DISCOP Johannesburg Wraps After Robust Three-Day Event


JOHANNESBURG: The fifth edition of DISCOP Johannesburg came to a close today, with a noted increase in the number of delegates and an ample lineup of sidebar sessions, with the growth of the market serving as “a reflection of the state of the industry in Africa,” according to Patrick Jucaud-Zuchowicki, the CEO of Basic Lead and founder of the DISCOP markets.

Jucaud-Zuchowicki told World Screen Newsflash that the media industry in Africa continues to improve. “There are still plenty of challenges, meaning that there is room to grow,” he said. “Despite these outside challenges, there is growth—and that’s important.” He noted that this growth could also be seen at sister event DISCOP Abidjan this year.

With a revamped layout, placing all the distributors once again on the same floor, the Sandton Convention Centre seemed busier this market compared to last. “There were more buyers and more platforms—and the buying companies and platforms sent more people,” Jucaud-Zuchowicki confirmed. “That’s very important to us, because it means that the program-acquisition departments are growing. A comment that has been made to me by a lot of our clients is that there were more serious buyers here, who know what they want and how much they can spend. It’s no longer exploratory meetings; they want to do business.”

And this meant that deals were being closed over the last three days here in Johannesburg, said Jucaud-Zuchowicki. “Africa today has the ability to make deals. It’s a growing marketplace that has to be taken seriously. We feel that there has been, indeed, a big change since last year, in the sense that it is really on the fast-track.”

DISCOP also ramped up its lineup of conferences and workshops, a move that Jucaud-Zuchowicki said is part of the organization’s aim to nurture independent producers. “These producers are the future [of the industry],” he told us. “With our program, we brought knowledge-transfer opportunities, expertise, the possibility for producers to get visibility for their projects. We had pitching competitions, and the jurors who took part felt that they got to see really good, strong projects. We want to build up the future of this industry and to do so, you need to provide information, resources and networking opportunities for young producers. That’s why our sidebar program is as important to us as the marketplace.”

Next year’s edition of DISCOP Johannesburg will be held from October 25 to 27, which is a week earlier than usual. Jucaud-Zuchowicki explained that the move better positions the event in between MIPCOM and the American Film Market.