The 24th annual Le Rendez-Vous checks in to the seaside town of Biarritz for another five-day event, beginning on the evening of Sunday, September 9, 2018.

This year, the content market of French TV product, held for the 12th consecutive year in Biarritz, will start a day earlier than last year to begin on its traditional Sunday.

Organized by TV France International (TVFI), the association for French audiovisual exporters, Le Rendez-Vous is supported by member contributions, plus funds from the Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l’Image Anímée (CNC), the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and the PROCIREP (the association of French production companies).

In the words of TVFI president Hervé Michel, “This 2018 Rendez-Vous is under the label of ‘efficiency.’ Efficiency for the buyers first, with a selection of new, high-end French content. Added to this are the improved tools on our digital platform, Screenopsis [the online database of French programming set up by TVFI], which will make it work more efficiently.”

He continued, noting that efficiency also refers to “the sales companies, which are facing a tightened number of buyers enjoying the benefits of getting priority access to new French shows. And environmental efficiency with an eye kept on limiting the environmental footprint of our event.”

At press time (early August), 128 attendees representing 67 exhibiting companies have confirmed their presence for the five days of business meetings and screenings. Furthermore, over 240 buyers from 60 countries have signed up so far, continuing the increased interest in the event, which last year drew 289 buyers from 55 countries.

In terms of who’ll be at the market, Western European buyers comprise the majority at 44 percent (Belgium alone is expected to have 19 buyers), while Central and Eastern European buyers comprise 32 percent. Russia is among the countries with the highest number of buyers from the CEE-CIS region, with 17. Switzerland and Italy are each expected to have 16 buyers. North America and Latin America will have the smallest presence, with just three percent and one percent, respectively.

Of the more than 1,100 French TV programs available for screening, documentaries and magazines represent more than half of what will be presented at the event, at 57 percent. TV movies, series, and mini-series constitute the next largest chunk of content, with about 16 percent, while kids and animation programming amounts to 14 percent. Shows about the performing arts seem to be the least in demand, at three percent.

Data from last year’s event indicated that the video library, powered by Screenopsis, delivered almost 8,000 screenings. Fiction and documentary series were the most viewed, with the number one most screened program being The Chalet, a six-part fiction series produced by Dajma and distributed by France TV Distribution. The next most screened title was the documentary Cinema Through the Eye of Magnum, followed by the fiction series Black Spot, and the docu-series Dream the Future, which was the 2018 winner for the Documentary Export Award.

Statistics from last year’s French export deals will be divulged after press time. But if the 2016 sales figures announced by CNC serve as any indication, fiction and animation will continue to drive French television exports. Animation accounted for 40 percent of international sales that took place that year, amounting to 75 million euro. Meanwhile, fiction sales, which added up to 50 million euro, increased by 21 percent. Additionally, documentary sales were recorded at their second highest level ever at over 35 million euro.

On the conference side at this year’s event, there’s “Made in France: An Innovative Offer for a Global Market,” presented by Eurodata TV, the Levallois, France-based audience metric company. The semi-final round of judging for the International Emmy Awards, Kids Programs, will also take place.

In addition to the market days, Le Rendez-Vous participants will be given the opportunity for special screenings. A preview of The Coroner, the Carma Films-produced series, will take place on September 10, while later in the day, documentary The Golden Age of the Castle will be shown. On Tuesday, September 11, Lagardère Studios will present Philharmonia. The last day’s closing reception will include a screening of one episode of Francetv studio’s new series Un si grand soleil.

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