The Los Angeles Screenings, this mysterious, almost mythical event, is causing many sleepless nights for MIP-TV organizers and, even after 35 years, is still leaving international distributors either upset or dumbfounded. This year, Video Age's L.A. Screenings Web site generated more inquiries as to the nature of the Screenings than questions about the fluctuating screening dates, proving that there isn't yet a universal understanding of how the Screenings work.
Video Age asked distributors hailing from Canada, Columbia, France, South Africa, the U.K. and the U.S. about their opinions of the L.A. Screenings.
According to Henrietta Hurford-Jones, deputy sales director of London-based Hit Entertainment, the L.A. Screenings "is one of the key markets in targeting our Latin American clients." For Tony Fadel, president of TV Planet in Miami, "It's an excellent opportunity to see what's new in American television, and to spend some time with programming and production executives in our industry"
Maria Lucia Hernandez Frieri, director of International Sales at RCN Television in Colombia, rated the L.A. Screenings a 10 "on a scale of one to 10." Unapix International's Managing Director Scott Hanock, applying the same scale, rated the Screenings "a three."
Richard Hammer, senior vp at South Africa's Global Programming Network, claimed that the Screenings were "unique," because they "provide a forum for people to connect ... people who might never have seen each other wandering through the labyrinth of the Palais in Cannes." In addition, Hammer reflected, "being held here [in Los Angeles], the entertainment capital of the world, provides us with local access to the key decision-makers in the U.S."
According to Parisian Morgann Favennec of Salsa Distribution, the L.A. Screenings "is the second most important market after NATPE. However, it may be No. 1 this year because at NATPE, a great majority of our clients advised us they would not make any buying decisions before the L.A. Screenings."
In the view of Victoria Valius of Toronto's ChumCity, the L.A. Screenings are important because of the Latin American business. As far as territories in which distributors tend to focus more, Hurford-Jones declared that "we target almost exclusively the Central and South Americans, since our U.S. office handles the North American business. Markets such as MIP and MIPCOM continue to be more focused on the European business for us." Salsa, on the other hand, is more...