FNE at DISCOP Budapest 2011: NATPE Takes Majority Ownership in DISCOP Budapest

By Cathy Meils

    BUDAPEST: DISCOP (www.discop.com) founder Patrick Jucaud and NATPE (www.natpe.org) President and CEO Rick Feldman announced in a joint press conference on 21 June 2011 that NATPE has acquired a majority share in DISCOP Budapest and will transition the regional TV content market to NATPE/BUDAPEST for the June 2012 event.

    NATPE began cooperating with DISCOP Budapest six years ago as a minority partner. Both Feldman and Jucaud stressed that the DISCOP production team Basic Lead will continue its involvement with the 21-year-old Central European market, but in the role of minority partner. Discussions over the ownership transfer had taken place over the past year.

    "We're not interested in making major changes," Feldman said, but added that operational and organizational control will move to NATPE. "This market will become a NATPE brand," he said. He also pointed out that the timing of the summer event in Budapest was an optimal balance for NATPE's January market in Miami.

    "It's not the easiest announcement to make, but I'm happy," Jucaud said. "We're not a big team, and there are some choices we had to make. We feel that what we've learned, we can apply to other territories." In recent years, Basic Lead has launched TV markets in Africa and Istanbul under the DISCOP brand, as well as a REMAKES Market in Los Angeles.

    Feldman said the NATPE management had no long term commitment to Budapest, stating, "There's some flexibility if we wanted to move." However, substantial change is unlikely. "We're looking at growing incrementally," he said. The biggest change was the announcement that the 2012 market will take place one week later, during the fourth week of June instead of the traditional third week in June, in order to accommodate the timing of Sunny Side of the Doc.

    Jucaud is expected to use the financing (which was not disclosed) to expand DISCOP Africa as well as its new focus on Central Asia and the Middle East, through DISCOP Istanbul. Jucaud added that he will stay involved in the region through other markets that will take the DISCOP brand into new areas, such as a new licensing market that will launch in Poland in 2012.