Claire Macdonald on NATPE Budapest: The marketplace will be bustling!
BY Yako Molhov
A month ahead of the upcoming 2024 edition of NATPE Budapest, we talk to Claire Macdonald, director of the event, about this year’s highlights and expectations to set new attendance records. She assures that there are still opportunities for exhibitors, as the market floor has already been sold out. The number of buyers is over 400.
Claire Macdonald, SVP & Executive Director of NATPE Global
Claire, last year NATPE Budapest wrapped up its first edition under new ownership by Brunico with over 375 buyers, 110 exhibitors, a 20% jump in attendance figures compared to 2022 and a 98% approval rating. The bar has been set high. Do you expect to surpass these impressive results this year, when NATPE Budapest returns June 24-27 in the Hungarian capital?
Yes! We are overwhelmed with the response of all of our stakeholders in the region. We are already well over 400 buyers and on track to confirm 500. As well, more than 125 exhibitors are confirmed, with several others waiting in the wings. And I am proud to say that this is truly an international event, with over 65 countries represented.

The most-established market event in CEE brings the leading international content suppliers, as well as local industry players together in one place to do business in the most effective way and the 2023 edition proved it - 97% of the buyers met their goal and fully 100% said they will return, based on your survey. What will be the highlights this year and will you be adding new elements to the event?
Brunico is well-known for offering bespoke networking opportunities at its market-leading events, and we have introduced a few of those this year, including Meet an Expert breakfast and lunch networking sessions. Panel highlights include the CEOs of bTV Media Group, CME Adria and Pro Plus and TV2 Media Csoport Zrt who will discuss the trends, challenges, and innovations shaping the region's media landscape, an engaging panel on innovative partnership models. We’re also excited by a keynote conversation with Kim Poder, Group Chief Operating Officer of Antenna Group where he will share some of the insights, strategies and innovations that have solidified Antenna Group's position as a pioneer in the region, and Producer, Tech Entrepreneur and Journalist Elif Dagdeviren will present a keynote focused on AI & tech in the entertainment world. Lots more announcements to follow in the coming weeks. And of course there’s PITCH & PLAY LIVE! and the annual CEETV Breakout Hits presentation!

This year you announced a NATPE+RealScreen track, a collaboration with your RealScreen Summit which next year will be combined with NATPE Global and moves to Miami. What will be the agenda of the track which will take place on June 25?
There will be a session providing case studies of both The 1% Club and The Floor. Here studio executives and European commissioners behind adaptations of each format will take a deep dive into how they adapted the shows for their territories, and the strategies behind making the formats "can't-miss" viewing for their audiences. There will also be a panel featuring key unscripted buyers in the region who will discuss their slates, content strategies and wish lists, and an unscripted Meet an Expert networking lunch.

You also introduced an Advisory Board for NATPE Budapest 2024. What has been the main input and recommendations from its members?
We are so grateful for the counsel of the board members. They have been instrumental in helping us shape the program and have also helped devise strategy for the event on a go-forward basis. As leading media executives in the region, they have been able to advise on current trends and issues in the region.

This year you have returning delegations as well as newcomers like The Istanbul Chamber of Commerce and UCC. How will those delegations be featured during NATPE Budapest?
We are thrilled to welcome the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce and the Ukraine Content Club. They are joining Audiovisual from Spain and Unifrance. All have large footprints on the market floor, and we expect very busy and productive agendas.

We hear that the event has already been sold out. Is that true and how are you handling the demand? Will you be able to welcome everyone willing to be part of the market?
The market floor is sold out, but there are still opportunities for exhibitors to sign up for a screening suite or viewing station. The marketplace will be bustling!

In terms of events, June is quite busy in CEE this year. Why do you think more people still choose to come to NATPE Budapest?
There is a great deal of loyalty and love for this event. The location is central and easy to get to and Budapest is enticing from a cultural and touristic point of view. But importantly, the market is very efficient.

What are your plans for the future?
We’re looking to see how we can evolve the event in scope to truly make it an all encompassing event spanning original programming, co-pros and content sales.
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