Monte Carlo scraps market

Rival marts and consolidation blamed, Tomatis sez

PARIS — The struggling Monte Carlo TV market is being scrapped, and the accompanying TV festival will be revamped and shifted to July.

David Tomatis, secretary general of the event, blamed the 23-year-old market’s demise on competition from rival gatherings Mip TV, Mipcom and NATPE, as well as industry consolidation and changes in the TV sales business.

“The Monte Carlo market still fulfilled a need, but it had come to concern just a handful of professionals,” Tomatis said Wednesday. “We have anticipated the inevitable and decided to work instead on repositioning the festival.”

Ironically, the Monte Carlo market hadn’t been doing so badly in recent years, coming back from an all-time low of 1,700 participants four years ago to 1,900 this February, thanks to initiatives including the focus on TV formats.

Future dim

But the market’s longer-term prospects did not look good, Tomatis conceded. The Monte Carlo topper opined, “I think there will be fewer and fewer markets, as the business continues to change.”

Axing Monte Carlo will bring an immediate saving of $1 million. Tomatis would not say how extensive the market’s losses were.

Some of the money formerly spent on the market will go toward bolstering a new-look festival budgeted at $1.6 million and skedded for July 1-6, 2002.

“Early July is a good time because people in the industry are not so busy then — and our American participants will be able to celebrate 4th of July in Monte Carlo,” Tomatis said.

The festival, which has been running 42 years, will continue with its awards program, adding a fiction category that will include comedy and drama.

Lure for biz

In a new initiative designed to ensure the industry’s key players keep coming to Monte Carlo, the festival will hold a three-day conference series devoted to writing, direction and production.

Tomatis also announced the date of the next Imagina digital forum, which will take place Feb. 12-14 in Monte Carlo. Having previously organized the event jointly with France’s INA (Institut National de l’Audiovisuel), the Monte Carlo Festival acquired the Imagina brand and took on sole responsibility for the event last year.