NATPE Cancels January 2023 Conference Amid Bankruptcy Filing

NATPE Cancels January 2023 Conference Amid Bankruptcy Filing

The National Association of Television Program Executives, or NATPE, has canceled its January conference in the Bahamas. 

NATPE President and CEO JP Bommel announced the cancellation of the annual conference Wednesday. The organization said “no decisions have been made” about the NATPE Budapest conference in June, or other events in 2023. 

The cancellation comes after NATPE filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early October, citing the pandemic-related cancellations of the 2021 and 2022 conferences as part of the reason for the organization’s financial peril. When announcing the bankruptcy filing, NATPE had said it planned to go forward with the Bahamas conference in January, as well as other upcoming events. The conferences and marketplaces are typically a big revenue generator for the organization.

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The annual conference, which has traditionally been held in Miami, was scheduled to be held at the Baha Mar Resort in Nassau, Bahamas from January 17 to 19. Last year’s conference was canceled at the last minute due to a surge in COVID-19 cases related to the omicron variant, while the prior year was canceled amid the ongoing pandemic. 

NATPE’s decision to host next year’s flagship event in the Bahamas had drawn some scorn from some U.S.-based TV industry professionals, who preferred the convenience of Miami, where events tied to the conference would extend beyond the confines of the Fontainebleau Hotel to South Beach and other parts of the city.

The need to secure passports, with many employees having not traveled internationally during the pandemic, was also a sticking point for some attendees.

One high-ranking executive at a U.S. network had told The Hollywood Reporter that their network was already planning on having a reduced presence at the event, and that was before the organization filed for bankruptcy protection.

NATPE launched a virtual market in 2020 to try to keep up momentum during the pandemic. However, the company said it is now looking for “all possible options to restructure.”

“NATPE, like many other professional organizations, has been adversely impacted by the COVID pandemic, which prevented NATPE from holding historically revenue-generating events, including its 2021 and 2022 Conference and Marketplace traditionally held in Miami. NATPE is looking at all possible options to restructure, including raising funds through strategic alliances,” the organization stated on Wednesday. 

Alex Weprin contributed to this report.