MIP-TV Preview: The Good, The Bad, And The Usual.

These days, TV market organizers scrutinize the number of buyers--not exhibitors--at competing markets as a measure of an event's success. So it was that MIP-TV executives at NATPE were reported to be combing through the Miami market's published reports to assess this element in preparation for their own challenge some 70 days later.

The issue of the participation of acquisition executives at MIP-TV --set to take place April 8-11--is rather fluid. The major baits (in this case the large U.S. studios) are not readily available as only a few will be exhibiting, and the acquisition pool is shrinking with the defection of buyers from Latin America who are busy preparing for the L.A. Screenings (May 14-23, see separate story).

Contributing to this shrinkage are other TV trade events taking place before, during, and immediately after MIP-TV, such as the Berlinale (February 7-17), the BBC Showcase (February 17-20), Filmart Hong Kong (March 18-21), Series Mania (March 22-30), NAB (April 6-11), and Rio Content (April 23-28).

In fact, several U.S.-based TV distribution companies attended the BBC Showcase in England, including Lionsgate, whose execs went to London on February 20 and 21 to screen the company's new content. Others, like Warner Bros. International Television Production, co-hosted the Formats Festival (along with ITV Studios) on Friday, February 15 at the Ham Yard Hotel in London. Both companies presented their latest global format opportunities.

However, MIP-TV executives are trying to show potential exhibitors that their quest to find more buyers never ends, just like finding new and exciting opportunities for both buyers and sellers also never ends.

A new element that will be introduced this year is pre-scheduled meetings with buyers. This isn't anything new for MIP-TV organizers Reed MIDEM, as they premiered the concept at MIP Cancun six years ago. However, it is new for MIP-TV. These prescheduled meetings represent an innovation to the traditional trade show model, which tasks exhibitors with setting up their own appointments.

Then there is the MIPDrama Buyers Summit (formerly MIPDrama Screenings), which will return for the fourth time--together with an associated conference on trends (from the producers' perspective), but sans the attached competition element--from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sun day, April 7, the day before MIP-TV officially opens for business.

Laurine Garaude of Reed MIDEM, the MIP-TV organizer, explained that the...

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