Mip TV market attendance was nearing record levels Wednesday, thanks to the growing presence of new-media execs and solid showings for the broadcast and pay TV biz.

With 12,115 registered participants by the confab’s third day, up 1% versus the same time last year, Mip 2006 looks set to outstrip 2005’s record-breaking 12,163 total participants, according to organizer Reed Midem on Thursday.

Almost 1,000 buyers were snapping up product for the Internet, mobile and new media, sometimes in addition to other activities, per a Reed Midem survey.

“The presence of mobile TV and Internet TV execs at Mip was zero just three or four years ago. Also there’s a renewed buzz in buying. For the first time in years, buyers were physically signing deals at the market,” Paul Johnson, managing director of Reed Midem’s TV division, told a press briefing.

TV program buyers jumped 8% to 3,560. Digital media repped some 15% of Reed Midem Mip TV revenues, said Johnson.

For the first time, the U.K. overtook France as the country with the biggest presence at Mip, with 620 exhibiting and participating companies to France’s second-ranking 507. 

“Digital media is very advanced in the U.K., and the BBC had lots of creative content people down here,” Johnson said.

Reed Midem has strengthened its digital media coverage through new initiatives such as a Content 360 digital content pitching contest, with E80,000 ($96,000) in prize money, and the first Intl. Interactive Emmy Awards hosted by thesp Roger Bart.

In those awards, the U.K’s Video Networks picked up Interactive Channel honors for on-demand kids channel Scamp. South Korea’s C.J. CableNet digital TV service Hello D won for Interactive TV service. Interactive Show went to pubcaster France 5’s “Cult Streampower” from PProd.

The inaugural Pioneer Prize was presented to AOL chairman-CEO Jonathan Miller for his contributions to interactive television.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of the television industry with these three new Intl. Interactive Emmy Awards,” said Bruce Paisner, prexy and CEO of the Intl. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which co-sponsored Wednesday evening’s black-tie event with Reed Midem.

The event was the first Emmy ceremony held outside the U.S.

(Elizabeth Guider in Hollywood contributed to this report.)