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New media, new future for Central Euro mart

Discop looking for innovative biz models, founder sez

BUDAPEST — Central Europe’s TV tradeshow Discop is fine-tuning its mandate to meet the challenges of “the future of TV” during its upcoming edition at the Sofitel Atrium Hotel in the Hungarian capital June 22-24.

The changing media landscape and Discop’s recent purchase by the Los Angeles-based National Assn. of Television Program Executives have prompted the confab to focus on new media and the economics underpinning it.

Discop manager and founder Patrick Jucaud says the market is looking for innovative business models — notably concerning new ways in which content can be distributed on-demand.

“The biggest change in the industry is the difference between on-demand and non-demand media,” Jucaud says. “The most successful business models are the distributors offering on-demand product: the possibility for viewers to watch whatever and whenever they want.”

 Discop participants agree that on-demand distribution is key.

“Clearly, the new media stuff — mobile phone TV, Internet-based programming — is in high demand,” says Cecilia Hazai, managing director of Budapest-based distributor Twin Media.

 According to Hazai, the challenge for broadcasters and distribs is in matching the product to the platform.

“I think it was someone at Fox who said: ‘Who wants to watch a bad show on a two-inch screen?’ ” Hazai says. “Product for new media must be good quality, and in synch with the medium it is distributed on. We really have to think of developing new material for the new media.”

 Jucaud says Discop 2006 will be devoted to encouraging innovative strategies for new media.

The market’s keynote seminar is titled “Think Outside the Box,” and will explore the repositioning of advertisers, broadcasters and content providers within new media technologies.

 So far, buyers and sellers are voting in favor of Discop’s new approach with their feet.

Registration is at record levels: 1,294 participants, with 275 sellers and 750 buyers. A week before the market opens, registered buyers and U.S. participation were up 50% over Discop 2005.

U.S. interest in Discop, which was launched in 1991 as a meeting place for former-East Bloc buyers and Western sellers, has been fueled by NATPE’s ownership.

But Discop has been steadily growing in recent years as Eastern markets develop, and the new emerging media markets in Asia, particularly South Korea, join the global distribution network.

Russian TV production has been so prolific, Discop has scheduled a special pavilion for screenings of Russian-made product by A Media and Central Partnership.

But despite Discop’s new focus, buyers and sellers say they are flocking to the market in 2006 for the same simple reason they did a decade ago: to build relationships.

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