Confab takes digital byte

U.S. cable biz to serve as comparative model

COLOGNE — This year’s Cologne Conference TV programming fest and media conference will focus on the digitization of broadcasting.

Showcasing international TV programming trends, the June 17-23 confab is part of the larger Medienforum NRW media fair, which features the U.S. as this year’s partner country.

The U.S. cable industry will serve as comparative models for Germany’s burgeoning digital business and new regulatory challenges.

Panel discussions will feature Wolfram Winter, head of Universal Studio Networks Deutschland; Brian Seth Hurst of L.A.-based the Opportunity Management Co.; and Ute Biernat of Cologne-based production outfit Grundy Light Entertainment.

The Cologne Conference fest features a selection of fare up for awards in two competition sections: Top Ten Fiction and Top Ten Non-Fiction.

This year’s lineups include Warner Bros. Intl. Television’s “Nip/Tuck” as well as HBO Prods. and Warner Bros.’ “Carnivale.”

While all entries will be having their German premieres, “Nip/Tuck” has been picked up by pay web Premiere. U.S. productions in the nonfiction competition include “Capturing the Friedmans” and “Long Gone.”

Event will also compensate for the cancelled Telemesse fair, the German industry’s TV advertising confab that was the traditional platform for broadcasters to present new shows and programming trends.

ProSiebenSat 1, Haim Saban’s multichannel broadcasting group, is partnering with event organizers as an official sponsor of the Cologne Conference.

ProSieben, one of the group’s main channels, will showcase its fall sked. The web carries primarily U.S. fare aimed at younger auds.

Roger Schawinski, managing director of sister channel Sat 1, will present the web’s upcoming event movie “Kingdom in Twilight.” Pic, based on the Nibelungen saga, stars Kristanna Loken, Alicia Witt and Benno Fuermann as Siegfried the dragon slayer.

This year’s Retrospective honors composer Lalo Schifrin, who will attend the event.