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Teutonic film, TV players face future

Confab addresses film coin, federal elections, digital growth

BERLIN — Germany’s media film and TV industry is gathering today in Berlin for the annual two-day Berlin-Brandenburg Medienforum.

The confab examines pressing issues such as the future of film financing and the impact federal elections may have on the business, digital growth, the changing face of TV and the responsibility of journalists.

Industry reps and media politicos will discuss the state of Germany’s film biz, including the dire need for private capital and possible new models for government policy to support movie production.

Producers Stefan Arndt, Eberhard Junkersdorf and Studio Babelsberg topper Carl Woebcken will debate media experts from Germany’s political parties.

Wolfram Winter, managing director of NBC Universal Global Networks Deutschland, will give a keynote address on the market potential of digital distribution channels and join local interactive and mobile media execs to discuss the wonders of new media. The section also looks at cross-media content and distribution strategies for producers.

CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour is expected to open the confab with a discourse on global news and responsibility. The focus on TV news also will include Nick Wrenn, editor-in-chief of CNN Intl., New York Times European affairs columnist Roger Cohen and Aktham Suliman of Al Jazeera.

Franz Beckenbauer, who heads the organizing committee for soccer’s World Cup next year in Germany, will discuss TV sports coverage and new technologies. Pubcasters ARD and ZDF are broadcasting all of the World Cup games in HDTV for the first time.

Also on hand for the forum, being held at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, will be local players Georg Kofler, head of paybox Premiere; Guillaume de Posch, CEO of ProSiebenSat 1; Roger Schawinski, head of Sat 1; Jan-Pelgrom de Haas, managing director of Grundy TV Prods.; and Ferdinand Keyser, prexy-CEO of Luxembourg-based satcaster SES Astra.

Like Cologne’s Medienforum NRW and similarly facing government cuts, the Berlin event has been shortened to two days; however, it remains vital as a communication platform for the industry, said Petra Mueller, head of the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, which organizes the event.

The Medienforum leads into the IFA, the world’s largest consumer electronics trade fair, held biennially in Berlin and running Friday-Sept. 7.

In related news, ProSiebenSat 1 will air its two major channels in HDTV from Oct. 26.

Pay platform Premiere carry three channels in HDTV from November. It will reveal the channels at the IFA.

(Christian Kohl in Cologne contributed to this report.)

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