International TV Execs Attend New Europe Market Launch, Discuss Boosting Business

New event brings together content providers, operators and sales execs focused on South Eastern Europe.

DUBROVNIK, Croatia – Television, cable and advertising executives from across Europe and the U.S. gathered Wednesday to look at ways of boosting business in south-east Europe.

The New Europe Market (NEM) – the first television industry conference and market held in the region, draws together key players in a region that is one of the hottest emerging markets in Europe.

Top speakers that include Colin McLeod, head of emerging markets for Universal Networks International, John Florescu, CEO of U-based media sales company Centrade, Colin Lawrence, distribution director for BBC World News and Dragan Solak, founder and chairman of United Group, that brings together regional pay-TV outlets, will look at the challenges and opportunities across a region with a population of 155 million, GDP twice the size of New York state (around $2,330 trillion) and more than 1,600 television stations.

Among a range of topics panelists will discuss the critical importance of getting content right, challenges to local advertising sales, the growing market diversification and division of audiences between young online, TV-everywhere users and older more traditional viewers, and the future of TV news.

McLeod said the importance of having a clearly banded presence in television markets worldwide was one of the factors behind the recent launch of the new Universal Channel that has been rolling out across Asia, Africa and Central Europe in the past ten days.

“Brand is key. If you can get the brand right the audience will follow,” McCleod said.

Nina Laricheva, London-based vp global affiliate sales for BBC Worldwide, said the region was a dynamic one that offered rich possibilities.

“We've recently launched BBC Knowledge in Romania, Hungary and Slovenia as a way of giving fans of the BBC's strong factual programming the opportunity to see their favorite shows on our own brand channel," she said.

“The challenge in the region is reach different audiences with different languages.”

Unlike BBC World News, which carries advertising and sponsor messages, there is currently no advertising on BBC Knowledge, which makes money through deals with cable and satellite operators, she added.

Sanja Bozic-Ljubicic, founder of NEM, said the market filled met a need for an event that brings together content providers, operators and marketing executives.

“It's a holistic approach that offers opportunities for big international players to get together with regional players in a region that has always been a very keen consumer of television,” she said.

NEM – which runs through Friday was formally opened with a video address by market patron Croatian president Ivo Josipovic.

Croatia joins the European Union on July 1 when, under the EU's "television without frontiers" directive, 50 percent of all content screened will need to be of European origin and 10 percent locally produced.