Conecta Fiction & Entertainment 2024: 1.000 professionals from 33 countries

The event promoted co-production and agreements between the Americas and Europe. Brazil and Portugal stood out in the eighth edition of the event, with the largest presence of producers from both countries seen in Europe in years. 70% of the attendees were European and 30% were Latin American.

21 JUN 2024

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The eighth edition of Conecta Fiction & Entertainment concluded on June 21 in Toledo, gathering a large group of professionals from the global fiction and entertainment industry for four days to foster co-production between the Americas and Europe.

The press conference offering a summary of this international meeting took place at the El Greco Congress Palace in Toledo, the event's venue. The event featured Ana Isabel Fernández, Director General of Tourism, Commerce, and Handicrafts of the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha, and Géraldine Gonard, Director of Conecta.

Fernández mentioned the excellent opportunity provided to the regional government by the participation of the Castilla-La Mancha Film Commission in Connecta 2024, stating: "Over these three days, we have held 48 meetings, resulting in six projects that will be filmed next year in Castilla-La Mancha."

Gonard provided the main data from this third edition held in Toledo, which gathered around a thousand professionals (a number almost identical to last year) from 33 countries on both continents, with 70% Europeans and 30% Latin Americans. Regarding participation by country, she mentioned that, as is usual in international meetings, the weight of national representation was very significant, reaching 65%. The presence of European and American executives was well-balanced, with Brazil and Portugal, the two Focus Countries of this edition, having the largest representation, followed by France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Chile, Argentina, and Mexico.

Regarding the profile of the participants, Gonard noted that it was mainly composed of commissioners, platforms, television networks, buyers, producers, talent, institutional representatives, and delegations from other countries. More than 3,500 in-person meetings were held at the El Greco Congress Palace, and participants were offered a total of 24 panels, 11 keynotes, 6 public pitching sessions, 4 private pitching sessions, 4 Commissioners Pitching sessions, 8 workshops, and 3 after-work meetings. Of these, six formed the special program dedicated to Brazil and Portugal as focus countries.

The performance of premium activities was outstanding: 55 top-level delegates debated on Tuesday about current and future challenges of the audiovisual industry in the fifth edition of Conecta Think Thank. 27 attendees participated in this bilateral meeting between institutions and production companies from France and Spain; and 4 networking breakfasts were organized by various collaborators with a total of 141 participants. Let's now review some of the main conclusions.

First, a new wave of business mergers is predicted for 2025, which could result in an audiovisual landscape with many smaller projects. Regarding budgets, it was concluded that they have not decreased internationally in all regions, but inflation has globally affected the industry. Additionally, FAST channels are not fully understood by creatives, and it is crucial to address this lack of knowledge soon.

Another highly relevant topic was the need to preserve intellectual property rights to ensure fair compensation for audiovisual creatives. This item is particularly complex, given the varied practices depending on the country and type of content. It was also concluded that transparent success measurements, fair negotiation practices, and support agreements for co-production are essential to balance the interests of creators, producers, and media services.

The think tank estimated that financing beyond Europe, North America, and the Anglo-Saxon axis requires government policies that promote the audiovisual industry as a way to generate employment, economic growth, and create a country brand. Furthermore, more robust measures and many small actions are needed to boost the audiovisual industry as a leader in sustainability.

Artificial intelligence was one of the major topics of debate. In the entertainment industry, it goes beyond generative AI, and legislation is needed that does not hinder progress. On the other hand, it was estimated that AI should pay a fee to anyone whose content was used to create new content, to provide transparency in this business. Governments should prepare a plan for people to learn and adapt to the changes brought by AI, rather than taking AI companies to court, using the fees collected from AI actors to prioritize prevention and protection, rather than reaction.

Finally, there was an interesting conclusion about the presentation of the Spain Audiovisual Bureau, which was also held during this event: Spain is at the forefront of promoting its audiovisual sector and as a country brand, there is nothing similar in Europe and America.

When is the next Conecta? Its director mentioned that this item is being worked on and will be defined soon. However, during the 2025 conference, it was mentioned that the date will require modification to avoid coinciding with Corpus Christi, an event that historically attracts a large influx of people.