The general consensus about last month’s DISCOP Johannesburg was that participation seemed somewhat diluted due to the frequency of its sister markets — suggesting that future market dates will have to be chosen carefully.

Ghana-based Michael Gyang of Tumpaani TV — who has been attending DISCOP Africa as a buyer since its first edition — said, “African buyers won’t go to both Zanzibar and Johannesburg. They will just pick one.”

Most of the exhibitors interviewed, however, reported they had at least 20 scheduled meetings over the three-day-market, and many, like Kwanza’s Ilan Karfati — exhibiting at the TVFI stand — found the DISCOP platform particularly helpful in organizing those meetings. As a matter of fact, TV France International registered an increase in participants among its members.

The seventh annual edition of DISCOP Johannesburg, which started November 14 at the Sandton Convention Centre, officially welcomed 1,188 delegates representing 783 companies from 69 countries, as well as 487 content producers from 35 Sub-Saharan African countries, and 156 African broadcasters, as well as other content delivery platforms. Last year’s edition saw 1,155 delegates from 772 companies representing 63 countries.

The exhibition floor, housed in a glitzy convention center adjacent to the renowned Nelson Mandela Square, was once again divided into individual stands (the largest belonging to companies such as Zee Entertainment, Côte Ouest, Deutsche Welle, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, The Africa Channel), meeting tables, and viewing boxes, as well as umbrella stands (which grouped distributors under the TV France International, Turkey, and China Pavilion banners).

VideoAge asked several distributors if they were satisfied with the outcome of the market and they all agreed that DISCOP Johannesburg is an efficient marketplace for selling content to African buyers, despite the usual amount of no-shows and the additional difficulties created by visa issues for participants coming from Eastern Africa’s countries, including Kenya and Nigeria. This concern was expressed by ABS-CBN’s Laarni Yu, who noticed a reduced number of buyers from those countries.

Several companies took the market as an opportunity to announce new co-production and international deals.