Paris-based TV France International’s executive director weighs in on the company’s upcoming event, Le Rendez-Vous, which is set to take place September 6-10 in Biarritz, France.

VideoAge International: Could you tell me a little bit about Le Rendez-Vous? How many years has it been going on?

Mathieu Bejot: The first Rendez-Vous was organized in 1995, shortly after TV France International was set up as the umbrella marketing organization for French TV production and distribution companies. Le Rendez-Vous has always been our key event. It is a major event for participating companies. For some of them, the event triggers up to 25 percent of their annual international sales.

VAI: Who/how many do you expect to attend?

MB: We are expecting around 215 buyers, and 60 French exhibitors. Both numbers are the highest we’ve ever had.

VAI: Which region do most of the buyers come from?

MB: About 2/3 of the buyers come from Europe (Western, Central and Eastern Europe), and 1/3 from the rest from the rest of the world. For the first few years, Le Rendez-Vous was a market dedicated to our European customers. Over time, we have broadened our base to include acquisition executives from any region of the world.

VAI: Are there any special events, parties, or new features to look forward to at this year’s edition?

MB: We’ve introduced a couple of changes: We will host the semi-final round of judging of the International Emmy Awards for European TV Movies and Mini-series the day before le Rendez-Vous starts. Additionally, we will dedicate two evenings to key programs being introduced on the international market. One evening will focus on new French animated series with a dozen new titles being presented for the first time. The other will feature docu-drama The Destiny of Rome, produced by Docside for Arte, and distributed by Europe Image International. Also, the digital video-library will include 50 percent more titles than usual. Around 1,200 programs will be made available for VOD screening to acquisitions executives.

VAI: The fall is packed with markets and festivals. Do you find that this takes away from, or has any impact on, how many people attend Le Rendez-Vous?

MB: Le Rendez Vous is strategically placed one month ahead of MIPCOM, so it allows buyers to get a sneak preview of French programs (since the start, Le Rendez-Vous has always put a strong emphasis on screenings). French distributors could then do some follow up at MIPCOM with interested buyers. We know that it may be difficult for some companies to travel twice to Europe within a month. But, on the plus side, buyers who come from far are really looking to acquire French programs.