By Leah Hochbaum Rosner

In just a few short weeks, buyers and sellers of TV content will invade the seaside city of Cannes, France for the 45th annual MIP-TV, which is taking place April 7-11. As part of VideoAge International’s continuing series of pre-MIP-TV Q&As, we spoke with Mathieu Bejot of Paris-based TV France International, the association of French TV program exporters, about his plans for the market, why it’s better for smaller French companies to conduct business from underneath the TVFI umbrella and how new laws in France may be changing the face of French television.

VideoAge International: How important is MIP-TV to TV France International?

Mathieu Bejot: It remains one of our key markets. We don’t go to NATPE anymore because fewer French companies have been attending. We also had a hard time trying to meet with Latin Americans at NATPE. People just didn’t show up. But going to MIP-TV continues to be one of our priorities.

VAI: Tell me what TV France has planned for MIP-TV.

MB: We’ll have a fairly large booth. As of now we have about 40 companies signed up to exhibit under the TV France International umbrella at the stand, but we’re expecting our usual 50. Every year, there are a few companies that register later than others.

VAI: Why do so many firms choose to exhibit under your umbrella rather than get their own booths?

MB: Mostly because of costs, obviously. Plus, coming with us gives their companies more visibility. There’s always traffic at our booth, so it’s much easier to meet people. So, in terms of foot traffic and lowering costs, it just makes sense to come with us.

VAI: How’s the broadcasting industry faring in France these days?

MB: Not too badly. There have been some interesting developments, such as the new French government law that prohibits advertising on television in the public sector. Right now, we’re trying to define what the public sector will be and what programs will be aired. The government’s also curbing food ads in children’s TV programming. Everybody’s scrambling to figure out the impact of the measure, but it’s still too early to tell. There’s much uncertainty here in France.

VAI: Do you ever get to attend any of the sessions offered by Reed Midem at MIP-TV? Or are you pretty much chained to your booth?

MB: I’m pretty much stuck in the booth, I’m afraid. I sometimes send someone for me. But honestly, the bulk of the money we make is still in traditional TV — not mobile or IPTV — which many of the sessions are about, and which I think are overrepresented at markets like MIP-TV. I like to keep abreast of what’s going on, but most of our business is still done in traditional TV.