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Monte Carlo reaction mixed

Though it seemed they came to bury Monte Carlo, not praise it, most top execs left the Riviera principality vowing to return to its television market next year.

With attendance at Miami’s National Assn. of Television Program Executives confab hitting 13,000 and talk of an ever-expanding international attendance at that American market, several execs admitted they had arrived in Monte Carlo wondering what they would accomplish.

By the time the market closed today, the corridors of the Hotel Loews may not have been creaking under the weight of deal memos, but some business had been done, and execs reiterated that they had used the less frantic pace of the mart to hold talks with future partners.

“I’ve just come out of an hour meeting with (German pay TV web) Premiere to see how we can work together in the future. I would never have had time to get to know these guys as well at NATPE or at the Cannes markets,” said Saban Intl. services president Stan Golden.

Sellers reported big turnouts from the Scandi buyers, from Turkey and from the Middle East. Silvio Berlusconi Communications made the most of the Scandi showing. In one of the few deals to be closed at Monte Carlo, Berlusconi sold a 100-hour package to TV Norge of Norway, another 60 hours of programs to the Mainos group of Finland and licensed a further 50 hours to TV2 Denmark.

Berlusconi also finalized the sale of 50 hours of drama to NTV of Russia, including “Marilyn and Bobby: Her Final Affair.” Premiera TV of the Czech Republic bought around 300 hours from the Berlusconi catalog.

London-based Jane Balfour Films reported the sale of 13 feature films and a docu series to Turkish network TRT.

Big U.S. distributors have traditionally liked Monte Carlo, and MCA TV Intl. president Colin Davis and Paramount Intl. TV topper Bruce Gordon insisted they would be back in 1995. Both poured scorn on the idea that NATPE’s new international profile signaled the beginning of the end for the Riviera-based event.

“NATPE is a three-ring circus. It’s basically the Americans, the Canadians and the Latin Americans. We don’t get to see our major European clients there,” Davis said.

Some British sellers, however, remain unconvinced that Monte Carlo is a must event. Members of the British Television Distributors Assn. are to meet in London immediately after Monte Carlo to discuss their views on the mart.

“Some of my colleagues have been very disappointed with Monte Carlo,” reported Roger Miron, sales topper at Thames TV Intl. “Three years ago, the corridors of the Loews were packed — now look at them. It’s getting to be critical.”

“We knew that we were too close to NATPE this year,” market topper Andre Asseo said, adding that next year it will run Feb. 13-17.

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