Spain confab spotlights digital en espanol

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MADRID -- The International Forum on Digital Contents launching here Tuesday aims to become the world's most comprehensive Spanish-language digital content event -- focusing on the entire value chain of content and acting as a nexus between all the agents involved in the sector.

An initiative of Spain's Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce, FICOD expects about 800 executives from every sector linked to digital content to discuss trends, successes and failures and upcoming projects.

"The Spanish government saw a need to create a grand platform that values the Spanish-language digital content industry for the international market, which includes all of the Spanish industry, the Latin American industry and the U.S. industry operating and developing in Spanish," Ministry technical director Eduardo Ferrer said. "There is no such event right now that represents all of the sectors."

FICOD's goal is nothing short of creating an international point of reference for the Spanish-language digital content industry.

"It used to be that local content was in local languages, but content is increasingly more global on the Internet," Boston Consulting Group's Madrid-based general manager Jose Manuel Mendez said. "The fact that Spanish is spoken by so many people in the world means there necessarily must be more content in Spanish."

The event kicks off with an opening address by Spanish Industry Minister Joan Clos, followed by the ministry's presentation of 20 awards for particularly innovative companies in the digital content microcosm.

Of the 20 awardees, a cluster hails from the film and television sector: exhibitor Ricardo Evole of Yelmo Films, producer Enrique Cerezo of producers' rights entity EGEDA, producer Ignacio Perez Dolset of Ilion Studios, producer Manuel Cristobal of animation house Perro Verde, producer Jose Maria Castillejo of Zinkia (creator of "Pocoyo"), producer Miguel Angel Doncel of SGO and Nikodemo Animacion and Oscar Portillo of Explora Films.

Secretary of Telecommunications Francisco Ros is expected to attend, as well as Mundia vp Jose Antonio Rios, Red.es general manager Sebastian Muriel, and Fundacion Barcelona Digital's Eduardo Alonso and Vicenc Gasulla. IAB Spain's Aquilino Pena will open the conference with a roundtable discussion on "The Importance of Content in the Information Society."

Unlike GSM, the world's leading wireless confab, FICOD is a Spanish-language event and not limited to the mobile phone industry.

"Our objective is to create a space to seek formulas for new business models and for all of the sectors to be present," Ferrer said. "There will be producers, distributors, financing, audience research and measuring companies. The entire value chain must be represented here because all of them have something to say."

The three-day schedule of events encompasses the main issues affecting the sector, with about 250 top brass participating in panels including "Rethinking the Web: Strengths and Weaknesses," "Spanish as an Asset in the Digital Content Market," "Media: Connected 24 hours," "The Music Industry Is Reinvented with the Internet," "Advertising: The Decisive Factor in Managing the Change," "Models of Financing and Exporting," "Screen Convergence in the Information Society," "Videogames: Animation and New Social Habits," "Theaters and Programming: Criteria of Profitability" and "The chain of value in the digital business."

Parallel events include a conference on intellectual property issues to be held Wednesday and Thursday.
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