Market Under Siege By Sellers, Internal Issues, And Competitors.


That the recently concluded DISCOP Johannesburg in South Africa was problematic goes without saying. And while in Joburg for DISCOP, VideoAge wanted to understand the reasons behind this crisis, so we spoke with DISCOP chief Patrick Zuchowicki to get his take on the criticism he faced.

Zuchowicki, a veteran organizer of TV markets in developing regions, attributed the decrease in participation mostly to the conflict in dates with MIP Cancun, caused by Reed MIDEM moving its event to conflict with his after DISCOP had already committed to the third week of November.

He then explained that the slips in efficiency on the organizers' part were due to a reduction in staff, a consequence of the 25 percent loss of revenues caused by the aforementioned decrease in attendance.

Zuchowicki hopes to solve these problems with a drastic change of dates. In 2020, DISCOP Johannesburg will be held July 29-31. He explained this choice by saying that holding the event in July--a time of year much less crowded with markets and showcases--will attract more executives, and leverage and establish synergies with the growing DISCOP Abidjan event--his second African market, scheduled for May. In addition, the earlier date will (hopefully) mean that acquisition budgets will be less depleted, and that more sales can happen.

Finally, Zuchowicki reassured participants that this year's inadequate and faulty database will be replaced with an efficient new platform that will work year-round.

The eighth annual edition of DISCOP Johannesburg took place November 20-22 (the same exact dates as MIP Cancun in Mexico). About 115 distribution companies attended the Africa-centric trade show, and over 700 participants came from 59 countries.

The event was housed on the lower level of the Sandton Convention Centre--instead of the main floor where the action usually takes place --because the main floor was occupied this time around by the International Consumer Electronics Expo. Panels and master classes were also held on the lower level, in a space called the Main Theatre, which allowed participants to quickly transfer from the market aisles to the talk zone.

In addition to stands and pavilions--from South Africa, the U.S., France, the U.K., and China--the exhibiting floor housed viewing boxes and a new "WeMeetLounge," an area with meeting tables.

The more intimate layout of the market, however, was viewed positively by most participants, even though, as already indicated, mixed...

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