Tuesday, 31 March 2009

China wants to embace you

That is the message from Tian Jin, Vice Minister at Chinese media regulator, SARFT. Speaking at MIPTV in Cannes today, Mr Tian said that working with other organisations around the world is key to success for Chinese TV and radio, while ¨respecting differences¨.

At a special session on China, a range of speakers looked at the opportunities and the challenges of working in TV co-production with Chinese media houses. Brian Leith, Executive Producer at the BBC Natural History Unit that co-produced ¨Wild China¨with CCTV, said that it is not easy - particularly if you want to film in 26 Chinese provinces - covering an area the size of Europe. Only by having completely bi-lingual researchers and highly effective local fixers was it possible to carry out more than 50 shoots in high definition, some lasting six weeks.

David Haslingden, CEO of NGCI and Fox International Channels, said that for commercial companies like his, it is important to consider how to derive revenue from co-productions. Working in China is difficult, he said, but by no means insurmountable.

What else is happening at MIP, I hear you ask. Well, the weather continues to be mixed and the aisles less full than in the last couple of years. However I have been having some great conversations with AIB members and with others here in Cannes - conversations that will most certainly be continuing over the next few weeks, resulting in some new initiatives and co-operative agreements.

Monday, 30 March 2009

MIPTV underway - 20% down?

I arrived in Cannes this morning after a rather delayed flight from the UK on Easyjet...and found that the weather's worse here than in England, which is something of a surprise!

What's not surprising is the fact that - according to some estimates - MIPTV has 20% less exhibitors than last year. Given the space given over to Internet access points for visitors, and simple blank spaces in the aisles where previously there would have been exhibition booths, I'm inclined to think that the estimate of the downturn is reasonably accurate. It's going to be interesting to see what figures the organisers provide.

Meanwhile, I've been meeting AIB members here who include France 24, Deutsche Welle, Al Jazeera and Bloomberg. I've also been talking to companies interested in the AIB's range of activities, including NHK World, Mobiclip and AFP. I've also been spreading the word about the 2009 AIBs - our Media Excellence Awards which we'll announce formally in mid-April.

What I find surprising here is that some companies simply don't seem to know how to sell - their stands are dark, staffed by unenthusiastic people who seem to have little interest in their product. All right - these are in the minority, but even so it's disheartening.

I'll update you some more during the week.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Al Jazeera Forum underway in Doha

I'm in Doha at the moment for the fourth Al Jazeera Forum - an invitation-only meeting of academics, journalists and observers from the Middle East and around the world. Delegates here from the US, UK, Malaysia, a raft of North African countries and a good many other places.

Wadah Khanfar has opened the event, and the keynote speaker was Seymour Hersh. Should be an interesting couple of days - more follows!

In the meantime, I thought I'd pass on a Blackberry tip - if you use your Crackberry for web browsing, ditch the bundled browser and download Opera Mini. I did this while my BA flight to Doha was on the ground in Bahrain and have been using it ever since. I have to say it's a revelation with pages rendered far more rapidly and far easier navigation. Just one grumble - for some reason I can't get the "update" button on Twitter to work when using Opera Mini, although Blackberry's own browser carries out this function OK. Strange...

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

AIB working hard

It's a busy time at the AIB as we follow up on a range of work for our members throughout the world. 

As my blog on Monday reported, I've been at the FT Digital Media conference in London where I had some interesting and informative discussions with a number of people. On Friday, it's off to Doha for the fourth Al Jazeera Forum. 

In the meantime, the AIB is following up on a number of discussions that started at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. For example, we're in discussion with a company that has got mobile TV content distribution agreements in place in a large number of countries in Asia. I'm going to see how we can get our members' content onto this new platform as it comes online in the coming weeks in emerging markets. 

We're also hard at work on the research of the new AIB directory - now renamed as the AIB Global Broadcasting Sourcebook. This new sourcebook has completely revised and updated content, plus a whole lot of context to make it an indispensible guide to media worldwide. OK - a plug: you can book an enhanced entry for your company or take advertising in the sourcebook. Download the media pack here and talk to us soon!

Monday, 9 March 2009

It's all about social

Today I'm at the FT Digital Media and Broadcasting conference in London - and much of the discussion has been on the subject of social networking.

Blake Chandlee of Facebook has told the audience of a couple of hundred people that the social networking site now has 175million users and theyKve had to change subscriber reporting increments to 25million!

There's been lots of talk about how media and social networking can work together - and this is something the AIB will be reporting to and analysing for its members shortly.

Meanwhile it's good to see a range of AIB friends here such as Richard Titus and Madhav Chinnappa of the BBC, John Mangelaars from Microsoft and Raja Sharif of Barwa Media, among others.