There are books such as A Tale of Two Cities (by Charles Dickens), films such as A Tale of Two Wars and A Tale of Two Sisters, and many other titles that deal with two competing entities, but so far, there’s only one tale about two TV trade shows in Budapest, competing for a content showcase dedicated to the Central and Eastern European territories.

These days, the international content sector has to deal with two TV trade shows taking place one after the other in the same city: Budapest. The industry will deal with it, just like any other challenge that comes its way. In order to gather enough information to present to VideoAge readers, this publication had to contact some of those companies that plan to exhibit at both events, and then speak with those who will only exhibit at NATPE Budapest, and also with those that will only exhibit at Content Budapest.

In case someone needs a reminder, NATPE Budapest is organized by Canadian publishing company Brunico, and will take place June 19-22, 2023, at the InterContinental hotel. Content Budapest is organized by British publisher C21 and will take place five days later, June 27-29, at the Kempinski Hotel. Brunico acquired the NATPE brand from the U.S. bankruptcy court after NATPE filed for Chapter 11. With the NATPE acquisition, Brunico pledged to credit companies that had paid to exhibit at NATPE Miami 2022, a market that was ultimately canceled.

In effect, credited companies that are exhibiting at NATPE Budapest will do so at minimal cost. A different prospect will be faced by those that were not scheduled to attend NATPE Miami 2022, and have to decide which Budapest event to attend based on different market evaluations.

Roxanne J. Barcelona, vice president of the Philippines-based GMA Network, said: “We had opted to attend Content Budapest [since the market] is less expensive in terms of registration fees, etc., [and] we were hoping that we would be able to meet more buyers from Eastern Europe.” She later specified that she had to cancel the trip to Budapest at the last minute.

Brazil’s Globo announced that it too will only attend Content Budapest with several original series and two sales executives: Gabriel Doria and Guilherme Jordao. Doria will also participate in a panel showcase. The session will take place on Tuesday, June 27, and will feature presentations by Claudia Sahab of TelevisaUnivision, Gabriel Doria of Globo, and Paloma García of Colombia’s Caracol TV.

Mexico’s TelevisaUnivision will attend both Budapest events with the same two Sales executives. They’ll be at NATPE with a suite, and at Content with a table, returning to Budapest after the first market.

And what of the powerful Turkish distribution companies, whose marketing strength has been known to make or break a market? They held a joint meeting where they collectively decided to fully support NATPE Budapest, therefore only a handful of Turkish companies will still participate at Content Budapest.

For example, Izzet Pinto, founder and CEO of Turkey’s Global Agency, said: “We will support both of these events. We will be attending both of them in different ways. At NATPE Budapest we will be an exhibitor, while at Content Budapest I will be a speaker. The costs are similar,” reported Pinto, adding: “The whole budget consists of a participation fee, stand expenses, flight, and accommodation costs. When we add them all together, the budgets are close to each other.” In terms of buyers, Pinto divided them equally, like Solomon: “Some of the buyers will attend NATPE and some of them Content,” he said. “If both markets prove to be good, we would be back at both of them.”

Facing reality, one Content Budapest organizer commented: “They [meaning Brunico] can keep Budapest, but Miami [meaning Content Americas] is ours.”

Put in a comprehensive context, the Content Budapest executive was referring to the analysis that VideoAge offered in its May 2023 issue, in an article in which potential exhibitors were interviewed about the January 2024 edition of the NATPE Miami and Content Americas markets, currently scheduled by Brunico and C21 in two consecutive weeks. According to many respondents, C21 did a good job of organizing the Content Americas market in Miami in 2023, and therefore can offer proven results, while Brunico is yet to establish a Miami footprint.

Going back to Budapest, in terms of expected attendance, both events have registered about 500 regional buyers. And at both events, participants will be entertained at boat parties on the Danube river.

In terms of conferences, Content has announced an agenda which includes keynotes from Warner Bros. Discovery’s Jamie Cooke, Global Agency’s Izzet Pinto, FILM.UA Group’s Victoria Yarmoshchuk and Paprika Studios’ Ákos Erdős, plus a series of commissioning sessions with executives from commercial channels and local platforms.

Also on the Content agenda is a FRAPA session that will explore how to best protect and monetize formats, and a panel of drama producers who will discuss drama co-production between CEE and global markets.

At NATPE Budapest, keynote speaker Pavel Stantchev, CEO of TV2 Media Group, will headline the conference agenda and share his perspective on the CEE market; while panel Outside In will feature ITV’s Pascal Dalton, Fremantle’s Nick Pawsey and Banijay’s Veronique Verges discussing  their experiences in doing distribution business in the region.

NATPE Budapest will see the return of studios such as Entertainment One, FOX Entertainment Global, Fremantle, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal Global Distribution, Paramount Global Content Distribution, and Sony Pictures Television as exhibitors, with Paramount and Sony also hosting screenings.

The outcome of these two trade events will provide a better picture of the actual state of the region’s TV industry, which varies greatly from country to country. For instance, viewers in the Czech Republic can still enjoy a large number of terrestrial TV channels they can watch for free, penalizing pay-TV penetration; while in Slovakia and Romania, cable TV dominates, while IPTV is a relative player.

According to Maria Rua Aguete of London-based market researcher Omdia, “traditional linear TV and social video have typically driven video advertising revenues in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and have generated $5.6 billion and $1.1 billion respectively. Pay-TV is still growing in this market alongside a strong traditional free-to-air viewing model. This region’s online advertising market is a lot less developed compared to its Western Europe counterparts and there is currently no ecosystem or marketplace that can provide premium ad-supported advertising video on demand (AVoD) and FAST services. A combination of these factors has resulted in reduced consumer interest in FAST.”

Meanwhile, a new report from London-based Digital TV Research paints something of a mixed picture for the prospects of CEE pay-TV services. The report stated that the number of subscribers is expected to fall to 73 million in 2028 (eight million fewer than in 2018) because of the disappearance of analog cable, while the number of digital pay-TV subscribers will increase by eight million over the same period.

Audio Version (a DV Works service)

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