Event Preview: NATPE Miami

The next edition of NATPE Miami is just around the corner, taking place at the Fontainebleau from January 22 to 24.

After having previously taken over space at the Eden Roc, this year NATPE is returning the conference programming entirely back to the Fontainebleau, creating less distance between the conference floor, the suites and the on-stage sessions.

Under the theme “Shaping Content Together,” this year’s event is set to welcome a strong representation of international attendees. Country pavilions joining NATPE Miami include Japan, China, Turkey, Argentina, France, Spain and the U.K. In addition to the U.S., Canada and Latin America, buyers are expected from Northern Africa, Afghanistan, Russia, Ukraine and many other countries, according to JP Bommel, the president and CEO of NATPE. And many are from OTT and SVOD services.

“We always talk about the rise of OTT worldwide and what’s happening in technology and streaming,” Bommel told reporters on a pre-event press call. “And at the end of the day, what it means for all of us is that we need to feed the beast. And it’s all about content. That’s what NATPE, especially in the last couple of years, has been about: connecting all the content creators, distributors and so forth. That’s why you see such importance and a surge in our registration [numbers] this year.”

For the first time, NATPE will present “Living the Dream: A Career in Content” on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the day before the NATPE marketplace and conference opens. The event is for industry executives, students and young professionals interested in entering the entertainment business. It brings together two organizations at the forefront of diversity: the NAACP and the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts. The multihyphenate Tyler Perry will deliver the keynote address, and other confirmed speakers include Empire actor Jussie Smollett and Entertainment Tonight host Nischelle Turner.

On Tuesday, January 22—NATPE Miami’s official opening day—the conference roster features a panel on worldwide co-productions, including, among others, Eccho Rights’ Fredrik af Malmborg and Propagate’s Cyrus Farrokh, and one on innovating international co-pros, which counts among its speakers Banijay Rights’ Tim Mutimer, Zee’s Sunita Uchil and STUDIOCANAL TV’s Rola Bauer. There are also sessions on short form for television, new buyers for unscripted content, Hollywood dealmakers with Lionsgate’s Sandra Stern and diverse creators and global platforms with Facebook’s emerging video producers. Turner’s Gerhard Zeiler will be in conversation with 20th Century Fox Television Distribution’s Mark Kaner in a session entitled “International TV Has Grown Up.” The “What the World is Buying” panel comprises executives from Banijay Group, CBS Global Distribution, NATPE, Netflix, Wheelhouse Entertainment and Amazon Studios. Meanwhile, execs from Bell Media, Warner Bros. Digital Networks and Fremantle will take part in “The Keys to the Writers’ Room: A Scripted Content Master Class.” The day wraps with the 2019 NATPE Unscripted Breakthrough Awards, as well as a poolside party.

On Wednesday, January 23, NBC Entertainment Chairmen George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy take to the stage. The “All the World’s a Stream” panel boasts executives from BritBox, adRise/Tubi TV, Roku and others. The “Linear Leadership Discussion” will feature executives from channels such as WE tv on the panel. WWE’s Stephanie McMahon will be discussing innovative storytelling in her keynote, and Discovery’s Kathleen Finch is also set for her own session. The 2019 Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards are being held that evening. This year, they are honoring comedian and media mogul Byron Allen, producer and writer Mara Brock Akil, former Chairman of NBC Entertainment Robert Greenblatt, and award winners and industry icons Rita Moreno, Betty White and Henry Winkler.

The LatAm Summit returns on Thursday, January 24. As part of the program, World Screen’s Anna Carugati will moderate a one-on-one conversation with AMC Networks International’s Eduardo Zulueta. Further sessions in the LatAm Summit include executives such as Telemundo Internacional’s Marcos Santana, Disney Media Distribution Latin America’s Fernando Barbosa, Amazon Studios’ Danae Kokenos, MGM Television’s Tomas Davison and Netflix’s Francisco Ramos.

“We’re absolutely thrilled about the lineup of executives,” said Bommel. “We’ve got some very important names, giants in distribution. And that’s really the value of NATPE—the amount of top executive decision-makers at the highest level. You don’t see this [at other] conferences in one space like that…. In three days, you make the rounds. And again, it’s all about content with a capital ‘C.’”