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Special Report on NATPE: New Orleans meets the World

NATPE has come a long way since it opened 35 years ago with 71 attendees. Last year, close to 17,000 people came to New Orleans from around the world, making NATPE arguably the largest stop on the fast-paced international television market...
January 1, 1998

NATPE has come a long way since it opened 35 years ago with 71 attendees. Last year, close to 17,000 people came to New Orleans from around the world, making NATPE arguably the largest stop on the fast-paced international television market circuit. KidScreen’s special report on NATPE looks at how the once mostly American television market has grown with the expanding television industry to represent a truly global perspective, including, especially in recent years, a greater Latin American presence.

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KidScreen polled a random sampling of international buyers and sellers about how they have seen NATPE change for international attendees and how that affects their approach to the market. Here are some excerpts:

*Ignacio Orive

director of new business,

BRB Internacional, Spain

Featured Product: The New World of the Gnomes

Number of years company has attended NATPE: 7

‘We have witnessed a steady growth in the attendance of participants from Latin America and Europe. Also, with the increase in number of American cable networks, it is a good opportunity to contact them. For us, it is a busy market, but not as busy as MIP or MIPCOM, therefore, we can spend more quality time with each contact.’

*Louis Fournier

vice president of distribution and marketing,

Cinar Films, Canada

Featured product: Animal Crackers, The New Adventures of Paddington Bear

Number of years company has attended NATPE: Over a decade

‘The market has become much more international over the last three to four years. The contingent of international broadcast representatives present is increasing to the point where Monte Carlo is sort of dwindling in importance because people don’t want to attend both. Our reasons for being at NATPE have evolved to encompass the fact that international broadcasters are present, and we use it as a market to set up for MIP and pursue ongoing discussions.’

*Torquil Macneal

vice president of international sales,

Beyond Distribution, Australia

Featured Product: The Gift, Ocean Girl

Number of years company has attended NATPE: 10

‘NATPE has become more important to Beyond because it provides us with the opportunity to cement existing relationships with our U.S. clients, to source co-production partners and to increase our profile and explore opportunities in Latin America. NATPE is the ideal vehicle to do this.’

*Wendy Hallam

manager, Australian Broadcasting Corporation International, Australia

Featured Product: Bananas in Pajamas, Petals

Number of years company has attended NATPE: 1

‘Last year was our first time at NATPE and we found it a very useful trip because we realized that it was possible to get to the decision makers. This year, we’ll put more effort into Latin America. I hadn’t realized that the Latin American buyers would be there in such force.’

*Telery Roberts

sales head, Scottish Television International, Scotland

Featured Product: Blobs, Minty and Upstairs, Downstairs Bears

Number of years company has attended NATPE: 3

‘The British profile has grown much stronger. We all started going as a group about three years ago. We go to NATPE to consolidate and expand upon existing clients, touch base there and try to do more in Latin America by finding niches where our programming will work there.’

*Merry Mullings

director, kids+, France

Featured Product: Fantomette, The Pirate Family

Number of years company has attended NATPE: 10

‘The market has become much more international and seems to be less about hype and more about getting down and doing business. The initial reason for attending was to see clients from Australia, Latin American and Asia, principally. With the development of the international section of the market, it is becoming increasingly imperative to be present for all major territories.’

*Marc du Pontavice

president, Gaumont Multimedia, France

Featured Product: Oggy and the Cockroaches, The Magician

Number of years company has attended NATPE: 7

‘Not only are more international people coming to NATPE, but there is more international business being done there, which means that people from France don’t just go there to see U.S. productions, they also go to see what is coming out of France. . . . I used to go to NATPE because I would have a show in syndication to represent. Now, I go to see what’s new. I don’t really have to be there for business reasons; I am going there because it’s important to find out what’s going on in the U.S.’

*Joe Kennedy

vice president of North American sales and programming, ITEL, United Kingdom

Featured Product: The Little Gray Men, Meet the Frankensteins

Number of years company has attended NATPE: 10

‘Because the American TV market has widened from what it was 10 years ago, NATPE has become a much more vibrant market for independent distributors to find a place there. I don’t think there’s any specific approach to any of these markets. I think it’s dictated by what sort of programming you have. Two years ago, I would have said that we would want to make a place for ourselves in the children’s business because we had just started in that business. Today, it’s a different scenario and we’re trying to continue to have a presence and be a supplier.’

*Andras Erkel

senior director of Varga Studios, Hungary, and Varga TVC, United Kingdom

Featured Product: None

Number of years company has attended NATPE: 5

‘In the past, we looked at NATPE as an American market; now, we approach it as an international market. We are setting up meetings with Europeans as well. However, the difference is NATPE is more of a buyers and sellers market, and less for pre-buys or co-production deals. We are going this year for market research. After the big mergers in America, we want to see what has changed, and where the American market is going in the next few years.’

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