This year at MIPCOM (just a few weeks away!), Argentina will come under the spotlight as the Country of Honor.  As far as one can remember, the “Honor” is a new moniker, whereas as in the past, the country that sponsored events in exchange for visibility was simply given a “focus on” tag.

Nevertheless, while it’s unlikely that such “Honor” will have a noticeable financial benefit on Argentinean companies, executives from Argentina say they’re honored to be honored.

We polled several Latin American TV executives to find out their thoughts on why Argentina was chosen and what it means to be honored.

“Argentina over the last years has become a very important film and television programs production center with state of the art studios,” said Pedro Leda, CEO of Argentina’s Ledafilms. “And not only for local consumption but as well for international major companies from the U.S. and other countries that go to Argentina for production. And,” he added, “locally produced shows have proven to travel very well internationally,” he said.

Cesar Diaz, vice president of Sales for Venezuela’s Venevision International, concurred with Leda. “With a solid independent production community, which has grown in the past years, many international television entities have gone south to set up shop in Argentina, and either partnered or bought local production companies,” he said. “This has fed the growth in television productions that cater not only to the local television audience, but have the potential for international revenues.”

Diaz added that he thought that if Reed MIDEM was set on selecting a country of honor from Latin America,  “then Argentina was a great selection.  There’s no doubt that Argentina has a strong and widely recognized independent movie and television production industry,” he said. “The country’s television has lent itself to be the promoter for creative ideas and it has opened the gates to many ground-breaking shows.  Likewise, Argentina has a distinguished ensemble of artistic and creative talents many of who have garnered international recognition,” he said. “What’s more, Argentina has also been a pioneer in the cable TV industry in Latin America.  Today they rank among the top territories with the highest cable TV penetration in the region.”

Added Leda: “Pay television has an 80 percent penetration and for many decades now, the free television business has been a great source for creativity and local production programming. It is true that also Brazil, Mexico and to a certain extent Colombia, are now similar hubs.”

Though he says it’ll be business as usual, and his company is not planning anything special for the event, Leda appreciates that by honoring Argentina, “MIPCOM is honoring all of Latin America and bringing this year its talent in broader contact with the world.”

“It definitely puts the spotlight on the local market,” he said.

Telefe International’s International Business director, Claudio Ipolitti, added, “We have excellent expectations because Argentina was chosen as guest country, and it is a great added value compared to previous years.”

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