Arab shows take Camar kudos

Over 22 countries represented at confab

CAIRO — “Arab-ization” was the buzz word at Camar TV, the Cairo Intl. Radio & TV mart, which wrapped July 11.

The emphasis was partly due to the change in world politics since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., and partly due to the concurrent TV film fest honoring Palestinian programming.

“This year we looked primarily at Arabic content, basically Arabic movies and serials,” says Emad Morcos, Mideast marketing director of Showtime. “There has been an increase in satellite subscription in the Middle East, with demand for Arabic content increasing.”

Confab attracted more Mideast honchos and international participation, according to organizers.

“Camar TV builds each year as a focal market for the Arab region for TV channel directors to meet and do business,” says Maha Darwish, Egyptian TV Intl. marketing director and organizer of Camar, held at ETV’s sprawling Media Production City near Cairo. “Some 22 countries were represented, including Kuwait, Dubai, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Tunisia. Some countries attended for the first time, such as Kenya, Iran, and Belgium.

“Egyptian TV did not make immediate sales, but we made contacts for the future and found a more receptive mood for TV content from Europe,” Darwish said.

The eighth confab was cut from seven days to five, which meant many of the networking opportunities, such as the Nile schmooze cruise, were scrapped.

The confab was not without political undertones, given the present tension between Israelis and Palestinians.

Special prizes were awarded to programming on the Palestinian resistance movement. The Palestinian Space Channel won doc honors for “Baytullah.” The drama award went to “Welcome we Barouiti,” won by the currently diminished Palestinian Broadcasting Corp. — once an energetic market seller.

The concurrent TV Equipment Market saw an upsurge of business, especially radio and TV digital technology. Increasingly sophisticated Arab news coverage attracted participants including the Easyrig support system. Its Swedish inventor, Johan Hellsten, said the light hand-held camera was practical for reporting in the Middle East.

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