Central European TV event to bow Wednesday

BUDAPESTDiscop, the NATPE-owned Central European programming market, will open its doors Wednesday in Budapest’s Sofitel Hotel for three days of buying and selling, which market organizers expect to be greater in volume, value and pace than in any year since the mart’s inception in 1992.

There is so much buzz surrounding Discop 2008 that major deals have been preceding the event by over a week — a normal occurrence in other TV marts but more of a rarity in this region.

Endemol Intl. announced Monday that it had already made key deals for its content with Bulgaria’s Nova Television Plus, Bulgaria’s TV2, MTV Poland, Ukraine’s QTV and Hungary’s Channel Cool.

On Tuesday, L.A.-based B Wooding Media signed a deal to license “Screamers” to paybox Canal Plus Poland.

“Discop 2008 has more people, more buyers and sellers, more space and a total of 388 exhibitions,” Discop general manager Patrick Jucaud told Variety, adding that 1,789 people had registered for the mart, up 21% on 2007.

Jucaud attributes Discop’s expansion to a flurry of growth in the Central East European (CEE) TV market, specifically the creation of 30 additional digital platforms, each with 10 to 15 channels.

Jucaud says he expects record business at Discop as sellers attempt to “feed the appetite of these new platforms.”

“CEE has become the No. 1 foreign market for international licensing and syndication over territories like Asia,” said Jucaud.

“Culturally speaking, it’s a region that’s easier for sellers to comprehend than Asia,” said Jucaud. “Also in CEE, there is still room for growth in terms of advertising expenditures in this region” as the spending power of East Europeans grows to match that of their counterparts in the West.

As more ad money is pumped into the region, growth will continue. “That money will contribute to new TV stations,” said Jucaud.

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