Mart grows to fit new media influx

Sites looking to buy rights for online distrib'n

PARIS – While they still only make up around 14% of the companies at Mipcom — the same percentage as in 1999 — new-media outfits will be the stars of the show again this year.

Among those present will be DotTV, a company that has the curious vocation of attributing the “TV” suffix to television companies and others wishing to acquire it for Internet domain names.

Other new-media players are more directly involved in Mipcom’s traditional activities, says organizer Michael Weatherseed, head of Reed Midem’s TV division. “Some want to buy Internet rights to TV programs, others are program makers for the ‘Net. A lot of them come from far away and they are not coming to Mipcom for fun, they are really doing business at the market.”

And for those old-media folk who want to find out more about what the new economy can do for them — and vice versa — the MipNet three-day conference series will provide an open forum.

The event kicks off with a keynote double-header given by Columbia TriStar Intl. Michael Grinden and Andrew Kaza, MD, Internet and interactive, BBC Worldwide.

Conference topics will range from the impact of convergence and digital technologies on television to how to raise finance via going public.

Among new companies at the mart this year will be the U.K.’s Celador, inventor of the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” format, and Germany’s brand-new Peppermint, which was launched at Mip TV in April by former BetaFilm sales chief Michael Knobloch.

Peppermint already has acquired the rights to a stack of Asian programming as well as the Russian state TV archive, which has never been seen outside the former Soviet Union.

Ever more exhibitors at Mipcom this year has seen the event outgrow the Palais and the new Riviera extension, which was only inaugurated in May.

Organizers Reed Midem have found a solution — a temporary structure known as Azur Village that will take the place of the tents that housed the spill-over in past years, providing a total of about 62,000 square feet of exhibition space.

While the extra demand is a logistical headache, it is one that Michael Weatherseed is happy to live with.

“With all the acquisitions and mergers going on you’d expect to see fewer stands, he says. “But the fact that we are still needing extra space shows that the market is growing despite consolidation (in the business).”

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