TIFFCOM Tokyo Market Closes with Buyers and Exhibitors up but Deals Scarce

The contents market accompanying Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) moved to a larger, new venue on the reclaimed island of Odaiba, 20 minutes from the main fest venue, this year.

TOKYO - The 9th edition of the TIFFCOM market closed its three-day run on Thursday with a record 229 exhibitors, despite withdrawals from China, nearly a thousand registered buyers and foot traffic up on previous years, but deals thin on the ground in a crowded fall market season.
Participants were positive about the increased space in the new venue in the basement of the Grand Pacific Le Daiba hotel, with buyers staying upstairs, but less enthused about the distance from central Tokyo and the main festival venue in Roppongi Hills.
The 30 percent rise in the fees for booths saw some companies use the lobby, lounges and coffee shop in the hotel for meetings.
 “The new venue is spacious and our booth is bigger than previous TIFFCOMs, though the price has gone up too,” said Alex Oe of CJ E&M, the drama-focused subsidiary of Korea’s CJ Entertainment. “But TIFFCOM is one of our key markets.”
Despite some political tensions between Japan and Korea, the situation has had nothing like the effect the recent China-Japan spat has, and Korean companies made up the largest group of overseas exhibitors.
“We had lots of meetings, but with them booked in every half an hour, it’s not enough time to sign contracts; we’ll be following up by email after the market, or meeting again at the next market, with some negotiations going on until Hong Kong Filmart next year,” said Shoko Otani of Geneon Universal.
With Busan beforehand and AFM after, TIFFCOM has become the middle stage of three-part negotiations for many buyers and sellers.  
A number of market participants suggested that Busan and TIFFCOM should consider holding markets in alternate years, though with both receiving support from their respective governments, and national pride at stake, that is never likely to happen.
TIFFCOM continued its ‘broad church’ approach to contents, joined in the venue this year by the Tokyo International Music Market, Tokyo International Anime Festival, and Creative Market Tokyo, featuring character-related content.
With first-time exhibitors taking around half of the booths, and a certain novelty value about the new venue, its 10th edition next year may be the test for TIFFCOM to show how well it has established itself on the global market circuit.
TIFF runs until Oct 28.