East Europe market scores record participants

BUDAPEST — The 15th Discop programming market, in its soph year under NATPE, may well be remembered as ushering in a sea change for the event.

According to organizers, the confab, which ran June 20-22, scored a record number of participants: 1,327 (947 buyers and 380 sellers) registered the first morning. But even more important as the market unfolded over multiple floors of Budapest’s Sofitel Atrium Hotel, buyers and sellers noted a level of business activity, professionalism and purpose that hadn’t existed in even the best of the previous 15 markets.

“It wasn’t just that everyone showed up to meetings,” says seller Cecilia Hazai, managing director of Budapest-based Twin Media. “This year, we had no no-shows. People came to the meetings with offers. They had structures worked out, and they were buying.”

Deals scored include:

  • MTV Networks Intl. sold rights to its lucrative ‘SpongeBob SquarePants” to Albania’s Top Channel and Macedonia’s A1, furthering its reach into Europe’s emerging markets.

  • Copenhagen’s Zodiak Television World announced fresh deals with the U.S., Spain, Romania and Benelux for reality format “Supernerds.”

  • All3Media Intl. sold parts of series “Midsomer Murders” to Romania’s Pro TV, which also purchased Company Picture’s “Elizabeth I.”

  • Viasat Slovenia bought the crime drama “Outrageous Fortune.”

Participants attribute Discop’s success to the market’s strong organization, headed by g.m. Patrick Jucaud and his company Paris-based Basic Lead, and Discop’s acquisition by U.S. market NATPE.

For NATPE president Rick Feldman, Discop’s steady expansion has been a surprise.

“(Growth) has been quicker than I thought it would be,” Feldman says. “In three years, the show has doubled. It’s amazing, and we expect it to keep on growing.”

Feldman says Discop gives NATPE a global perspective and a chance to better understand its sellers. Many of the Latin American telenovela producers who frequent NATPE are also selling at Discop. Feldman says meeting with these people “twice a year rather than once fosters a greater development of that relationship.”

Jucaud credited Discop’s growth with a boom in the region’s broadcast industry.

“The TV market here (in East Europe) follows global patterns, but here the TV business is stronger,” Jucaud says. “The region has never been as healthy as it is now.”

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