The 17th annual DISCOP began in Budapest, Hungary, on a rainy June 22 and ended with more rain on June 25. Curiously, it started with a conference and also ended with a conference. In between, it recorded sunny days with a crescendo of buyers, who began to filter in at the start of the actual market on Tuesday, June 23. Slowly buyers started to fill the corridors on day two and, once again, retreated on day three.

Held at its traditional Sofitel Hotel, DISCOP is the premiere market for Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.

As usual, there were many no-shows, an unfortunate characteristic of many CEE TV buyers who have not yet acquired the necessary skills or manners to interact with Western program sellers. Reportedly, some buyers were held back by the financial crises of their countries, Hungary among them. The World Cup also kept other CEE buyers at home, especially those from broadcasting organizations that were carrying the football matches.

If the corridors on the hotel’s four floors were slow at first, the basement areas, which contained an increased number of  “Viewing Boxes,”  “Tables” and “Media Tables,” were always busy. This year, all available spaces, starting on the ground level, were rented out to distributors, to the point that it was difficult to even find a sitting area for occasional meetings or simply to rest. All in all, the market area this time fully occupied a record seven floors, including the mezzanine, while the seminars and other activities were held at the nearby Gerbeaud House.

Opening day started with three seminars, two spotlights (France and Hungary) and a pitching session. Closing day featured a Round Table to discuss VideoAge’s June Issue’s cover story, “The 3Bs: Blueprint, Broadcast, Broadband,” which addressed the rules and regulations necessary to migrate from broadcast to broadband. Participating with VideoAge’s editor Dom Serafini were experts from the content, service and transport areas of Germany, France, Poland and Britain.

As usual, Latin America represented the market’s largest and most active group of sellers from Brazil (Record TV), Argentina (Telefé), Colombia (Caracol) and Mexico (Televisa).

There was also a significant Canadian presence, with E1 Entertainment, Breakthrough and others.

From Europe, the largest contingent came from France, under the umbrella of TV France International; followed by Italy, under the umbrella of the Italian Trade Commission (ITC), and Germany, with Bavaria Media, Deutsche Welle and Studio 100.

Some Italian distributors, like MondoTV and Mediaset, were in their own suites, outside the ITC umbrella. Also many Latin sellers came from Miami, Florida, like Latin Media.

Among the most active buyers,were executives from Hungary, Russia and Slovakia. On the recreational front to be noted were the great (as usual) HBO night party on a boat, the opening reception, sponsored by DISCOP organizers, and the traditional ITC dinner for the Italian selling group to meet CEE buyers.

With this Water Cooler, VideoAge takes its annual summer break, ready to resume service on July 27 with a report on the Roma Fiction Fest, which is ending July 10.

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