'Business as usual' for Beta Film at MIPCOM

Jan Mojto finds humor in financial crisis at annual brunch

CANNES -- Beta Film CEO Jan Mojto made light of the financial crisis at MIPCOM's annual Beta Brunch on Tuesday, telling guests that the German behemoth is now accepting bars of gold in payment.

"We have had our sales force in training, mostly weight-training, for several weeks," Mojto said in his witty welcome to the SRO gathering, where a smattering of guests could not fit through the doors of the Majestic Hotel hall.

"It would be unfair of me to criticize our investment banker colleagues, but if any of you should happen to visit us in Munich and be driven in a taxi by a smart, young MBA graduate -- the same graduate advising you on your latest takeover last week -- be sure to tip the man well," he said.

Before serving a light lunch, Beta presented a flashy reel of polished programming, supporting Mojto's assertions this week that Germany came the closest in continental Europe to emulating U.S. production values.

Highlights were shown of the telefilm "Run for Your Life," about a former drug addict; classical music series "Puccini"; historical docu "Sissi -- Enigma of the Empress"; and a feature film about '80s German rock act Falco.

The mixture of fast-paced, new-world sensationalism and slow-moving, old-world culture appears to be working well for the company.

"It has been business as usual," Beta sales head Dirk Schurhoff said of business so far at MIPCOM. "We don't know about next year, but there are no complaints for now."