Event Preview: NATPE Budapest International


From June 24 to 27, the InterContinental in Budapest will once again open its doors to content buyers, producers and distributors looking to network, discuss co-production opportunities, negotiate program acquisitions, gain business insights and make connections. Indeed, NATPE Budapest International has proven to be much more than a marketplace, with its screenings and conference agenda also strong draws.

“NATPE Budapest International has evolved over the years to stay ahead of the needs of international distributors and buyers,” says JP Bommel, the president and CEO of NATPE. “We’ve grown the show tremendously since returning to Budapest.”

***Image***The event has kept pace with the changes in the marketplace, as the rise of OTT and evolution of distribution from linear to digital has shaken things up. Bommel says that what this has brought about is a greater emphasis on international co-production, and NATPE Budapest International is positioned to facilitate this. “The networking events have led to international co-production discussions and the formation of new business relationships,” he adds.

Last year, the event rebranded from simply NATPE Budapest to NATPE Budapest International, reflecting the diversity of those attending. “It’s the international forum,” Bommel says. “That has helped us see a significant buyer influx from major and emerging markets. At the time of publication, acquisition executives from more than 60 countries have been accredited to date, including new representatives from Hungary, Russia, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus and Poland, as well as buyers from previously underrepresented territories such as Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, China, India and Ghana.”

He notes that last year saw a particularly strong showing from the MENA region, and there will be an emphasis on this part of the world again at the 2019 event. The Tuesday afternoon session will be a MENA regional overview, as an expert panel of TV-industry leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa share some of the new opportunities that can be found for doing business.

“The emphasis is not only on CEE,” says Bommel. “That’s an important market, and there are internationally driven productions coming out of Hungary and out of Poland. We still have that focus, but EMEA is increasingly part of the market.”

On Monday, June 24, NATPE Budapest International will play host to the Acquisition Summit, an afternoon of education and information meant to provide both buyers and producers with business insights. In the “Buyer’s Briefing for Producers” session, three acquisitions experts from three different content areas will provide an overview of the types of programming having the greatest impact in their region and for their business model. There’s also a “Data for Buyers” presentation, in partnership with TRX, that will explore global media trends. Monday wraps with a keynote from Françoise Guyonnet, the executive managing director of TV series at STUDIOCANAL, who I will have the pleasure of interviewing on stage. That evening, there will be a Buyers Cocktail and Networking event on the Corso Terrace, sponsored by TRX.

I will also be moderating a lively discussion on the current state of the format business with a panel of experts during the “A World of Formats” session. The panelists will take a deep dive into the factors driving the development and acquisition of successful local formats and the keys to producing entertainment programs regionally that can have global potential.

Wednesday, June 26, kicks off with Parrot Analytics’ insights with a fresh look at data that relates to content in “All the World’s a Stream,” featuring thought-leaders from streaming platforms discussing the current paradigm. The lunch session will shine a spotlight on Latin American content and audiences. Pitch & Play LIVE! returns that afternoon, with the fourth annual format competition showcasing original unscripted ideas with international potential.

“We really want our events, from a programming point of view, to be aligned with the evolution of content,” says Bommel. “We believe that business insights net more results for our constituents versus the more traditional sessions.”

Once again, before the official kickoff, there will be screenings of new programs from U.S. studios for those who weren’t able to make it out to the L.A. Screenings in May. And, of course, plenty of networking opportunities, with cocktails and events throughout the week.

“The business is boyant,” says Bommel. “International co-production is the name of the game. There’s a tremendous amount of content being created, and the good news is that the audiences are trying to get connected directly; they demand quality and they demand value. It’s a great time to be in that business!”