating lounge areas on the conference floor, sponsored by various ad agencies, allowing for TV sellers to interact with ad executives. There also will be an invite-only reception Jan 21 for advertisers, station executives, syndicators and others in the media community. New workshops include a showcase of the best in client pitches and ones on family-friendly programming and global branding. - Susanne Ault