Event Preview for DISCOP Johannesburg


NEW YORK: Basic Lead, the organizer of DISCOP Johannesburg, is gearing up for the 2016 edition of the market and co-production forum, which is taking place November 2 to 4.

The event’s expanded floor plan, which is sold out, is set to welcome some 250-plus global and regional distributors selling feature films, TV content, adaptation rights and packaged channels, as well as more than 500 buyers.

Patrick Jucaud-Zuchowicki, the CEO of Basic Lead and founder of the DISCOP markets, says that all the major and medium-sized exhibitors that were present at last year’s event are returning in 2016. “That is a good sign given the state of the industry and the difficulties encountered by the largest African economies over the last 12 months, namely South Africa and Nigeria. Some of these companies have taken even larger exhibits than in the past, which means that we will have a market floor that has expanded by close to 15 percent.”

He adds, “We also find that our Abidjan-based DISCOP editions have a positive impact on the attendance of Francophone Africa at DISCOP Johannesburg. We see more and more tangible co-production deals between Anglophone and Francophone Africa, which is a good sign because this is where the growth will come from (i.e. more and more regional cooperation within sub-Saharan Africa). This is why we have reinforced our training and pitching programs aimed at independent producers in order to do whatever we can to accelerate the development of homegrown television content.”

The event is expecting to host more than 2,500 delegates throughout its three days. The U.S. will be DISCOP Johannesburg’s Guest Country, and the event will host for the first time an American Umbrella “to welcome U.S. independent producers and distributors, and a series of workshops and events will help tighten relations between independents from the U.S. and independents from across the continent,” Jucaud-Zuchowicki says.

Highlights for the opening day, November 2, include a Women in Media panel, a case study on the U.S. sitcom Love That Girl, a session with the Japanese broadcaster NHK, a look at VOD and transmedia opportunities in Africa and a conference by video-game company Atari about its plans in the TV space. The day will also host a case study about the adaptation of the scripted format Prisoners of War, which was the basis for the U.S. series Homeland, and several pitch sessions.

Day two of the event, November 3, has special sessions dedicated to subtitling and dubbing, VR, co-production and cooperation between China and Africa, and piracy, among other topics.

“In today’s economy, the global television content trade industry demands more from market organizers such as DISCOP,” says Jucaud-Zuchowicki. “With new countries open for business and far more outlets to service, television content buyers and sellers expect the productivity of region-centric, sales-focused markets to increase. This means more meetings, and more successful ones, and also having access to support services as ‘reliable as running water.’ In this context, DISCOP Johannesburg (like any other DISCOP markets) will stay focused on core values, improve customer service and performance, make sure to appeal to a younger demographic, and guarantee greater content diversity to buyers while delivering more deals to sellers. We want to guarantee an even greater transactional experience to our constituency, and to that effect we have invested over the last few months in more human and technical resources allocated to research, data analytics, information systems, customer relations and internal processes.”