With the indie portion over and the studio sessions just beginning — putting us smack in the middle of the L.A. Screenings — we thought we’d offer you a report from the frontlines.
First, some numbers: with 80 companies exhibiting, this year’s edition of the L.A. Screenings has the largest turnout in recent years (last year saw 74 companies screen).
Around 1,500 buyers from 66 countries have attended the Screenings.
As always, the countries with the largest contingent of buyers are the U.K., U.S., Canada and Germany. Latin American buyers are also still coming in droves. Yet, the economic crisis in Europe seems to have shrunk the number of buyers from Western Europe – Spain, France and Italy specifically.
Interestingly, we’re seeing a major increase in participation from the digital companies, with YouTube/Google, Netflix, Hulu and Apple all in attendance.
As far as parties: There are about 7 official parties going on from start to finish. (For detailed information parties, events, exhibitors and buyers in attendance, check out our L.A. Screenings page.)
Now for some straight-from the event details:
The screenings got off to a bit of a slow start. While some Latin buyers were in L.A. on opening day – Tuesday, the 15th, most arrived on the 16th, just in time for the Venevision party.
But those looking to catch up on their industry reading at the Screenings had a challenge – the general manager at the Century Plaza Hotel had the usual table holding trade publications removed from the lobby, taking away the convention look.
(Note, the removal did not affect VideoAge, since our publication was was delivered to all rooms).
A security issue has also emerged, with intruders sneaking into Century Plaza suites, and rifling through exhibitors’ cabinets.
There have also been some challenges for Argentinean buyers. The countries has imposed a freeze on all overseas payments, making things a bit more complicated when it comes to making deals.
Just before the official kick-off of the indie portion of the L.A. Screenings, on Monday, Twentieth Century Fox screened the Fox upfront to buyers. Marion Edwards, president, International TV at Twentieth Century Fox TV Distribution, noted how the network, known previously as a “house of drama,” has – like many other networks this year – decided to focus on comedies. “Every network wants a whole night of comedy and then additional comedies dotted throughout other nights,” she said.
But will the focus on comedy spell trouble for international distribution? “English-speaking territories aside, it’s definitely harder for comedy to translate across countries. It just doesn’t happen that often. Of course, The Simpsons is an example of a comedy series that does work.”
Despite potential challenges, Edwards described the current climate as “an amazing time in television.”
“The advertising market is strong, the consumer interest is strong. I think television is as influential a part of people’s lives as ever before. We’re in an exciting new frontier, with people watching TV across different devices — TV feels new again.”