Attendance rises to record 1,532

Eastern Europe’s broadcasting boom stands to make Discop 2007, the NATPE-owned program market that opened here Wednesday, the most successful in the event’s 15-year history. By noon, the three-day mart had registered 1,532 participants (947 buyers and 380 sellers, represented by upward of 500 execs) up from 1,100 in 2006. That number includes an unprecedented 18 U.S. buyers.

Discop’s pace reflects a regional boom that is unique to the East’s emerging markets.

“The TV market here (in East Europe) follows global patterns, but here the TV business is stronger,” Discop founding manager Patrick Jucaud said. “In the U.S., we’d get complaints of competition with the Internet and that viewers aren’t watching TV anymore. That’s not the case here.

“The region has never been as healthy as it is now.”

One symptom of the region’s prosperity: Longtime regional buyers are participating as sellers. TVN Poland and Star Media Ukraine will be selling their own product in Budapest.

Jucaud said scripted formats are a hot commodity this year. The result is the appearance of numerous East Euro production companies looking for co-production deals, and able to work as full creative partners, he said.

Big-production drama series and telenovelas also are expected to sell.

Other highlights: non-European participants in Discop include Armenia, Jordan, Lebanon and Malaysia. Newcomers include a strong contingent of buyers from Turkey and Greece.

Western Europe is increasing its interest in Discop — France has sent 28 sellers, up from 22 in 2006.

The present of telcos makes IPTV programming a force at the market. 2007 is the second Discop under NATPE ownership, a relationship that has powered the market’s growth.

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