Asian TV comeback

Sales see some turnaround at Mip market

SINGAPORE — The feel-good factor traveled down the corridors on the opening day of the Mip Asia television market, even if buyers didn’t.

While sales companies resignedly questioned market claims that some 624 buyers are in town, their mood was tempered by the fact that acquisition execs are no longer asking to renegotiate old deals downward and by the hope that — after having hung in there for the past two years — their loyalty will be recognized and rewarded by their buying clients.

”Last year was very tough for us, but it is clear that our Asian contacts were upbeat about the fact that we remained committed to doing business here,” commented Olivier-Rene Veillon, general manager at TV France Intl., the umbrella organization that brought 21 Gallic companies to Singapore this year.

”The companies that have stuck with Mip Asia for the past five years are the ones reaping the rewards,” Veillon added.

Good times could roll

The majority feeling on the floor of the trade show was that if the good times have not yet returned to the region, at least they are on their way.

Commenting on the economic turnaround, Paul Bedi, business manager of Singapore’s free-to-air channel Suria Central noted, ”There’s always a slight lag. It’s just a matter of time before consumer demand picks up.”

After a year, during which many Asian broadcasters hunkered down and devoted much of their programming schedules to reruns, there are signs that acquisition execs are once again on the hunt for shows, particularly in Singapore where new terrestrial sports channel Sportscity will launch in January.

With the American majors absent from the event, the Stars and Stripes is being flown by a handful of hustling indies, such as Unapix Intl., E! Entertainment and Carsey-Werner Intl.

Unapix cooking

Having made the effort to attend, the Unapix stand fielded back-to-back meetings Wednesday, with international sales head Dorothy Crompton selling doc ”Crash Detectives” to NHK of Japan. Unapix has chosen Singapore for the international launch of two-hour Jackie Onassis doc ”Jackie : Behind the Myth.”

Commenting on the Asian situation, Carsey-Werner VP Rajiv Dhawn noted, ”We’ve been doing good business. Prices are not too bad, and we’re breaking into markets where we have not been before.”

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