The Mess & Maze with MENA, CEE, CIS, Balkans, and Baltics: And let's not get started with CAS, Benelux, and Iberia.


In addition to a multitude of IP rights and windows, the international television content sales sector is now faced with another issue --that of how to define several countries for content sales purposes which lack a standardized classification. Companies and international organizations are constantly redrawing the contours of said regions, making everything seem much more complicated than it needs to be.

For example, it is important to figure out what exactly constitutes Eastern Europe. Organizers of NATPE Budapest--the market that, for all practical purposes, caters to the region--would not touch the topic, but looking at a map, one could indicate (in alphabetical order): Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.

Not so, according to The Economist, which not long ago ran a piece saying that, in the post-Communist world, Eastern Europe has moved even further east and now includes Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine.

Other experts refer to Belarus as part of the Russia-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) group, while Georgia and Ukraine are supposed to be CIS associates. But considering their conflict with Russia, it's probably safe not to include Ukraine among the CIS countries. This is similar to the situation with Georgia, which wants to join NATO.

Patrick Zuchowicki of Basic Lead, who created and organized the Budapest TV market before selling it to NATPE in 2011, said that to define Eastern Europe it's best to use the list from Europe's Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, and the three Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Then, there is a more complex Eastern Europe definition given by Wikipedia, which includes classifications from the World Factbook (compiled by the CIA) and Eurovoc (an E.U. publication used by some U.S. studios). Indeed, each studio looks at Eastern Europe a little differently with regards to territories.

To Lionsgate's Peter Iacono, for TV sales rights purposes, there is no "Central Europe" anymore (only Western Europe), and since it is no longer "politically correct" to refer to Eastern Europe as such, he uses the acronym CEE (which means Central and Eastern Europe, but has less of a negative connotation), instead.

Iacono's view is echoed by Tim Horan, CEO of London-based TV Tomorrow, who spent many years in Moscow and said...

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