This is an official request for the establishment of a “clearing house” for organizers of international film and TV trade shows. The United Nations is famous for establishing clearing houses to coordinate various world events and the entertainment industry should do the same to avoid staging 20 trade events for 84 market days in three months.

Serafini

The international TV trade show industry went crazy this fall. From October 16 to November 15 are: MIPCOM (October 16-19), NAB New York (October 18-19), SPORTEL (October 23-26), Japan Content Showcase (October 24-26), DISCOP Africa (October 25-27), Rome Film Fest (October 26-November 5), DPAA Summit (November 1), AIB Awards (November 1), AFM (November 1-8) and MIP Cancun (November 15-17).

This means that some sellers and buyers alike have to travel from Cannes (France) to New York City, to Monte Carlo, to Tokyo, to Johannesburg (South Africa), to Rome, back to New York, then to London to Santa Monica and to Cancun all in a 32-day period for a total of 42 market days, with just hours to hop from place to place. This is the type of marathon that should be in the Olympics.

If one also considers other earlier TV-related events, such as the Toronto International Film Festival (September 7-17), Le Rendez-Vous (in Biarritz, September 10-14), The Royal Television Society Convention (in Cambridge, September 13-15), IBC in Amsterdam (September 14-19), View of the World Film and TV Festival (September 18-24, in Montreal), Jornadas in Buenos Aires (September 19- 21), APEX Expo in Long Beach, California (September 25-28), and RAI’s Prix Italia in Milan (September 29- October 1), then the autumn is really the fall of many TV executives who have to schlep to seven more trade shows, for a total of 18 TV events within the arc of less than two months—averaging one every three days.

But wait, I’m not finished yet. If we also add late-fall TV trade shows like ATF in Singapore (November 29- December 1) and, before that, the International TV Academy in New York City (November 20), by the end of the fall, the international TV industry will have endured a grand total of 20 TV-related events within an 84-day period, or one every five days.

In terms of each month, there are eight shows in September, six in October and five in November, making it the busiest three-month period of the year. In contrast, January has two major trade shows (NATPE Miami and Sundance Film Festival), February has the Berlinale and DISCOP Dubai, and in March, there is one SPORTEL somewhere; in April, we have MIP-TV in Cannes and NAB in Las Vegas, in May the L.A. Screenings and the Cannes Film Festival, and in June Cannes Lions and NATPE Budapest.

So why are all of these TV events taking place in the fall? There are several reasons. First of all there isn’t a clearing house where TV trade organizers can negotiate their calendar dates. Second, each organization has its own schedule, agenda and obligations. Third, each one has the impression that the overlapping is minimal and some of them even think they are unrelated. Finally, there is the conviction that a TV event can take advantage of other nearby trade shows (e.g., MIPCOM and SPORTELMonaco).

The biggest toll that all these fall TV trade events extoll, however, is not on sellers, since many companies split up duties among sales staff, but on many buyers and especially TV trade journalists who have not only to report on all of them, but their publications also have to offer more promotional opportunities to advertisers, who cannot possibly place ads around every single event. In this case, each issue has to cover at least two or three events to have the right ROI for advertisers.

At this point, various entertainment trade market organizations should get together and establish a clearing  house committee to coordinate various events in a way that’s beneficial to the industry they’re expected to serve.

(By Dom Serafini)

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