Amazia organizers tout fast start for sign-ups


CANNES -- Bookings for the first digital-heavy Amazia exhibition and conference event in Hong Kong in November have exceeded expectations, according to director Franz Caduc.

The new Reed-Midem gathering targets the audio-visual, music and games industries from East and West, and Caduc said at a news briefing during Midem on Wednesday that 40 contracts have been signed with companies that plan to be there, with high interest expressed by 200 more.

Caduc said he expects 3,000 participants at what he called the first-ever business-to-business exhibition and conference market for the providers of all entertainment forms on all delivery platforms.

"We feel that all these industries are converging and it makes sense to bring them together to do the same business they do at other markets," Caduc said. "Midem for us was the start of the sales process and the response has been very positive. It is ahead of our initial expectations."

Caduc said the event, which runs Nov. 17-20, will have a structure similar to that of Midem, starting with a two-day conference and continuing with three days of doing business.

"We have a lot of interest from Japan, Korea and China, and also from India," he said. "We have the opportunity to attract companies in Asia that would not come to Europe."

Promising more information about Amazia in the coming months, Caduc offered a general outline.

"From Nov. 17-18 it will be a summit gathering with keynotes and multiple conference tracks about cross-media, with the emphasis very much on the future of digital," Caduc said. "From Nov. 18-20, there will be three days of exhibition plus a series of seminars that will be more business oriented. There will be showcases and workshops on how to do business in Asia."

Caduc observed that Asia is the most advanced region for mobiles, with more than 50% of broadband and 3G users there. "In Japan, 90% of music downloads are to mobile phones whereas it is mostly to via the Internet elsewhere," he said. "All the countries where the digital revolution has exceeded traditional platforms are in Asia -- Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia and Indonesia."

Some concern has been expressed about the logic of having two shows for the same region three weeks apart, with Amazia taking place in Hong Kong from Nov. 17-20 and the Asian Television Forum in Singapore from Dec. 10-12.

But Caduc said: "The positive response to Amazia reflects the importance that key Asian players and their international counterparts from the entertainment industry give to this forum. The evolution of the market towards the convergence of all content genres on digital platforms is clearly illustrated by the astonishing rate at which the exhibition area is filling."