The second edition of DISCOP ISTANBUL concluded last week, reporting a huge 25% overall increase in attendance over last year’s inaugural edition. The success of the event demonstrates the rebound of the television content business across Central Asia, the Middle East and Northern Africa and firmly establishes DISCOP ISTANBUL as the only international trade-event efficiently servicing these territories.
337 companies from 51 countries and a total of 628 delegates attended DISCOP ISTANBUL, including 128 international exhibiting companies selling television content rights and merchandising licenses. This figure represents an increase of 33 new exhibiting companies compared with last year’s attendance and highlights the increased strategic importance of the region for global television content-driven industries.
Central Asia, the Middle East and Northern Africa represents a vibrant marketplace comprising more than 600 million people marked by common cultural backgrounds and a strong appetite for television content. During the event, attendees reported the continued success of quality drama series; an Arab Spring induced demand for documentaries and increased interest in regional coproduction deals, especially in animation. Combined with packed conference sessions and parties, the event marked one of DISCOP’s most successful markets in its 20-year history.
“Despite geopolitical tensions, we welcomed delegates from 51 countries, 14 more than last year, with all involved unanimously recognising the event as an extremely dynamic 3-day market,” comments Patrick Jucaud, DISCOP’s founding manager. He adds, “Istanbul has clearly established itself as a strategic crossroads for content business directed at Western Asia and Northern Africa. Turkey will continue to reinforce its key position as stability prevails in that part of the world, especially if economic conditions continue to worsen in the Eurozone”.
Two national pavilions were set up for the first time drawing a lot of interest from the 181 companies in Istanbul to buy television content. The event saw a 32% jump in the number of regional broadcasters and thematic channels, Pay-TV platforms, IPTV operators, mobile networks and territorial agents taking part. TV France International, the French umbrella, pulled together 28 companies, a record-setting result generated by the joint research and promotional efforts of France’s Tunisia, Lebanon and Turkey based diplomatic services.
The Malaysian Pavilion, set up in association with FINAS, the Multimedia Development Corporation, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation and Tourism Malaysia, also led a ten-company delegation at DISCOP ISTANBUL.
The event saw extensive coverage in Turkish media, with all of the country’s major exporters of television content taking part and jointly announcing during the market that the worldwide export of television content made in Turkey had passed the US $100 million mark in 2011. Packed conference sessions provided important insights on Central Asia’s developing multi-platform marketplace and an exclusive overview of Tajikistan, Central Asia’s lesser known country, stole the spotlight.
The conference program also included a day hosted by Variety Arabia, DISCOP ISTANBUL’s exclusive media partner, dedicated to the renaissance of Arabic content and regional co-production initiatives. A day themed Decode The Future was hosted by the organizers of TEDxSilkRoad, a high-caliber event promoting the development of multiplatform digital ecosystems across the old Silk Road and set to also take place in Istanbul on 11 April 2012.
“Partnering with DISCOP ISTANBUL to promote TEDxSilkRoad’s innovative program was very fruitful,” states Ferhan Cook, organiser of the forthcoming program, before adding that, “It proved, like everywhere else, that the future of content distribution lies in the development of secured, non-linear platforms accessible through the widest possible variety of mobile screens. And the future in this part of the world is NOW.”
The third edition of DISCOP ISTANBUL will take place from 5 to 7 March, 2013.