Digital dominates Mediencongress

German producers still fighting to retain foreign rights

BERLIN -- As in previous years, this year's Mediencongress -- part of Germany's traditional Medienwoche and technology confab IFA -- focused on the digital frontier: how to handle it, adjust to it, maximize its profits and, of course, how to split the dough in the end.

The latter subject was at the fore of the panel "New Terms of Trade," in which representatives from Germany's new producer's association Allianz Deutscher Produzenten argued for a better split in digital ancillary rights. The subject is a tough one, considering that German TV producers are still fighting to retain foreign rights and escape the full buyout deals common here.

The discussion turned out, in the words of several participants, to be "rather cuddly," but this could be because both parties are still in closed-door negotiations.

The state of digital cinema also was a recurring theme, with digital screens being added worldwide and 3-D a driving factor thanks to a noticeable upswing in appealing product.

Prominent speakers this year included Fox Reality Channel president David Lyle and BBC head Mark Thompson as well as many more panelists from worldwide media companies and institutions. The Medienkongress was attended by more than 2,100 participants from 21 countries, a new record.