Asia’s woes help fuel Discop’s high

Program sellers turning attention toward Eastern Europe

BUDAPEST — Asia’s misery may be Eastern Europe’s gain.

In the wake of the meltdown of the Asia media markets and U.S. intervention to stave off a collapse of the Japanese yen, program sellers are turning their attention to the emerging territories of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, particularly the Discop ’98 program market to be held in Budapest between June 25 and 27.

Discop, the region’s premier program market, is already reflecting a newfound interest in east Europe’s media markets by the world’s program sellers. To date, a record 300 buyers and 200 sellers are registered to attend, compared with the 260 buyers and 200 sellers who attended Discop ’97.

Big investors”I think the big investors will pull out of Asia and invest in central and eastern Europe,” said Cecilia Hazai, co owner of Budapest based Associated Media Services. “If you look at Mip Asia, it’s going down the drain. And compare this with Discop which is receiving a lot of hype and attention, especially among sellers. Even sellers that will not be attending Discop are contacting me to represent them.”

But not all agree that Asia’s woes are fueling an increased interest in the Discop market.

According to Aurele Rivet, the market’s project manager, Discop — a fixture in this region over the past five years — has cultivated a following among buyers from Budapest to Moscow.

Good opportunity

“TV stations and buyers know us and want to come because Discop is the only occasion for them to meet with distributors,” Rivet says.

Sellers currently registered to arrive in Budapest this week include British and North American heavyweights Pearson, the BBC, the Discovery Channel, Canal Plus, NBC Enterprises and Alliance.

TV stations in major east Euro markets like Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic have already registered to attend the market. Underscoring the evolution of the region, representatives will also be coming from farflung markets like Latvia, Albania, Serbia Montenegro, Uzbekistan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kazakhstan and Croatia.