BUDAPEST — The Discop 2004 TV market for the former Eastern Bloc’s emerging industry enjoyed its best year yet, generating enough buying and selling for its record 844 participants to bury its reputation as the poor man’s Mipcom.
Mart is the first to be held after Hungary and nine of its neighbors joined the European Union on May 1, bringing them added buying power through EU funding and grants.
“Part of the increased interest in Discop this year was the opening of the EU,” said Coco Coppola, Discop public relations manager, “and the expectation that people have that they are doing business here in a new way.”
The changes have given the region a measure of respect it hasn’t enjoyed since the days of the Soviet Union. “I think everyone is looking at Europe now as a bigger place, and taking it more seriously,” said Coppola. “You have (sellers) saying, ‘We really need to be there now.’ ”
But larger Eastern networks and territories have gained economic heft in their own right, independent of Brussels.
Russian net NTV attended for the first time looking for co-production partners to make local telenovelas; and several Eastern European stations arrived with homegrown reality TV formats to sell.
Many could not afford to buy expensive Western formats and so developed their own reality programming “out of necessity, and ended up being more creative than many (Western) reality producers,” according to event director Patrick Jucaud, who created Discop and has headed each of its 12 events.
Discop first launched after the fall of the Berlin wall.
Jucaud credits “stronger (regional) economies” and Eastern European “acquisition staffs who have become specialized and highly professional” for the 4,000 meetings and the flurry of buying and selling that took place in Budapest’s Sofitel Atrium Hotel Thursday through Saturday.