Discop TV market boasts record biz

This year's edition heavy on DVD distribution deals

BUDAPEST — Developing as fast as the territories it represents, Discop 2005, Eastern Europe’s premier TV market, scored record attendance and business in Budapest from June 23-25.

With 523 buyers among the 989 participants, up 200 from last year, Discop continued its mandate of bringing buyers from the former East Bloc and Soviet Union in contact with international sellers.

“This was one of the biggest Discops yet,” said Andrew Prince, director of production company Ontheglobe.com. “A lot of business was done.”

This year’s Discop was notable for a surge in DVD distribution deals, and Discop manager Patrick Jucaud said this underscored an Eastern European trend.

“The DVD business in the region is growing at an unbelievable speed,” Jucaud said, thanks to a decrease in piracy and the falling cost of players.

Discop added buyers from Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Lebanon for the first time to its usual roster of 30 buyers from East Euro markets. “This means a pan-regional business is growing and taking shape in this part of Europe,” Jucaud said.

But it was the performance of Discop’s core participants, buyers from the East Block and Balkans, that impressed sellers.

“The real business came from former Yugoslavia, territories like Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia,” said Cecilia Hazai, owner of Budapest-based distributor Twin Media. “These markets are booming, and the business is becoming sophisticated.”

She said telenovelas continued to draw dollars. Reality programming also sold well, but distribs said the genre is declining in the east.

Great interest was generated by the miniseries “Karol,” a chronicle of the life of Pope John Paul II, distributed by Mediatrade.

Up-market documentaries also proved popular among buyers; anticipating this demand, the 2005 Academy Award-winning doc “Born Into Brothels” was screened in Budapest for the market.

Buyers also secured Indian titles from Bollywood’s Eros Network, which flogged its extensive archive of Bollywood favorites.

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