Filmart opened Monday with organizers claiming growth across the headline numbers of exhibitors (up 10% to 700) and buyers (up 7.7% to 6,000). Behind those numbers lie some interesting trends.
Any market event relies on good results in its current year to promote its next edition, and some judicious data mining to find the juiciest numbers to use in that promotion.
As Asia’s largest market by a considerable distance and the world’s third largest, Filmart prides itself on its diversity. Its ability to attract exhibitors and buyers from beyond the continent forms an increasingly important part of its claim to live up to Hong Kong’s branding as “Asia’s World City”.
This year, the organizers note a marked uptick (30%+) in the number of exhibitors offering TV programming rather than film content. It’s a good story to tell, with the arrival of major international networks such including Al Jazeera and further growth building from last year’s equally impressive increase in the number of Chinese mainland TV stations present.
With two Singapore-based TV events on the calendar in May and December, a new TV content event launching in Vietnam later this year and two major market events (admittedly more film focused) in China, there’s plenty of competition out there. That competition was compounded this year by the 2013 Asian Side of the Doc in Kuala Lumpur making a late shift in its dates from next week to this, drawing a number of exhibitors, commissioners and buyers away from Filmart.
All of which makes the growth in Filmart’s TV presence good news for organizers.
For film exhibitors, the story is a little more complicated. It’s long been the case that the trick to doing business successfully in Asia is not in the value of the deal but in the value of the relationship that enables the deal to be done.
Those relationships inevitably take time to build, but a good number of sellers have attended for enough years to have grown such relationships. This year there was a number of regular attendees not exhibiting in the market, although that didn’t mean that they weren’t present and doing business.
They just arrange meetings directly and, as one seller noted, “save wasting time with the tyre kickers.”
No doubt that poses a problem for organizers, who don’t necessarily get the benefit of those deals when totting up the value of deals announced at the event. In a somewhat back-handed way, it is a testament to the ongoing success of the event.
Two years ago the first US pavilion represented a foray into foreign territory which bore little fruit. It’s fair to say there was some suspicion on both sides and the area was skirted rather than entered by a lot of buyers.
At the third attempt it’s housing 40 companies and has become part of the furniture, as busy as any other part of the convention hall. There’s also an increasing US presence beyond the confines of the pavilion.
The market is also presenting 360 screenings including 80 world and regional premieres (again numbers up on 2012), with a programme of 70 events ranging from conference sessions through press conferences for new (predominantly Hong Kong/China) productions to the ever popular
parties networking events – most run by national pavilions.
There’s a lot to celebrate and, judging by the many unsteady gaits and bloodshot eyes on Tuesday morning, attendees already seem to be in the mood.