National Association of Television Programming Executives heading back to Miami Beach after 17-year absence
By Scott E. Pacheco
In a coup that could help make Miami-Dade a destination for international filming, Miami Beach has lured back from Las Vegas the 5,000-attendee National Association of Television Programming Executives Market and Conference after a 17-year absence.
The show is due Jan. 23-26, 2011. Since 1964, the market and conference has come to Miami-Dade three times, most recently to Miami Beach in 1994, the association notes.
In the short term, the shift will pull in an influx of visitors and business during the association's two-year deal with the Fontainebleau resort.
In the long run, it could cement Miami as a destination for international filming, says Graham Winick, Miami Beach film and event production manager.
Mr. Winick said he'd like the event to branch out into the community, much as Art Basel week has after starting as one fair in the Miami Beach Convention Center. He said the conference can help Greater Miami show itself as an exciting television destination and gain momentum in developing the industry.
Plus, he said, Miami has "become such a focal point in international production" amid a desire around the world to have Spanish-language programming that Miami is "a natural global crossing point."
"The Miami brand is one big movie studio" with great lighting and backdrops, said
William D. Talbert III, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Anytime you can have that level of folks in your town — that's the equivalent of what we do with these familiarization tours."
The non-profit trade organization puts together a market and conference "basically to create environments" for people to sell media, said Rick Feldman, association president and CEO.
He said several factors triggered the move to Miami Beach after eight years in Las Vegas.
"We felt it was getting a little stale," he said.
At the final Vegas event this week, a contingent from Miami attended "in a concierge way to welcome people and announce our presence with authority, so to speak," Miami Beach's Mr. Winick said.
Also, Miami is much easier to reach for international visitors, especially Europeans. Las Vegas often requires a connector flight, while many destinations link directly with Miami.
The three-day marketplace and convention attracts 5,000 to 6,000 industry professionals from more than 60 countries. Much of that contingent is from the Western Hemisphere, including from "virtually every country" in Latin America, Mr. Feldman said.
Another factor in the return to Miami-Dade was logistics.
"In Las Vegas it's easy to get lost," he said. "By taking over the Fontainebleau — it makes for a very convenient and efficient marketplace.… We need a big, big space but we didn't want to go to a convention hall."
And while taking a "couple of thousand rooms through a three- or four-day period in Vegas is no big deal," he said, the benefit will reverberate in South Florida.
"It'll be a lot more impactful," Mr. Feldman said. "It's a significant [boost] because these people spend money, throw parties — it's going to be a great thing for Miami."