By Dom Serafini

This year’s 10th annual Forum Brasil International TV Market welcomed 600 participants from 22 countries to São Paulo, Brazil’s new Transamerica Expo Center June 3-5. Despite attendance being down roughly 50 percent from 2008’s edition, there were some definite perks at this year’s event.

The annual “30 Minutes With” program included 22 meetings with 28 TV executives from nine different countries. Panels, workshops, and pitching sessions — including one hosted by Cartoon Network and one presented by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture and Brazilian TV Producers – were the highlights of this year’s edition.

Despite having fewer exhibitors and participants than in years past, there were a great number of well-attended panels, including ones about “Production Business Models” and “Business Models in a Changing World.” The latter was moderated by VideoAge’s Dom Serafini and featured panelists Farrell Meisel, an American TV broadcast and satellite consultant, and Charles Zamaria, professor of Radio and Television at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.

During his presentation, Professor Zamaria addressed the unique challenges the TV industry faces in a changing media landscape: “Internet ain’t TV. Internet is a destination.” Meisel pointed out that with the popularity of the Internet, “[People] have more options. It’s a jungle out there.” Serafini challenged the panelists with questions about technology and programming, prompting debates about the switch from broadcast to broadband and whether, with IPTV availability looming, DTV (or DTT) is a useless and costly temporary technology.

This year marked the first meeting of television stations from Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and associated states (Bolivia, Chile and Perú). A new Canadian project was presented at the event, which closed with a full day of meetings with TV stations from the eight Portuguese-speaking countries of the world and the city state of Macau (spanning Europe, South America, Africa and Asia).

Rede Globo, one of the largest sponsors and exhibitors, took the opportunity to introduce a series of books written by college professor Mauro Alencar, who adapted scripts of five popular telenovelas into books, in effect reversing the usual process of books being adapted to screenplays.

Attending the events were all Brazilian TV networks, including SBT, Band and Record TV, the latter operating without a stand. Al Jazeera English Service made its first appearance at this year’s edition.
The next Forum Brasil is set for June 16-17, 2010 in Sao Paulo.

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