Eastern European market in full swing

BUDAPEST — East European TV mart Discop, which opened its doors at Budapest’s Sofitel Hotel on Wednesday with 1,740 buyers and sellers attending, sees formats as a potential bestseller in the deal-making that will take place before it wraps Friday.

Discop organizers anticipate that niche stations will benefit most from the popularity of formats.

European Uunion regulations demand that a certain amount of foreign programming in each market be co-produced. Format programming is a low-cost means to meet this co-production requirement, say Discop organizers, who anticipate there will be tremendous demand for formats among the almost 300 digital stations that have  been launched in Central and Eastern Europe over the last year.

According to Discop general manager Patrick Jucaud, format programming will appeal to thematic channels because these channels are more flexible, creative and cost less to make.

At Discopro on Tuesday, the annual conference that Discop organizers hold on the eve of each year’s market, format distributors from Endemol met 200 producers from the region and went over co-production techniques and regional opportunities.

The best co-production opportunities for Central and East European pay TV channels are documentaries and news magazines, said Jucaud.

HBO Central Europe’s viewer success with high-end documentaries over the past year has underscored the viability of this programming in the CEE markets.

For thematic stations lacking HBO’s resources, formatted news production can be streamlined using repackaged news clips that can be bought like regular programming.

Discop organizers expect telenovelas to be another huge seller, among its 1,050 buyers and 690 sellers (representing 388 sales organizations.) Discop manager Jucaud said that many of the telenovelas on offer “have been reconstructed to reflect the cultural differences of eastern Europe.”

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