The Monte Carlo TV Market (February 20-23) wrapped on a flat note, according to Variety magazine. In an article published on the market’s final day, Variety made strong claims as to the future of the market, based on findings from a ‘Daily Variety straw poll of senior buyers and sellers.’ RealScreen decided to give David Tomatis, secretary general of the Monte Carlo TV Festival & Market, a chance to respond.
‘In general terms I can’t agree with the dramatic tone of how our market is described in this article,’ says Tomatis. The article’s initial claim states the traditional approach of the Monte Carlo Market as a venue where programs are bought and sold, is no longer effective and needs to change if the event is to survive. ‘We are quite aware that there are a number of changes to be made. On this part I can agree,’ concurs Tomatis. ‘But, this is something you can’t do in one year.’ Changes began last year, as noted in Variety, with the introduction of the European TV Producer Award, and continued this year with a speech discussing the effect of new technologies on business, as well as panel discussions on formatting. Tomatis insists more changes are to come: ‘We’re going to concentrate on being a producer’s rendezvous . . . We’ll also explore the field of new media and technology.’
One claim Tomatis doesn’t agree with is that Monte Carlo is, with the exception of smaller niche markets, ‘virtually dead’ for sales business. ‘The level of business and the level of meetings that were conducted during the market were high,’ he counters. ‘A number of exhibitors spontaneously came to me saying they had closed a number of deals after the first day of the market, which is usually a slow day.’ The number of buyers attending the market totaled 448. Exhibitors equaled 131 and companies 476. The total number of participants peaked at 1,861, representing 62 countries, which, according to Tomatis, is average.
Variety proposes there is a saturation of television markets on the calendar, and reports that executives ‘are calling for Monte Carlo to evolve or shutter.’ But, Tomatis doesn’t feel Monte Carlo is directly competing with the others. ‘The market that is the most competitive for us at this time is NATPE, [but] you can’t compare the size of NATPE to Monte Carlo,’ says Tomatis. ‘I think we have very different goals.’
The main distinction between Monte Carlo and other markets is the inclusion of the film festival. ‘Because we’re also a festival, we have a number of other interests for our market participants, because they’re able to put together a media event that can have an immediate effect.’