The market dates for the 28th annual NATPE Budapest are the same as last year — June 25-27 — with the 24th (the day before the market) and 25th reserved for the studios’ screenings.

The market’s 1,500-or-so participants will be coming from 70 countries. Among the first-time exhibitors will be Russia’s NTV, Turkey’s Madd Entertainment, and Australia’s Fred Media. On the buyers’ side, there will be more than 525 acquisition executives from 60 countries.

With an expected ratio of more than five buyers per distribution company, the market is expected to be a profitable one, especially considering that the cost of participation is low compared to other international markets — and is surely much lower than bankrolling sales trips throughout the region, which encompasses Central and Eastern Europe, CIS countries, the Balkans, and now MENA territories (which, for the second year in a row, will be the focus of a “MENA Regional Overview” panel).

Warner Bros. will kick off the event on Monday with its new TV season screenings in the morning. On Tuesday, CBS will screen in the morning, while NBCUni will take the afternoon. These screenings are expected to take some 70 buyers off the exhibition floors at the InterContinental Hotel, which is located on the Danube River promenade.

These “floors” consist of stands, desks (or “meeting tables”), tables (or “viewing boxes”), and 20 suites on the second floor.

Here are some initial observations from those who will be on the NATPE Budapest floors:

Jimmy Elkington of Fred Media said, “I didn’t attend [the market] last year, so I can’t really comment. From all reports, though, this year has a record number of buyers attending, which I view as good. I’ve looked at the list and it’s solid. NATPE Budapest is useful as it’s an accessible and affordable market for smaller channels in Central and Eastern Europe.”

From Banijay Rights’ London office, Simon Subreville gave his assessment: “NATPE has kept last year’s same successful recipe, which proved to be a definite improvement over previous years. There has been an increase in the number of attendees, and an improvement in the quality of the conferences and the different events.”

He also considers 525 buyers to be a good number, “and shows the growing dynamic from the CEE region. The quality of the companies attending is also very important and must reflect what the market is today.”

A more detailed preview will be published in the June Issue of VideoAge, which will receive bonus distribution at NATPE Budapest, Le Rendez-Vous, Venice Film Market, and Jornadas.