The third edition of the DISCOP West Asia digital content market and co-production forum (formerly DISCOP Istanbul) will take place from March 5-7 at the Intercontinental Ceylan Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey.

Patrick Zuchowicki of Basic Lead — organizers of the event — told VideoAge that with about three weeks to go, 510 people had pre-registered, and DISCOP West Asia was well on track to meeting its goal of 750 registered attendees.

Zuchowicki added that in terms of attendee numbers, the event is running 50 percent higher where they were at the same time last year in terms of pre-registration, and 30 percent above last year’s number of buyers.

There will be 35 different countries represented at the event, and TV channels from all over the world, Zuchowicki said, including emerging territories such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Georgia, with a special focus on Central Asia. “Those countries are close to Turkey and are natural trade partners,” he said.

“In terms of eyeballs, those [Central Asian] regions have quite a large number of people. Also we’re see a lot of those countries moving away from Russia as source of television content. It also has a lot to do with the universal power of attraction of Turkish dramas nowadays,” he said.

This year’s event will feature a co-production forum divided into five categories — Formats, TV Series, Documentaries, Animation and Comedy Concepts.

At both DISCOP West Asia and the late fall event DISCOP Africa, organizers are seeing an appetite for local, home-grown product. “We obviously support the efforts of the major international companies that are supplying great content, but there’s also a growing demand for home-grown productions, with prices more in sync with what the marketplace can afford to spend,” Zuchowicki said.

“We also think it’s important to nurture those involved in development. We want this to be a strong marketplace for people selling finished content as well as for production companies looking for additional funding for their projects.”

DISCOP West Asia will also feature a conference program with over a dozen different sessions, including a tribute to the late Turkish drama writer Meral Okay, a session on the power of drama in Muslim countries and one on regional co-production incentives.

Zuchowicki said that his event continues to transform to meet the evolution of the territories that they cater to. One initiative he pointed to was the strategic partnership between DISCOP and Trailer Park, a Hollywood-based online entertainment marketing agency, to help foreign content channels launch OTT networks in the U.S. The partnership brings content suppliers from places like Nigeria, Russia and Turkey into the U.S through connected TV (via Xbox, Playstation, etc.).

Zuchowicki also told us that changes are in store for the 2014 edition of DISCOP. The event will move from its hotel location to an Istanbul exhibition space next year (it’ll take place March 4-6).

The event will also be opened up to licensing companies. But, Zuchowicki added, “we’re not building another LIMA event, we’re going to focus just on television brands,” he said.

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