Special Report on London Program Market: As U.K. producers become more inclined to look beyond the Empire for coproduction dollars, it’s inevitable that Americans – with their growing webs of international services – are going to …

November 1, 1997


Attendance at London Programme Market has experienced a significant increase this year. At last count, 75 distributors and 800 international buyers were slated to attend the 1997 event, compared to 65 distributors and 700 buyers in 1996.

Among the bigger British distributors, Brite, Itel, CTE, Pearson and Channel 4 International have all taken screening rooms at the well-established venue: Le Meridien Hotel in Piccadilly. Factual specialists like Jane Balfour will also be attending.

itel and C4I come with the strongest line-ups of new factual material. C4I’s package includes Shanghai Vice from Phil Agland and Innocence Lost from True Vision, a company best known for the controversial film The Dying Rooms. itel brings films from the BBC and Channel 5.

Single Market Events managing director Tim Etchells, whose company organises the lpm, explains the increase in attendance as ‘partly a product of a lot more confidence in the marketplace. There are more channels requiring more programming and we are benefiting from the euphoria.’ The longer-than-usual gap between mipcom and the lpm this year has also made the London market more popular with distributors.

Although most distributors would rank the lpm alongside Monte Carlo and mip asia as a second division market behind NATPE, mip-tv and mipcom, Etchells believes it has become a well-established staging post in the annual sales year: ‘Buyers like coming to London at this time of year. Even if there wasn’t a market, I think they would spend a week visiting the broadcasters and distributors based here.’

For U.K. distributors, the market is extremely cost effective. It’s also a useful counterpoint to the hysteria of mipcom. Chrysalis Distribution managing director Christina Willoughby is a regular attendee at the market and describes it as ‘a serious screening opportunity. At mipcom you get 20-minute meetings which give you time for a kiss, cuddle and how-do-you-do. In London, we meet top-level European buyers and are not competing with Hollywood.’

This year, Etchells has renewed efforts to encourage U.K. producers to attend: ‘We have an independent producer showcase which has attracted companies like Mentorn Barraclough Carey (London) and Hat Trick (London). With a price tag of £1,500, it’s really good value.’ In addition, ‘We have also put effort into tidying up the list of buyers and developing the social side of the market by organising two parties.’


-Case Study: The War of 1898 by Cafe Productions for TLC and Canal+ Spain

-Case Study: The Fifty Year War from Brook Lapping for BBC and WGBH

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is the Associate Editor at Realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.