by Lauren Gitlin
The 17th edition of DISCOP East will take place June 16 to 19 at the Sofitel in Budapest, drawing producers and buyers from all over Central and Eastern Europe and sellers from everywhere. We spoke to Oliver Kreuter, head of Television for Munich-based Bavaria Media Television (whose company has attended DISCOP East since its inception) about what trends he’s anticipating this year, what product he’s bringing to the market, why DISCOP East continues to be an important event for the industry and how the economy is affecting companies like his.
VideoAge International: What product are you bringing to this year’s DISCOP East?
Oliver Kreuter: As every year, a mix of drama, crime, romantic movies and series. Our highlights are the high-budget literary adaptation The Buddenbrooks by Heinrich Breloer and the stylish French telenovela Second Chance. Clients will also be able to get a first look at our latest telenovela Lilli and the Girls [aka One for All (WT)]. The series is about four women who face great challenges both at work and in their private lives.
VAI: Which of your shows play best in Eastern Europe?
OK: One of our definite best-sellers is the Bavarian telenovela Storm of Love. The series has established itself as a true audience magnet, which channels can use to grow their profile in their home markets. Long-running, well-produced series that can be played daily are key for audience retention. In our opinion, the region is always looking for well-produced fiction programs at affordable prices.
VAI: What trends have you noticed emerging at recent DISCOP events? What do you expect to see at DISCOP 2009?
OK: In general, there was a tendency towards local production, especially for long-running series. So we discussed format/scriptrights for our well-proven daily series or telenovelas. We will see at this event how much the crisis has affected local fiction production, and how much will be replaced by other genres.
In terms of content, the broadcasters continue looking for the best programming in drama, crime, and family. There is still a high demand for quality crime series and telenovelas.
VAI: How will the state of the economy affect the market and your company specifically?
OK: As in every country, broadcasters are selecting their programming more carefully, and they will buy only what they really need. On the other hand, we hope to sell more finished product in certain territories because local production has become quite expensive and is sometimes replaced by acquired product.
VAI: Is your company doing anything special for the market, i.e. a party, a cocktail, a press conference?
OK: Yes — we are a proud sponsor of DISCOPRO. We host a panel at the conference and we also host a pitching session for co-production ideas. Bavaria Media is part of Bavaria Film, one of Europe’s oldest and most distinguished production units, it is our goal to grow our relationship with Eastern European partners on all levels.