Event Preview: NATPE Europe

The city of Prague will serve as the new home for NATPE Europe this year, which is hosting the content market and screenings from June 23 to 26.

Rod Perth, the president and CEO of event organizer NATPE, is enthusiastic about the move from Budapest. He notes that Prague is one of the top destinations in the world for travelers and has a number of benefits on the business front as well.

“It’s an expression of our faith in the growth and our investment in the overall region,” says Perth. “We have an ongoing commitment to building a market that serves the dynamic Central and Eastern European region as well as the sellers and buyers from areas beyond CEE.” He adds, “We’ve had experience in moving markets to freshen them. When my predecessors moved NATPE from Las Vegas to Miami, it really added a jump start; we think that Prague will do the same for us this year.”

The event, focused on Central and Eastern Europe, has been working hard to ensure that all the top buyers from the region (and other parts of the world) are present. There are more than 450 content buyers expected, more than 65 percent of whom never or rarely attend other major international trade markets.  

“We’re incentivizing buyers,” says Perth. “We have a VIP buyers program and an outreach program that is language-specific that answers any questions that potential buyers have. We’re reemphasizing the unique reasons that NATPE Europe serves their needs unlike any other competing market. First among them is that we’re the only market to allow buyers to have a first look at all the Hollywood studios’ content. That’s a big, big advantage over other markets. Many of these [buyers] cannot afford to go to the L.A. Screenings because that’s a long journey. A mere four weeks after the L.A. Screenings, they’re able to see everything here in Prague.”

In an effort to accommodate screenings and meetings, NATPE Europe has adjusted its schedule for the upcoming market. Monday and Tuesday will feature studio screenings that are invitation only. Registration opens on Monday for NATPE Europe, and the market floor will open Tuesday, followed by full market days on Wednesday and Thursday.

Also new this year, the Tuesday morning will feature a special co-production summit, entitled Now, the Story Starts in Europe! “What we want to do is emphasize the fact that co-productions are no longer just an expedient financial bolt-on for American projects,” says Perth. “Now, new co-productions being written and developed are beginning in Europe, and are then becoming viable projects that have commercial possibilities internationally. They are now starting in Europe and elsewhere, and we will focus on this reality.”

The summit, hosted jointly with Tandem Communications, will feature a lineup of contributors that includes network and production executives actively involved in international co-productions, European and U.S. showrunners, and European production companies. Rola Bauer, the president and partner at Tandem, has been instrumental in attracting this high-level group.

"For the first time, we will have meaningful participation from Polish buyers and exhibitors in Prague, who have traditionally had limited participation in regional markets. This is a huge breakthrough for both NATPE Europe and for everyone that is attending the market." Perth went on to say "…As an added bonus, we will salute the excellent and high quality programming that is produced in Poland at a special luncheon for all attendees, which is sponsored by TVN, ATM Group and Monolith Films. This 'Celebration of Polish Programming,' will be the first of an annual NATPE Europe salute to regional countries and their local production capabilities. We are very excited that with the cooperation of our Polish partners, their great programming that tends to be underexposed will be revealed to the greater CEE community of buyers and sellers." 

Other highlights for market attendees include an opening-night cocktail reception at the Cloud 9 bar and lounge on the rooftop of the Hilton Prague Hotel. The event is sponsored by TV Nova, Prima, Czech TV and TV Barrandov. “Even though [those companies] compete with one another, we think it’s fantastic that we were able to help them understand why it might be important for them to cooperate, by welcoming everyone to their great city,” says Perth. “It’s going to be a real celebration of Prague and the culture and the city, and a fun welcome to everybody who’s attending.”

On Wednesday night, NATPE is hosting its own cocktail reception in the atrium of the Hilton. “One of the reasons we moved to the Hilton was because it could accommodate virtually every event under one roof,” says Perth. “We will have most of the Hollywood studio screenings in the Hilton (there might be a couple of outliers, but they’re not far away). Everything else—including all of the networking activities, the luncheon, the breakfast—is all under one roof. We’re looking forward to a great event!”