Monte Carlo on roll

TV market turns around declining numbers

PARIS – After three years of slow decline, the Monte Carlo TV festival and market (Monte Carlo Feb. 7-13) appears to have stopped the rot.

Speaking in Paris on Tuesday, fest CEO and general secretary Wilfred Groote said an estimated 400 buyers will be attending this year’s market – the first of the European TV calendar. That represents nearly double 1996 and should help to answer the complaints of exhibitors who have been grumbling about the decline in the number of acquisition execs in recent years.

“I think we are seeing the end of a certain downward trend that we have experienced over the past two or three years,” Groote told Daily Variety.

Spread the word

With competition ever increasing for TV execs’ time, and with the Monte Carlo meet sitting precariously close to NATPE, Groote and market managing director David Tomatis have spent the past 12 months spreading the message that talk of Monte Carlo’s imminent demise is exaggerated. Groote also has been actively trying to secure the position of the TV fest.

“I think people will find that the quality of the programs in the festival is higher than its been for a long time,” Groote said. “The news & current affairs category has certainly established itself as a premier award.”

Rounding up buyers

As for the market, Tomatis has attacked the event’s main problem, namely a slow decline in the number of buyers tramping the corridors of the Hotel Loews venue. “We have really gone out to find clients particularly in East and West Europe,” he noted. On the exhibition front, this year’s event will see around 107 companies in the corridors of the Hotel Loews, “And that’s a good showing considering that a lot of our clients have been involved in mergers, which has meant that they have regrouped under one banner rather than taking individual stands,” Groote said.

Away from the actual business of buying and selling product, this year’s Monte Carlo will see a roundtable discussion about the proliferation of international news networks, bringing together senior execs from CNN Intl., NBC, BBC World, British Sky Broadcasting and French news channel LCI.

The two other main categories to be competing for the gold and silver Nymph awards are miniseries and telepics.

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