By VideoAge Staff in Budapest
The mother ship, DISCOP East, started its 17th annual event a bit slowly, but picked up steam during the market’s second day (of three) in Budapest, Hungary June 17-19. The slow start is justifiable considering the organization’s recent spawns: DISCOP Africa 1 (February 25-27 in Dakar, Senegal), DISCOP Africa 2 (Sept. 16-18 in Nairobi, Kenya) DISCOP Africa 3 (February 17-19, 2010 again in Dakar), and the newly tweaked DISCOP Middle East, formerly DISCOP Gulf. The latter market has been moved from Dubai to Istanbul, Turkey, and will take place in mid-March 2010. Next year, only the February Dakar event will remain.
Despite this proliferation of additional markets, Sonia Danieli of Italy’s Mediaset and Delmar Andrade of Brazil’s Record TV expressed concern over the slow start of the market and the fact that some of their scheduled appointments were no-shows. Ron Alexander of the U.S.-based TPI also noted the quieter nature of this year’s edition, though he seemed more reflective than worried. It should be noted, however, that DISCOP has not been much different than other international TV trade shows held this year, with the possible exception of the L.A. Screenings for the U.S. studios. There has been an overall trend toward decreased attendance due to economic woes.
As far as the increasing number of DISCOP offspring, Roberto Farina of Italy’s MondoTV said he doesn’t mind the proliferation of new trade shows, so long as they bring in new business and make sense financially. MondoTV will be attending the Nairobi edition of DISCOP Africa because the Dakar event was very successful for the company, and because African companies have thus far proven reliable from the collection standpoint (a sore issue for indie distributors these days).
As for current licensing fees in the Eastern European territories, Farina commented that, unfortunately, they are dropping dramatically. Much to his chagrin, some Ukrainian clients are offering as little as 60 euro per half-hour episode.
Andrade also commented on the downward direction of license fees in Central and Eastern Europe and indicated that some clients are now requesting that multiple territories be included in the same deal. Even so, collection remains his main concern, so much so that his company has occasionally offered to pay the bank fees involved in obtaining warranties for contracts.
DISCOP East reported the attendance of approximately 510 sellers and 890 buyers, though market organizers complained of many buyers who, even after registering or being invited to attend all expenses paid, canceled at the last minute. Sellers were scattered throughout 120 suites on four floors of the Sofitel hotel, as well as some 60 tables (most of them shared) and 60 individual viewing boxes (not shared) located in the mezzanine and basement areas. The basement also housed the registration area and conference rooms. The conferences covered topics spanning from the emerging roles of Brazil, China and India in the African TV landscape to the importance of TV in providing health care and medical news. Furthermore, there were three training and case study workshops aimed at African audiovisual content producers.