NATPE: Natpe Budapest kicked off this morning, its first outing since rebranding from Discop East, and features a noticeably increased Indian presence.
The market has no fewer than six Indian distributors exhibiting this year, compared with the one that made the trip last time. As well as market regular Berserk Media, the exhibition floor includes NDTV Lifestyle, Reliance Entertainment, Star India, TravelXP HD and Viacom18 Media.
Some of the first-timers were previously represented here by Berserk, but this time they felt the demand for Indian programming in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) warranted a standalone presence.
“The South Asian population is becoming distributed around the globe and they’re migrating to more developed parts of the world,” said Prashant Chothani, CEO and president of year-old Indian cable channel TravelXP HD. “Indian programming is becoming more popular, even in the non-Asian populations, because India is one of the fast-growing BRIC nations and there’s a lot of interest in what is happening there.
“The Indian broadcast business is only 15 years old and the channels there have spent that time getting a foothold and strengthening their local presence. Now they are all thinking globally and feel that, with the value system India has, their shows will have tremendous appeal globally.”
Chothani is here in Budapest shopping a catalogue of lifestyle content such as Great World Hotels, Great Indian Hotels, Bada Weekend, Foodicted, Strictly Street, Scrapbook and Divine Destinations. The content is also all in English, to make the international transition easier.
But it’s not just about content syndication; channel launches are also part of the plan. “There are very few travel channel across the globe, only the ones owned by Scripps Networks, so viewers have always seen the world from an America or European perspective. So we decided in 2007 to launch a channel to showcase the world from an Indian perspective and it took us four years to produce enough content in HD.”
He added that TravelXP HD would be on-air in Qatar in a few weeks and “by the year-end” will be in the US and Canada. “We will be on all kinds of platforms around the world, the Middle East just happens to be the first.”
What has been termed ‘the Indian Diaspora’ is also driving sales at Reliance. “We have a huge catalogue of films and we’re looking at more and more local markets,” said Gayatri Gulati, associate VP of international sales at the Mumbai-based distributor.
“We are getting into more local markets and reaching smaller terrestrial channels and digital platforms that attend these smaller markets instead of MipTV and Mipcom. It’s our first time here.”
Gulati also emphasised that her films appealed to “the diaspora and non-diaspora markets” around the region. “As long as people connect with the emotions in the shows it’s OK.”
She added that the Indian market has become “more streamlined” and that has allowed Indian companies to focus more on overseas sales. “We’re exploiting our domestic platforms better and internationally we have business in the traditional markets of the UK, the US and Australia. But now there are more platforms here and that means more opportunities.”
As well as Indian distributors, the exhibition floors and hotel suites at Natpe Budapest have plenty of Turkish companies, all boosted by the increasing demand for big-budget Turkish dramas across CEE.