The 25th edition of Le Rendez-Vous kicked off on Sunday, September 8 with a gourmet welcome reception at the Halles of Biarritz, a market area where one can purchase all manner of delicacies that is located in the heart of the French-Basque city.

The idea behind this opening event was to welcome attendees the day they arrived in an informal, yet fun setting. Indeed, aside from the programs on sale, other draws of the annual French screening event — according to the content buyers approached by VideoAge — include the scenic seaside location, as well as the abundance of tasty food that can be sampled there.

TV France International’s executive director Sarah Hemar confirmed that the 2020 edition will return to the city — where it’s successfully held 12 markets in 12 years — but she didn’t discount the possibility of exploring a new location in the years to come, either.

TV France International (TVFI) is the Paris-based TV trade association that organizes the annual Rendez-Vous market. The next edition will take place September 6-10, 2020 in Biarritz.

Approximately 250 acquisition and programming executives — mostly from Western and Eastern Europe, but also from Asia and Africa — attended the event, which was held at Biarritz’s Bellevue Conference Center. There, they screened French content and networked with representatives from approximately 70 French distribution companies. The event ended on September 12.

Among the first-timers at Le Rendez-Vous were Attaphon Na Bangxang and Nisa Sittasrivong of Thailand’s TrueVisions, who were able to attend thanks to a change in the dates of Korea’s BCWW, which is usually held at the same time as Le Rendez-Vous. Also at Le Rendez-Vous for the first time was a group of acquisition executives from Taiwan’s Joint Pictures and TITV.

Returning buyers included a large contingent from Italy — one of the main countries of export for French content — as well as RSI (Swiss Italian TV’s) group headed by Gea Montorfani, who emphasized the importance of events such as Le Rendez-Vous, not as much as for the screening activities — since distributors keep her up-to-date with links sent to her office — but to maintain and create business relationships face-to-face, as well as to gather intelligence on the ever-changing trends in the industry, all in a relaxed and pleasurable setting. Yandex’s Yana Orlova from Russia, who was in Biarritz for the second time, said that she too found this type of event particularly useful.

On the distributors’ end, the Bellevue market area (pictured above) featured 11 stands –– most of which were rented by larger French companies such as France TV, Newen, Federation, and Legardere –– and 53 meeting tables.

Monday, September 9 was dedicated to conferences, with morning panels focused on the latest audience trends in the French TV market and on the role of public support in fostering creativity in the production of new content. In the afternoon, TVFI’s Sarah Hemar and CNC’s Benoit Danard discussed the evolution of French content exports over the last 25 years, and disclosed that sales figures for 2018 reached 25 million euro in North America, 84.1 million euro in Europe (with Germany being the largest country of export, and animation being their main buy), and a total of 173.3 million euro worldwide.

Those figures represent a slowdown in French audiovisual exports, which peaked in 2017.

Finally, Mediatoon and France TV Distribution sponsored two themed dinners that were held at a nearby casino.

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