Buyers get ready to Rendez-Vous

Big pickup in attendance a good sign for market

Small screen, big rewards | French TV biz keeps animators hopping | Buyers get ready to Rendez-Vous | Franco files

The international TV market is back, says TV France Intl.’s CEO Mathieu Bejot. And he has some figures to prove it.

Buyer attendance at TVFI’s Biarritz Rendez-Vous, the French TV screenings event, ran at 160 in 2009.

This year, accreditations were already north of 200 by late July.

Attendance “is back to before crisis levels, even a little better,” says Bejot.

“Though times are tough, last year’s crisis seems to be over.”

In a lesson for the industry at large, TVFI has, in an effort to tie down attendees, simply “worked a lot, sending out invitations in mid-March, following up and doing much more marketing than usual.”

Also, TVFI has chartered an Air France Paris-Biarritz flight to access the market. The number of shows that can be viewed at the market is up 50% to about 1,200. Half are new, another half in HD.

Buyers need little persuasion to attend. Ensconced in Biarritz Belle Epoque splendor and ending with a Brindos Chateau dinner, the Rendez-Vous is a favorite fixture thanks to its organizers’ unshowy professionalism and the chance to mix business and pleasure. Evening events include a Sept. 7 French animation dinner and Sept. 8 soiree-presentation of Arte-backed docudrama “The Destiny of Rome.”

There’s also the pulling power of the French TV export industry, one of continental Europe’s largest.

“There have been massive structural changes, but business has certainly picked up in 2010. Broadcasters have more money for acquisitions and have been delaying them for a long time,” Bejot says.

Reflecting that, French exhibitors are up to 60, an all-time record — another indicator of an industry on the rebound.

New sales shingles include Film & Picture TV Distribution, Le Pacte and Le Petit Bureau, Toon Factory and Cat & Docs.

The Rendez-Vous runs Sept. 6-10.

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