MOSCOW — As more than 120 reps from stations from around the former Soviet Union gather in Moscow for the region’s first TV Forum, signs may be that, after years of looking toward the West for product, the market is aiming to solidify contacts closer to home.
The forum opened in the Russian capital on Aug. 18, and runs five days. It combines a market with competitions for best feature, documentary and local history programs.
With official blessings from acting CIS Secretary Boris Berezovsky — who himself has major TV interests, including a stake in Russia’s Channel 1, ORT — the event looks like it’s trying to combine political gestures with commercial common sense.
And, with ad revenue for regional channels in Russia showing appreciable growth over the last 18 months, local stations are already a commercial force to be reckoned with.
Various participants said the forum should give them a chance to swap experience, gear up on the latest technical developments and complete deals.
“This event should encourage greater contact between producers, initiate an exchange of ideas and strengthen economic and cultural ties between countries of the CIS and Baltics,” said jury prexy and broadcaster Vladimir Pozner.
As an example, he cited the fact that, in Moscow, he could watch cable product from all around the world — but virtually nothing from regional or CIS stations.
Action over the fest’s opening two days saw Andrei Razumovsky, of Moscow-based Fora Film, announcing joint feature and documentary deals with Lithuania’s CineMark and Estonia’s Lege Artis Film, as well as the launch of a new Kaliningrad regional channel, Balt-TV.