“It feels good” to be back at a “live” AFM, said Chevonne O’Shaughnessy, co-founder and president of Los Angeles-based film production and distribution company, ACI. But “it’s slow,” she noted. “There’s only 750 badges — and that’s with 500 buyers!”

However, O’Shaughnessy (pictured above) sees a light at the end of the dark tunnel of low attendance. “Even though it’s been very slow, I’ve had great meetings and I’ve gotten a lot of stuff done between MIPCOM and here. But it’s not like it used to be. You’d have meetings every half-hour, now it’s every hour-and-a-half, and everything is streaming. I’m on over 150 platforms. Linear has gone. There’s no [market in] France anymore. There’s no Spain. [But] we’re [still] trying to do linear, [and] we have new opportunities coming up in several territories, like Eastern Europe [which in the past] wouldn’t do drama, [and] now they’re starting to buy drama. Poland… Germany… Money from other countries is starting to come in but your return on investment takes a lot longer than it used to. It used to be six to 10 months to get your money back once you wrapped up the deal. Now it’s more like 18 months to recover your money.”

O’Shaughnessy also thinks that with MIPCOM, the AFM, and MIP Cancun taking place so close together, at least one of them has to go. “Emerging markets are the place to be and RX organized one in South Africa, and it was good. Emerging markets are the place to be,” she said.

At the AFM, non-American attendees have voiced concerns about the higher costs this year because of the strength of the U.S. dollar, and even Americans were heard complaining about how expensive hotel rooms are. “Even the cost of the badges is higher,” said O’Shaughnessy. “Then you have MIP Cancun right afterwards. It’s like how many markets can we be in?”

She concluded: “I’m seeing a lot of exhibitors saying ‘I was just at MIPCOM and if buyers are in Los Angeles, they can see me in my office instead of taking a suite and we can save the cost of being here.’ ”

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