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Filmart 2012: Market Mood Mixed on Day One

Dealmakers are largely optimistic, but some express concern over new floor plan and quiet start.

 

HONG KONG - The Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (Filmart) opened for business Monday with exhibitors giving mixed responses to the first day of the four-day event. Buyers from mainland China were, perhaps unsurprisingly, reported to be both more numerous and more active, while visitors from Europe and America remain thin on the ground.

“The first day is always the busiest and Filmart is good for us because Korean TV dramas are really popular across Asia. I’ve got 15 meetings booked today,” said Juyeong Han from KBS Media. “It’s basically the market for Asian buyers, and we’ll see the Europeans and Americans at MIP next month.”

“It’s been quite busy in the China booths. We’ve been seeing quite a lot of visitors from Taiwan and South East Asia. We’re happy so far,” said Lei Sicheng, manager for Asia-Pacific at China Film Promotion International.

Not everyone is quite so positive though, with some exhibitors reporting foot traffic being down on last year.

“In the morning it was quite busy, but to be honest this afternoon has been kind of quiet. But our meeting schedule is fully booked, so we’re feeling okay,” said Mia Sin, distribution executive for the Universe Film Distribution Company from Hong Kong.

“It looks like there are fewer people around this year, though maybe it’s just this area around our booth,” said one exhibitor, who asked not to be identified.

The rearranging of the booth layout into areas according to country, rather than industry sector as in previous years, has also garnered mixed reactions.

“It makes more sense to have the TV companies with the other TV companies, and the movies all together. People come looking for the type of content they want to buy, not for a country,” commented one buyer.

Overall though, reactions to the market appear positive.

“I think the crowd is great so far this year, I really do. It’s too early to talk about deals, but there’s been good traffic and that’s why we come here. I think Filmart is doing a good job,” said Darrin G. Ramage, president of Acort International (U.S.), who has attended every Filmart. “Considering how the DVD market has been devastated over the last five years, which is what a lot of us always used to come for, I’m impressed how they’ve kept the crowds strong. And it’s a hell of a lot bigger than it was back at the first one 16 years ago.”

Additional reporting by Patrick Brzeski