The Ups and Downs of a Successful Market Facing Several Tricky Issues.

Too much success might be unhealthy for MIP Cancun. This, in a nutshell, is the assessment coming from several past exhibitors about this upcoming MIP Cancun market, to be held November 20-22. In fact, some of them are planning to attend as participants.

Their rationale is that the ratio of sellers to buyers no longer works in their favor because Reed MIDEM, the market's organizer, tends to fill the acquisitions' list with non-qualitative buyers in order to meet the up to 13 one-on-one meetings-per-day quota that is guaranteed to exhibitors. According to Benedicte Touchard de Morant, director of MIP Cancun, there will be 13 one-to-one meetings on day one and 13 on day two for distribution companies. On the third day, there will be seven meetings.

"By attending as a participant I can save $2,500 and have five qualitative meetings (that I can pick), rather than spending $6,000 as an exhibitor and have no quality meetings because I'm forced to see buyers picked by the organizers," commented one past exhibitor who wished to remain anonymous.

It is important to point out, however, that the selection of the participating acquisition companies is a long process in which both the exhibitors and the organizers go back and forth. And even though it is not perfect, the exhibitors are ultimately able to accept or reject a good number of the buyers they want to meet with.

Nonetheless, added another past exhibitor, "I was booked for the required 25-minute meeting with a food TV network buyer, who attended because it was an all-expenses-paid trip. Naturally, he wasn't interested in the dramas, children's shows, or documentaries that I was selling, so he sat there listening with a wandering mind."

At recent MIP Cancun editions, there were also complaints that some buyers were a little too honest when approaching the exhibitors' tables, telling the execs sitting there outright that it was a dearth of funds that kept them from purchasing content.

Another factor determining the sellers' critical assessment of the market is that small TV stations and networks in Central and South America are stuffing their morning-to-afternoon schedules with locally produced programming consisting mainly of talk, news, gossip, and formats, while primetime schedules are filled by Turkish dramas. This leaves few time slots for other programs.

In addition, innovative approaches to sales have not been successful. Past MIP Cancun exhibitors reported that selling shows as...

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