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TVWeek.com is proud to welcome a trio of prominent executives who will be our eyes and ears on the French Riviera at this year’s MIPTV international television market.

The three companies these gentlemen represent all figure to be involved with some of the biggest deals to take place in Cannes, whether it’s program acquisition, sales, technology, or developing new platforms.

Mr. Neil Braun is president of distribution and marketing for Starz Media, a U.S. company heading to MIP for the first time. Sean Cohan is senior VP, International for A&E Television Networks and will be at the market with the goal of managing and expanding A&E Television Networks’ brands and services outside the U.S. Greg Moyer serves as general manager of Voom HD Networks, and will be at MIP to explore new avenues for his brand.

As the world gets smaller, all three of these companies figure to play bigger roles both within the United States and around the world. Their blogs will provide insights to the market that you won’t find anywhere else.

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Exit Day

April 19, 2007 1:25 PM

VOOMing on the Croisette

The MIP market is officially over at 6pm tonight, but buyers are leaving beginning to leave in droves. Halls are half as full as the day before. Even the sky has gone from beckoning us with brilliant blue to becoming mostly overcast.

By this time in the week, everybody greets you with a question, “How’s the market been for you?”

Not wanting to prolong every encounter, most mumble something like “It’s been great.”

In fact, there is no useful answer. Most people who attended MIP have conducted in excess for 30 or 40 meetings. Surely some were good, a few maybe even great. A bunch were just short of awful.

This year MIP came later than usual and buyers for the major terrestrial channels around the world are already talking about the L.A. Screenings that commence in three weeks. For the people who buy “big TV” for big territories, MIP is already an afterthought.

But most people still here aren’t buying and selling “big TV”. They are suppliers of genre content to cable and satellite channels or are buyers for terrestrial TV from smaller countries that never bid for “Desperate Housewives” or “Grey’s Anatomy”.

Despite all of the qualifications, I’d assess that most of the conventioneers I talked to were upbeat about their prospects. Money seemed to be flowing. Optimism based on emerging technologies seemed plentiful. Deals were closing.

I asked one young saleswoman if she ever tired of pitching hour after hour, day after day. She offered that it’s far easier if you book tight and just move through the day without breaks. “I don’t even like to go for a coffee,” she volunteered, “you never know who might drop by looking for help.”

As the market nears an end, we habitually look forward to the HD-themed cocktail party hosted by our program distributor iD Distribution. This London-based firm founded by super saleswoman Sally Miles has over 600 hours of HD content from Voom HD for sale. The tradition started at MIPCOM in 2005 as way of bringing the small community of HD producers and telecasters together.

Thankfully, our numbers are increasing. Other non-fiction channels such as Discovery and National Geographic are demanding that most new productions shoot in HD. Even the BBC, atypically late to the HD party, is increasing its commitment to the format.

Once buyers demand it, producers quickly follow. Finding libraries of HD content is nearly impossible, but going forward, there is no resistance to working in the superior technical format.

Another MIP ritual for Voom HD Networks is the closing dinner when our buyers and commissioners break bread with our partners in Canada, High Fidelity Inc. Hi-Fi operates four HD services north of the border, three of which are Voom-branded.

We toasted our growth over the last six months and shared several laughs, sometimes at the expense of our hosts, the French. The new pet peeve around the table was being forced to use unfamiliar French keyboards on computers scattered through MIP.

As one Voomer observed sarcastically, “As soon as I missed the shift key, a message popped on the screen, ‘Stop gawking at our women, Stop eating our food. Please go home at your earliest convenience. Thank you.’”

Sure sign that another MIP is coming to a close.

Greg Moyer is General Manager of Voom HD Networks.

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