Event Preview for DISCOP Istanbul

The sixth edition is just around the corner, taking place March 1 to 3 at the International Convention and Exhibition Center in Istanbul.

Despite recent turmoil in the host city, the event is expecting more than 750 participants from around the world and strong buyer turnout.

“We have more buyers representing TV stations from Central and Eastern Europe, CIS and Central Asia,” says Patrick Zuchowicki, the CEO of event organizer Basic Lead. “We still have buyers registered from the Middle East, despite the fact that both Iraq and Saudi Arabia are at a standstill when it comes to buying content.”

There will be national pavilions from France and Russia, and, this time around, all the Turkish companies will be exhibiting under a unified pavilion.

DISCOP Istanbul is dedicating an entire day to formats, dubbing March 1 “The Format Day.” The morning conference will feature three sections, including one on protecting format IP. There will be two panel discussions focusing on format programming, trends, challenges and more; one will focus on Central and Eastern Europe and the other on the Middle East and North Africa. The day wraps with The Formats Showcase, which will allow producers of new format projects to present in front of key global players in search of ideas.

The “It’s a Small World” program will take place on the second day of DISCOP Istanbul. The track will explore new co-production developments, opportunities, guidelines, challenges and alternative cooperation strategies with countries with rising film and TV industry sectors. There will be panels focused on Turkey, the Western Balkans, the United Arab Emirates, Africa and Georgia.

The speaker lineup for DISCOP Istanbul includes executives from ATV, Global Agency, Red Arrow International, all3media international, FremantleMedia International, Armoza Formats, Viacom International Media Networks and more. In addition to the conferences, the event has a host of networking opportunities to help facilitate sales. Basic Lead’s in-house matchmaking team has been hard at work helping delegates plan meetings with each other.

Zuchowicki acknowledges that the region is going through a difficult time and transition currently, but says he sees lots of potential in its production industry. “It’s a huge and young marketplace with a lot of stories to tell,” he says. “Those stories are becoming more and more universal. We see the television business as a way to bring different countries and different people together and help the process of getting different cultures to appreciate and understand each other. Now more than ever is the time for television to play a small, but nevertheless important, role in bringing all of these people together. Television has the potential and the influence, so that’s why we decided to go ahead with the market. I think it’s more important now than it ever was in the past to really understand other cultures and backgrounds and work together with them. Aside from just co-productions, financial reasons and distribution reasons, there is a higher element, which is that it allows for better understanding of the rest of the world. That’s super important now.”