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Cannes Diary: The story so far

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INDIANS STAND OUT WHEN HEARD & SEEN THAT IS

The Indian presence may not be overwhelmingly visible (an understatement if ever there was one) but when they do appear upfront they make their mark, that too with impact.

Of course, nothing highlighted this better than the way the Indian documentary duo of 'Harry' Amarpal Singh Bal and Rishi Rana Bharadwaj (first-timers at MIPTV) swept both the jury and the audience off their feet during the fiercely contested pitch at the MIPDOC co-production challenge on Sunday evening.

Their 10-minute pitch was fully utilised to with a cutting edge presentation that underpinned by a very classy promo that was of international class. A straw poll among the audience conducted while the jury was deliberating on the pitches was a clear indication of just how far ahead their pitch was of the competition (from Canada, Britain, Brazil and Italy).

That was on Sunday. On Monday, we had Nandini Gulati, manager, Integrated Marketing Communication, EEME - Coca-Cola ' UK, speaking at the "Branded Programming Clinic: The Producers Meet The Brands and The Broadcasters". Gulati's clarity of thought and was well appreciated as it was without the usual flim-flam that one associates with marketing honchos at such forums.

Just how incisive Gulati's point of view was can be garnered from the fact that though she spoke last, the points she made became the main issue for discussion during the rest of the session.

And lastly we have Miditech CEO Nikhil Alva who is on the jury on the Aids Programming Pitch session later today, a first-time event at MIPTV that aims to encourage creative ways of putting across Aids awareness messages in TV programming. Considering that this is one of the 'highlight events' of MIPTV 2005, which is also tied in to Reed Midem's celebration of 60 years of the United Nations (UN under secretary general Sashi Tharoor is in attendance), that is no small matter. Just as a matter of information, former US president Bill Clinton is addressing delegates at the second Global Media Aids Initiative (GMAI) today via video link.

FUTURE IS NOW OVERRIDING THEME AT MIPTV

We tend to be a bit wary of oftentimes unreal visions of the future that one gets to here at major conventions but today, the way technology is exponentially speeding the processes of change, there is just no getting away from it.

Of the eight principal themes (if you can call it that) at MIPTV 2005; broadband (IPTV)/wireless platforms, interactive TV, mobile multimedia entertainment, iDVD, DVD and future of advertising, six examine the cataclysmic changes that are taking place in the media world. The other two themes at MIPTV are television programming (obviously) and Korea Focus.

Korea presents an interesting study because everyone is talking about it today and it is truly the flavour of the season. Fortune Star general manager Peter E Poon has an interesting 'India' take on that. According to Poon, the Korea wave is following the China wave that has been recently predominant, and three-four years down the line it could well be India that will be creating a buzz around the globe. In a way, he has a similar view to that expressed to Indiantelevision.com earlier by Star India COO Sameer Nair, who sets great store by what he calls his four-year cycle theory. Well, we would love to see Poon's words come true.

For that to happen though, it might well require the entertainment fraternity adopt a global mindset, a point that chairman and chief mentor Infosys Technologies NR Narayana Murthy stressed during his closing comments at Ficci Frames 2005.

FRENCH ORGANISATION AT ITS BEST

The adage goes that if anything can go wrong it will. And if one goes by the common folklore about the French in all matters organizational, one would expect glitches (if not galore at least to some extent).

Nothing of the sort, it's been extremely smooth sailing in a quiet, understated and unobtrusive way. Quite a feat considering that Reed MIDEM officials have had to cope with arrangements for an estimated 12,913 participants from 98 countries expected to descend on the French Riviera in these five days.

FOR SELLERS, STEVE ASKEW A VVIP

The number of total TV buyers expected at the market this year is to 3,565. But among these there are those who are especially sought after because of the sheer bulk in which they buy. As far as Asia is concerned though one man everyone wants to please is Star Group COO Steve Askew. As is the case every year, Askew is expected to pick up a whole load of content (and ideas) to drive Asia's most significant entertainment machine in the coming year.

HERE COMES THE SUN OR SO THE HOPE GOES

After Saturday's sole day of bright sunshine, it's been a chill pill for visitors at Cannes since. But that may be about to change. Yesterday one saw the most beautiful rainbow splashed across the evening sky and though the sun is still to show its face, the weather though cool has turned pleasantly refreshing.

Still, it is a tad disappointing when one considers that April is a time of bright sunshine in these parts.

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