DISCOP makes sellers happy, with few setbacks. (East European TV).
The TV for Afghanistan Initiative will assist the recently re-launched Afghan broadcaster after having been shut down five years ago by the former Taliban government.
In launching the initiative, Abdul Hamid Mobarez, Deputy Minister of Information and Publication at the Ministry of Information and Culture, which is in charge of the reconstruction of Afghan TV, was to be the guest of honor at the DISCOP 2002 TV market, but he did not show up because, as VideoAge later learned, he could not enter Hungary because he was traveling under international refugee papers (with no visa stamp) instead of traveling with his diplomatic passport. These papers had been provided to him by the French government while he lived in France, where he resided for 14 years. He later recognized this mistake as his own and did not blame the Hungarians.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Budapest-based DISCOP is the only event dedicated to television professionals involved in fast-developing territories. Some 308 buyers attended the market, representing over 145 major broadcasters and Pay-TV services from Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia, China and Vietnam, making it a 30 percent increase from the previous year. Thirty new TV operators from Serbia-Montenegro, the Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and China were among those present. This year's large Chinese delegation included 15 programming and acquisitions executives that flew over from Beijing, Sichuan and Shanghai specifically to buy off-peak TV programming. Participants also included public broadcasters from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Esronia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia; regional broadcasters from 15 countries; pay TV service operators from 18 countries and many local independent distributors buying programs and technologies on behalf of various television operators.
TV distributors were also represented by numerous international companies including CableReady, Chum TV, Mondo TV, The Fremantle Corporation, Distraction, Globo TV, Coral, TV Azteca, as well as many new companies from Central and Eastern Europe offering locally produced programming with an international appeal. A Spanish TV delegation was also present, as was the TVFI group with 20 French distributors. Some 87 distribution companies set up offices in suites, while 36 rented "viewing boxes" and 10 participated with "in-and-out packages" (no facilities), including Warner Bros., for a total of 133 program sellers. Technology companies, such as Geolink, Open TV, Canal + Technologies, ND and Satcom, took exhibition space on the lower-level.
The general three-day DISCOP conference agenda featured 28 sessions. Campus programs centered on new ways to make money with TV, and featured 16 speakers including those from C1, WIT, BBC and Dentsu. There were also 11 company presentations, two "think-tank" breakfasts and two end-of-the-day entertainment programs, including the HBO traditional boat parry on the Danube river.
The Paris-based DISCOP Organization is managed by Key3 Media East -- which is listed on the New-York Stock Exchange -- one of the major organizers of international trade shows and conferences. Next year, DISCOP will take place June 26-28, while a new event, DISCOP Formats Market China, will be held October 25-26, 2002 in Beijing.
Number of PCs and Internet users (percentage of total population) in 13 countries which are candidates to become members of the EU Country PC Web Bulgaria 4.5 7.5 Cyprus 25.0 22.0 Czech Rep. 12.0 14.0 Estonia 17.5 30.0 Hungary 10.0 15.0 Latvia 7.0 6.5 Lithuania 15.5 7.0 Malta 23.0 25.0 Poland 8.5 10.0 Romania 3.5 4.5 Slovak Rep. 14.8 12.0 Slovenia 27.5 30.0 Turkey 4.0 3.5
RELATED ARTICLE: Q&A With Abdul Hamid Mobarez
Back in Paris, Patrick Jucaud, DISCOP's general manager, arranged for a few questions from VideoAge to be answered by Abdul Hamid Mobarez, Deputy Minister of Information and Publication at the Ministry of Information and Culture and in charge of the reconstruction of Afghan TV.
The TV for Afghanistan initiative had been set up by the DISCOP organization in light of the fact that Afghan TV suffers dramatically from a lack of funding and technical expertise. In this context, DISCOP's mission for the next few months will be to convince suppliers of programming, equipment, technologies expertise, and manufacturers of TV sets to help Afghanistan's only television network get back on its feet by giving them free services and products, after so many years of difficulties.
The existing technical infrastructure of Afghan TV -- built originally in 1976 -- must be replaced, while journalists, production and programming executives need to be provided with modern tools and immediate training in order to provide Afghans with an inspiring source of entertainment and information.
VideoAge: What kind of programs do you need?
Abdul H. Mobarez: Non-violent programs -- considering that 70 percent of Afghans were born during war times -- films, educational programs. We're pleased by Italy's Mondo TV's offer to provide us with animation films and cartoons.
VA: DISCO P's $10 million goal, what will that get you and how long will it last?
AHM: We have a six-year plan to turn Afghan TV into a network with national coverage and various regional TV stations due to the fact that there are at least six different languages spoken. Many companies are already in Kabul evaluating the costs of setting up such networks and it is obvious that the $10 million will only get us jump-started. Plus, Germany's Deutshe Welle is already available in Afghanistan since last June. Our main concern, however, is to develop radio, as radios are cheap and what the Afghanis are mainly hungry for is news.