Pay TV rules busy Midia

Timing of event saps Latin American buyers

MADRID — The ever-lengthening shadow of pay TV fell over the third edition of Midia ’98, the three-day, Latin American film and TV market which wrapped Thursday in Madrid.

An attempt to forge a production and sales bridge between Spain and Europe on the one hand and Latin America on the other, Midia would make far less sense without pay TV.

And, while many participants quizzed by Daily Variety thought the third edition of Midia “far busier, with more people,” than previous editions, the main question facing the event was whether Midia made much sense at all.

Behind L.A.

“Midia starts off with two large challenges. Firstly, it takes place just after the L.A. Screenings, which is attended by nearly all the big Latin American buyers. Secondly, Spanish programming is not a priority for Latin America,” said Francisco Rodriguez, director of top indie sales outfit PPM MultiMedia.

Pushed by the Spanish government and powerful producers lobby Fapae, Midia attracted a near clean sweep of Spain’s top film and TV players. Eighty percent of this market’s 77 exhibitors were Spanish. In contrast, beyond HBO Latin America, big Latin American buyers were conspicuously absent.

Sensibly this year, Spanish producers body Anepa, one of the co-organizers of Midia, opened up a second front for Midia, organizing a Co-production Project Market, attended by 63 film and TV companies from 18 countries.