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Monte Carlo's mantra: gimme a hit to be proud of.

The Monte Carlo market will attract attention - but for reasons as opposite as the North and South poles.

Pedro Simoncini, president, Rader S.A. de Radiodifusion, is fairly specific about his tastes. "I would be basically interested in feature films, documentaries and a few selected cartoons."

The Argentina-based executive is not looking for large quantities or, as he put it, "big bulks." Simoncini felt that he had been "pretty successful" with live programming in Buenos Aires. "It takes almost 60 per cent of our schedule. There is very little space left for outside foreign product, but we have a high respect for features, MOW's and documentary types."

Simoncini is very frank about his Monte Carlo budget. "It's in the middle six figures. If there is nothing we like in Monte Carlo, we'll have to visit the local distributors/agents and go to MIP."

Reteitalia's (newly named Silvio Berlusconi Communications) director of acquisitions, Daniele Lorenzano, is not as definite. "I don't know what I'm looking for. I go to a market because it is a market and I want to see what's there. I need good targets."

Lorenzano did emphasize he had three networks to fill (two in Italy; one in Spain). "I need all kinds of product: from game shows to series, miniseries, movies, everything. There's nothing I can exclude."

However, he does think that talk shows are not exportable. "But miniseries are. I buy thousands of hours every year. I look for quality; the story speaks for itself."

For BBC's Alan Howden, the sky's not only the limit; it's the only game in town. "We don't have a particular need to acquire any genres of programs. We're just looking for the best there is." Howden considers "the best" to be "something which is popular, entertaining and intelligent. (When asked what type of television he watches, he responded, "The same. I watch what I like. I can't tell you in generic terms.")

In Monte Carlo, Howden wants to bring back "something I'm really proud of and that I like a lot. It doesn't have to have name value.

"I can tell you what we're not interested in. It is very unlikely that we'll buy a game show. I'm not interested in buying most documentaries, since we make more than enough. There are far too many already - unless they happen to be the most amazing thing you've ever seen in your life."

Howden is only slightly interested in comedies. "It depends where they come from. By and large, our experience is that American sitcoms don't work very well in the U.K. but there are exceptions. I wouldn't say we're looking for sitcoms, but if anything really special came up that we thought would work, then we might be in the market for it."

He does show interest in features. "We're always interested in good movies. You look at what is successful in the U.S. The top 10 movies are much the same in a slightly different order. For example, Robin Hood brings in more business in the U.K. than Terminator 2. It's unlikely that I'd turn down a Kevin Costner movie, but there's no point in my going to Monte Carlo and saying |I'm looking for a Kevin Costner movie' because I'm not going to find one. We know all the Costner movies already."

Conversely, BBC's June Dromgoole, the head of purchased programs, is on the lookout for a huge range of acquisitions. "We buy everything from two minutes of animation to feature films, documentaries and entertainment series. Obviously, we have two networks that require material. It's very wide ranging. It's a matter of keeping an eye on what's happening in the syndication market as much as anything.

"We may check out TV movies or whatever they're coming along with throughout the year, rather than the beginning of the season."

The BBC will look mostly at primetime arenas. "We're looking to acquire peak time material. Generally, what we have out in daytime would be older material or repeats. Initial acquisitions would tend to be for peak time or late night."

ITV's Alistair Moffat is looking toward 1993 and 1994. "We are interested in format rather than simply buying shows. If we think it can fit the British market, that's the key."

Moffat is chairman of ITV's children's programs, so he's interested in animation. "American talk shows don't make it here," he said. "There are acute language differences."

"I'm amazed that so little product transfers on either side. We share a common language and yet nobody has ever made it on an American network. Shows like L.A. Law play in primetime here but not vice versa. Everybody's having a terrible time," stated Moffat, who feels that co-production will be forced upon companies. "Because the networks are not paying the full license fee, co-production will have to happen. Maybe this is where economics will force the Brits and Americans into each other's arms."

Werner Kohn, WDR International's program purchase department chief, is flexible. "I'm looking for all kinds of programs. We are interested in outstanding programs of quality level. We are looking for political documentaries, interesting dramas-in all categories, but nothing specific. We still produce a lot ourselves."

Like his international counterparts, Kohn believes content is more important than the name attached. "As far as prices are concerned, if something is outrageous, we certainly don't go for it. We know what the market value is and are looking for realistic prices."

Germany goes for variety or "entertainment" shows, as Kohn calls them. "Here, well-known names are important. The domestic-produced entertainment and drama series go well, as do news programs. We were the first to show Brazilian novelas."

Kristen Duncan, JSB's producer and buyer along with her boss, Yasuhiko Ichiba, agree that they attend markets looking for things that people can feel justified in having to pay money for, since JSB is the first privately-owned satellite station in Japan. "People in Japan aren't quite used to paying for TV," said Duncan.

"We want something that is a little different than what our terrestrial stations offer. Things with name value; perhaps a miniseries. The name attached can either be a well-known actor, a big producer or director. "Children's shows are possible. There's good value in animation; especially the ones that have sold a lot of books with strong character value. Our budget is significantly less than the other stations, it's a hard balance. We're trying to get the

things with name value so we can get subscribers. But we don't have enough subscribers to pay the prices terrestrial stations are paying."
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Title Annotation:what the program directors are looking for at the Monte Carlo market
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Feb 1, 1992
Previous Article:Japan's reluctance to co-produce can be overcome.
Next Article:Larry Gershman, king of MOWs & WIN.

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