Numbers promising for Discop Africa

NATPE-backed content market lines up 350 attendees

LAS VEGAS -- Attendance at industry events such as Sundance and the ongoing NATPE confab here may be down because of the recession, but a sizable number of movie and TV buyers and sellers are lining up to attend the NATPE-sponsored Discop Africa from Feb. 25-27.

Up until recently, Africa had not participated in the growth in the international commercial TV business.

So far the first such international content market on the continent, to be held in Dakar, Senegal, has lined up 350 registrants, including NBC Universal, Endemol, the BBC and India's Zee TV.

Word is that organizers are mulling a second such event as soon as the fall to take place in Kenya, but a decision will probably be tabled until the Dakar event is assessed.

In any event, the three-day February market will consist of a program trading bazaar, round table discussions and training programs for African TV executives.

Aside from program buyers and sellers, reps from top ad agencies, the Association of Movie Producers of Nigeria, the African Broadcasting Network and the World Bank have signed up to come.

"The massive growth of TV advertising investment and the deployment of pay TV platforms throughout the continent makes Africa one of the world's most dynamic marketplaces right now," Discop GM Patrick Jucaud said.

"And, with the close proximity of the 2010 Fifa World Cup soccer championship and the increasing availability of low-cost TV sets in Africa, the time has never been better for suppliers of finished programs, formats and packaged TV channels, from overseas as well as from the Continent itself to come together and do business."

Discop also puts on a trade show focused on Eastern Europe each June in Budapest and began its partnership with the L.A.-based nonprofit National Association of Television Program Executives four years ago.