Natpe Conference to have an in-depth focus on mobile

MUMBAI: The National Association of Television Programme Executives (NATPE) in the US has announced the schedule for its annual conference. This takes place from 15-18 January 2006 in Las Vegas.

A highlight is the daylong NATPE Mobile++. This is is a specially focussed and separate conference addressing the impact and business opportunities for wireless, mobile and digital distribution platforms for television producers, developers, technology companies, broadcasters and advertisers.

The conference will analyse the rapid evolution occurring in the digital media industry, its impact on the traditional media industry and the many lucrative business opportunities it presents. It will explores cutting edge audience behaviours - the rapid consuming of mobile and digital entertainment. It will look at

- Branded entertainment and the important role of advertising in the digital media industry

- The ever-growing role of mobile media and mobile services

- Mobile technology's role in social networking and community building

- Monetisation strategies for user generated content

- The importance of user-centric design in the digital media industry

Another session looks at The Long Tail. Online services carry far more inventory than traditional retailers. Even as consumers flock to mainstream books, music and films there is a real demand for niche fare found only online. To one degree or another, the same is true for all other aspects of the entertainment business.

These potential markets may be twice as big as they appear. If the biggest money is in the smallest sales, how do we get over the economics of scarcity? Attendees will find out more about the markets that lie outside the reach of the physical retailer - they are big and getting bigger says Natpe. The panelists are Wired Magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson; ICM (International Creative Management) vice chairman Robert Broder, USA Networks president Bonnie Hammer and Fox Interactive Media president Ross Levinsohn.

There will also be a sesion on IPTV in terms of the lessons learned from global Rollouts and what the implications are for the US. IPTV Natpe notes has already achieved significant penetration in both Asia and Europe; however, the degree to which IPTV will successfully penetrate the United States market is still anyone's guess. With that said, insights into how IPTV has achieved this success overseas foreshadow the coming challenges for the US market.

What will compel subscribers to leave their existing provider and switch to IPTV. Is it interactivity? specialised programming? price? Will telcos find new revenue streams or simply a way to reduce churn?

There will also be a Shoot Out session that looks at Hollywood. This is a live extention of the TV show Shoot Out which is hosted by Variety editor Peter Bart and Mandalay Entertainment chairman/CEO Peter Guber. On the TV show which kicks off in India on Star World next month they take their best shots at the industry, the movies, and each other. If Hollywood is talking about it, they're fighting about it.

Now at Natpe the two hosts will conduct a session in order to get an international perspective on the industry's changing landscape. The speakers are MGM worldwide TV Group Harry Sloan and Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer.

Another session is called The Currency of Content "In a time where content development and its marriage to marketing can cause chaos, adult supervision is at a premium," says panel moderator Media Link's Michael Kassan. How best to quantify, monetise and harness the explosive energy that is the result of ever more personalized and divergent content delivery?

That is the challenge faced by businesses who work in the field of cross-platform content delivery and marketing. This panel chosen Natpe says has demonstrated the ability to recognise opportunity, bring disparate creative forces to bear on initiatives, and convert the resulting content into business currency. The panelists include Microsoft corporate VP global marketing Jeff Bell; Cingular Wireless VP, advertising and marketing communications Daryl Evans; FremantleMedia North America CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Digitas president Laura Lang and Unilever US head of worldwide media Alan Rutherford.

Another session looks at TV formats. From American Idol to Project Runway to Next Top Model, some of the most successful shows on TV today started as international formats and in some cases spawned their own international versions. Producers of hit shows have had to learn to adapt success for audiences that speak different languages, live in different cultures and even have different senses of humour.

Producers of some of these shows talk about what makes a successful format that can be taken worldwide and the challenges of adapting a format for multiple markets.

Another session aims to impaort knowlege on generations X, Y, and Z. Natpe notes that it is important for media firms to keep up with how our most wired, engaged and media savvy generation of consumers experience media content? Brian Seth Hurst, one of The Hollywood Reporter's Digital 50, interviews members of this on-demand, user-engaged community. The panel of 18 -25 year olds will break it down for attendees - how they experience brands, consume content and, yes, even create their own networks for themselves and their peers. Where does traditional media fit in and how can firms capture this audience?

There will also be a chat with Elise Doganieri who co-created the reality show The Amazing Race.From the creative processes to strategic decisions to the seemingly infinite logistics, this hands-on executive producer oversees every single detail of The Amazing Race which airs in India on AXN. So, what is the recipe for reality TV success and how do you create award-winning programming that consistently beats the competition and is considered the real must-see TV? That is what the sesion looks to answer.

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