The NATPE Conference 2008 by virtue of the focus on the US broadcast industry and to some extent even the location of Las Vegas is yet to see Indian television executives flocking in numbers that other international content markets like the MipCom experience. Nonetheless, the Indian market is growing and another indication of that comes in the fact that the presence from Indian delegates was better than previous years at the NATPE.
There were three Indian booths at the NATPE Conference Exhibition – Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, for whom this is the first year of setting up a booth; Eros Films and Suman Films, both of which have been regulars at the NATPE Conference for the last five years. The Zee delegation at Vegas included Pradeep Guha, CEO, ZEEL; Punit Goenka, Network Operating Officer; Bharat Ranga, President, International Business; S Venkat, Head, America; Subrato Bhattacharya, Head, Europe; Deepak Jain, Head, Africa; and Mukund Cairae, Head, APAC.
Zee even held an executive meeting on the last day of the conference. Speaking on what NATPE could mean to the Indian industry, Guha said, “If you are looking at immediate results and the P&L of a single trip, then platforms like the MipCom are more valuable. However, if you are thinking long term, looking at the American studios, interested in new technologies that are breaking and want to open a window for yourself that leads to the future, then the NATPE Conference is interesting.”
He added that all forms of new media companies were present at the NATPE and the scale of the festival allowed meeting with almost all of these companies.
From a Zee point of view, Goenka said, “We are growing internationally and are gathering experience of benefiting from international events like the NATPE. We are looking forward to using this platform and build our presence here further next year.”
INX Media’s content team, including Richard Platt and Kumud Chowdhary, were there too. Speaking on the benefit of the event, Chowdhary said, “The exposure here to the various components that together make the television business, brings clarity in vision. There is more here than just getting insights on the content side of television. The event is very skewed to the US local TV market, but increasingly this market is playing an important role in shaping the global TV trends.”
The event also had independent television companies like Clapstem Productions. Girish Malik of Clapstem said, “There is a lot to look into the new side of television, and some of those areas may be a good time to focus on right now, especially since they are very nascent in India yet. The business aspect of the exhibition is also very good.”
Vimal Gupta of Suman Film Co added, “We have been here for the last five years, and interest in Indian content has only increased year on year. The business quotient is working for the better and that is why we have been returning here often. Also, it is Vegas, work is a lot more fun here!”
Much like the other Indian executives, Kevin Vaz, President, Americas, Eros International, and Niyati Nagarsheth, Manager – Sales and Marketing, were immersed in various meetings.
Rhythm NewMedia’s CEO, Ujjal Kohli, was present for the NATPE Mobile++ event and his opinion was that the mobile edition of NATPE was more important to the Indian companies today than ever before. He said, “Mobile is growing in India, and sourcing the global content is very important to know what is working – if it is comedy, what kind of comedy and all that. The NATPE Mobile++ has a lot to offer in these aspects.”
In all, the Indian delegation seemed to have a good time. All officials asserted that they were looking forward to NATPE 2009, and expecting to see India and its growth story some more in the sessions next year.