Thoughts from NATPE 2017

NATPE (the National Association of Television Programming Executives), 2017 was held this year in Miami Beach on January 17-19.  Susan Whalen, Vice-President of New Business Development at BroadView Software, provides this summary of the show.

Hot Topics for 2017

The hot topics for the conference were not surprising to me, as we know the industry is moving solidly towards content on-demand.  Many panel sessions were dedicated to:

• The proliferation of OTT
• The distribution of content across multiple platforms
• The increasing demands for content
• The future of content including much more Reality (Non-Fiction is the preferred title) programming

The move away from traditional buying, selling and viewing

Nancy Dubroc, the CEO of A&E gave one of the first keynote speeches.  As a major content buyer, she pointed out that scripted programming from the studios is expensive, and that buyers are quickly also becoming sellers.

Non-Traditional content providers were in big attendance.  It was interesting to hear Susan Daniels, Global Head of Original Content; YouTube discuss how they choose what projects they back.  Since Google owns them, they can look at the most-googled celebrities and determine who they will focus on for new original series.

On monetizing content, it has been proven that younger audiences will find, what to them is a new, watch it online, and ultimately go back and rent or buy all previous seasons.  This provides networks an enhanced revenue stream.

An increasing trend towards digital platforms

During the show, the announcement was made that NBCU will move Esquire to a digital platform.  Everyone seemed to agree that this may be a trend for small to mid-range networks.  Carriage is increasingly difficult to obtain on cable and satellite providers, so we should expect to see more of this type of movement, particularly from start-ups.

Exhibits, attendees and sessions, oh my!

As for the NATPE show itself, the exhibition hall is small.  To attract more attendees, they have opened China and Brazil pavilions, expecting more international attendees in the coming years.  On the exhibit floor are mainly small producers.  Major exhibitors are primarily housed in suites divided amongst 3 hotels.  These are the major content buyers and sellers rarely seen in individual sessions.  Sessions run in 4 tracks, so it can be difficult to attend all that might be of interest.

The best thing about NATPE is being able to meet with and speak to a number of connections and clients in the same place and time.  Keeping up with colleagues, and learning and discussing the changes and challenges in our quickly-evolving industry makes it a productive and worthwhile week.

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