MIPCOM thrives amid tough times

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Downturn, what downturn? Not yet, anyway. That was the message from media trade show organizers Reed Midem on Thursday as it divulged the stats so far from the 24th annual MIPCOM TV sales bazaar and confab, which wraps today.

Reed Midem TV topper Paul Johnson said the organizers were "pleased with the numbers" of participants, registered program buyers and companies participating despite the economic problems in major markets, though he did note that the TV advertising market in many territories as well as consumer spending could be difficult for many months to come.

"We had record attendance, and we have some very important emerging markets," Johnson said, putting particular emphasis on Russia, whose participation grew 100%, and on the Mideast, where it was up 50%. He noted "the enormous capital earmarked for media investment" in the former and a $100 million program partnership just inked by Abu Dhabi with National Geographic as indications of the growth opportunities in those regions.

Spain, too, he said, continues to impress, with a national TV program export business now worth several billion dollars a year.

As for the two-day children's market MIPCOM Jr., which preceded the five-day MIPCOM, Johnson said there was a 23% increase in the number of unique viewings of programs — he put the figure at 43,000 viewings in two days — and a 20% increase in participants at the event.

Looking forward, Johnson said one focus for April's sister program market MIPTV would be on guiding companies in the right direction so that they can identify new business opportunities and clients. Too many sellers, for example, only deal with the buyers they're familiar with rather than seeking out new players. Reed Midem intends to make new business relationships easier, especially, he said, because the economic climate could be challenging.

For one thing, a new branded Web portal will be unveiled in January, which will have more interactive features.

"It's hard to produce a fresh, competitive market twice a year," Johnson said. "We're always looking for new ways to do things." (partialdiff)
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