The international multimedia software business still is in its infancy, but already it has spawned two rival award ceremonies, which will be vying for attention during Reed Exhibitions’ Milia ’95 in Cannes this week.

Milia is staging its own official prize-giving, the Milia d’Or, on Jan. 15 in the Grand Auditorium of the Palais des Festivals.

But this will be preceded by the International Emmas, an independent award ceremony supported by several major industry players, which will take place Jan. 12 at the Studio Circus nightspot, clashing with Milia’s own opening night party.

The Emmas are not an officially sanctioned Milia event – indeed, the organizers of the Emmas are forbidden from using the Milia name to promote the awards, and the Emma judges, drawn from a wide spectrum of the multimedia industry, have not been allowed to register for Milia under the Emma banner.

Yet curiously, the Emma winners will be officially showcased later this spring at Intermedia, the American multimedia fest also run by Reed, and Intermedia has agreed to host the Emmas ceremony in 1996.

Milia originally was in negotiations to play official host to this year’s Emma shindig, but decided late last year that it would prefer to organize its own ceremony. By that time, the Emmas were already committed to Cannes in January, so they resolved to go it alone.

“I think it’s a pity that we didn’t find a way to work together,” comments Robbie Stamp, chairman of the Emmas judging panel. “The growing strength of their festival and the strength of the Emmas would have made a good combination.”

There is a close similarity between the two sets of award categories, although the Emmas have twice the number: 16 plus a special Gold Award for excellence, compared to Milia’s eight plus a Grand Prize.

The Emmas have taken place for the past three years as purely European awards, but this year for the first time are broadening their scope to cover all worldwide product. They are also shedding their previous hardware prizes to focus mainly on software.

The 11 sponsors of the Emmas include Microsoft, Philips, Pioneer and the Interactive Multimedia Assn. from the U.S. The Milia d’Or ceremony is sponsored by Havas and New Line Cinema, with the support of the Syndicat National de l’Edition.

Both sets of awards have judging panels including a wide range of multimedia experts from around the world, and even here there is an odd overlap. Wired, the U.S. magazine, has a representative on both panels.

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