Market's growing pains leave attendees glowing.

Position:DISCOP East Review
 
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The NATPE-ization of DISCOP, which was held in Budapest, Hungary, June 18-20, has started showing its effects, now that U.S.-based market, NATPE, has finally taken over, bringing its supervisory expertise to the conference. The growth of this Central and Eastern European market has been described as phenomenal, to the point where, if not kept under control, it is said that it could turn out to be problematic.

With 1,729 total participants (up from 1,522 in 2007) one could clearly see the market growth everywhere--from the added fourth floor, to the new tables in the basement, to the longer corridors with more hotel suites turned into sales offices at the Sofitel.

For some distributors, such as Germany's Bavaria Media, DISCOP has become so important that, according to its head of Distribution, Oliver Kreuter, it requires the premiering of new shows, just like MIP-TV and MIPCOM.

But many exhibitors had hoped that the growth was going to be organic and not pumped-up. Already, signs of growing pains showed up in services such as shipping, AV readiness and hotel reservations. Some exhibitors also worried that the ratio of sellers to buyers cannot remain as it has been, tilted toward the buying side. Indeed, the major challenge for DISCOP's organizers could be how to manage growth.

At least two resourceful exhibitors, Italy's Mondo TV and Canada's The Fremantle Corp., posted copies of VideoAge open to their ads as replacements for brochures that were stuck in customs.

Other than that, the market was good for most participants, many of whom were looking forward to attending DISCOP Africa, to be held in Dakar, Senegal, February 25-27, 2009. Among the main events there is a planned meeting of all French-language African TV networks. At press time, more than 200 companies had already signed up as exhibitors.

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Going back to DISCOP East, one observation had been that Budapest has become a very expensive city, and perhaps a thought should be given to moving the market further East to Bucharest, Romania in 2010 since distributors have contracts for the Sofitel's venue through 2009. Reportedly, Romania could offer at least 40 percent savings and, according to one Romanian buyer, the market could be held at the Marriott Hotel. DISCOP...

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