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TV stations of ex-USSR unite

Skip Media-funded Teleforum doubles as mart, fest

MOSCOW — Reps of Russian and ex-Soviet TV stations gathered in Moscow from Thursday through Monday for Teleforum, a TV competition cum confab for the region.

With a touch of irony, event opened on the eighth anniversary of the 1991 coup attempt (which set in motion the breakup of the USSR), but in all other ways, mood was upbeat.

Though the cash factor in deals may have been minimal — in fact, barter has proved itself no less effective a method of settlement — confab has done much for far-flung players to reaffirm a sense that they’re still working in a single space.

Results from last year’s forum have also come through, with interest high for a Kazakh-made 264-parter serial “Crossroads” (a prize winner last year) among Russian national channels.

A new regional network, Prometey-AST, which has been broadcasting 24 hours since May to 160-odd cities over the ex-USSR (so far, excluding Moscow), was acknowledged as another direct result of last year’s gathering.

Titled this year “Teleforum Eurasia,” the five-day event effectively doubled as market and TV fest, with more than 300 programs submitted for awards in 11 competition categories.

In a political sense, Teleforum, which will now run on an annual basis, toes a fine ideological line: Though it received formal congratulations from presidents of six participating countries (some of whom count among the most authoritarian regimes of the region), the function is privately initiated and funded, led by local distrib Skip Media.

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