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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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April 18, 2007 5:59 PM

Neil Braun, Starz at Cannez

Cannes, France – You can sense it while walking around the MIP market today: the event is starting to slow down. You see MIP participants – identifiable by the large ID card, attached to a bright orange lanyard, around their neck – climbing into cabs with suitcases, and the hallways are a bit less congested. After two-plus days of intense meetings, and with the end of the market now in sight, it raises the question of why come to a market like MIP? Why set up a stand, fly in talent, and disrupt the lives of the dozen or so Starz Media folks who are spending this week here?

You ask it near the end of all such markets, and the answer is clear: even with phones and email, and the Blackberries that combine the two, you need face time to take projects and relationships to the next level. We come to MIP in the spring and MIPCOM in the fall to continue conversations, at whatever stage those conversation were left.

With production partners, we’re making first contact, or it may be an update on an ongoing project. With a distributor, it may be a chance to show them a nearly completed show that we sold at the previous market, or to show footage of something new on our slate. It's a chance to see what other companies are offering, to gauge how we’re marketing our projects vis-à-vis our competition. Some of our meetings have nothing to do with projects for sale at this market, but simply because proximity to customers, suppliers and distributors generates new opportunities.

They say MIP and MIPCOM are sales conventions, but from my perspective, they’re really multi-faceted business meetings among people who may work together, but across the globe. That’s because television is a long cycle business and, increasingly, a long distance one too. It can’t be done well without getting together in person with suppliers, customers, far-flung colleagues and vendors.

We’re still here for the rest of the week, and have some important meetings set up with major players. But we’re also already looking ahead to MIPCOM in the fall. After all, we’ll have negotiations to continue.

Neil Braun is President of Distribution and Marketing at Starz Media.

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