Aside from a group of ever-so-polite protesters making their appearance at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre, Reed Midem’s first World Education Market (May 24-27) was relatively serene for attendees used to the pace and panic of MIPCOM or MIPTV.
A disparate group of exhibitors and participants made up the show and conference, featuring everything from publishers, distance education providers, universities and government agencies, to software and multimedia, online services and, in the minority, TV types. While foot traffic was slow, many of the exhibitors claimed this provided ample time for ‘quality meetings’ with colleagues who stuck out the week. For most, this was an opportunity to stick a toe in and decide whether to add WEM to the calendar. Reed reports 2,200 participants (467 exhibitors from 35 countries) were in for the inaugural event.
Even while placard-wavers outside protested the ‘commoditization’ of children and education, exhibitors were indeed reporting business on the floor. Julian Mobbs, business development director for Channel 4 Learning (which has already signed on for WEM 2001) expressed low-key enthusiasm for the event: ‘It has more than paid for itself already, but our expectations were slightly higher than the outcome.’
Says Mobbs: ‘The biggest benefit was getting our people there so they could dialogue about education internationally, and start to think in a different way.’
AITED (The Association Internationale des Televisions d’Education et de Decouverte – a group which includes Boston’s WGBH, La Cinq from France, BBC Education and Discovery) hosted a pitch session, moderated by Banff TV Festival mogul Pat Ferns. The panel was made up of Koji Nakai of NHK, Ann Julienne of La Cinquieme, Jorge Da Cunha of TV Cultural (Brazil), Sara Diamond of the Banff Centre and Jimmy Ampula of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation.
The winning pitch (voted by the audience), receiving CDN$4,000 (US$2,700) for development, was Scientists at the Rim of Reality: The Theory of Everything, a 52-minute doc from Belgium’s Les Films de la Passerelle. Budgeted at about US$575,000, about 75% of the financing for the project was in place prior to the pitch.