Report – International Exchange
Each year the first day of CMC orbits around the International Exchange, an all day market event, divided into morning and afternoon blocks, in which UK and international buyers, sellers, broadcasters, distributors, producers, writers and everything in between collide for whirlwind 15-minute meetings.
The 2018 International Exchange was the biggest yet, with 155 registered delegates, seeing it outgrow last year’s already sizeable Millennium Gallery and relocate to the historic Sheffield Town Hall.
On a beautiful sun-kissed morning, the Town Hall’s Mandela Room was already abuzz by 9am. The CMC has a stalwart following, many of whom return every year, and these early conversations had a feel of old friends catching up, while newer faces collected their badges and found their seats.
At 9.30am, the bell tolled and CMC Editorial Director Greg Childs stepped up to welcome the delegates, with a special welcome to the Chinese delegation, before cutting the proverbial ribbon and launching a packed schedule of a whopping 1450 meetings.
These meetings, all prearranged via the online Mojo system, took many forms, from general introductions, to exploratory discussion, to straight-up pitches. Designated “sellers” were set up at 59 tables, with the “buyers and funders” moving between them each time they heard the bell. This year brought good news for hopeful creators, with a 15% increase in buyers among the participants.
The pre-booking system meant both parties had at least a basic knowledge of the meeting agenda, allowing for efficient dialogue from the get-go. The space was vast and open, but such is the lively hum of chatter that conversations feel perfectly private. The 15-minute slots were just long enough to pique interest, exchange cards and perhaps lay the foundations for further discussion.
Each year, the International Exchange is a cosmopolitan marketplace with individuals and companies, producers, platform providers and acquisitions executives from over 50 countries, including the USA, Australia, China and India, and many more nations across Europe, South America and Africa. It is truly a melting pot, comprising every level of experience from industry veterans to aspiring start-up studios and creatives.
Reflecting on a successful day, International Exchange Manager, Helen McAleer, commented, “The Exchange continues to go from strength to strength, and this year it’s been the biggest in CMC history. The atmosphere has been truly vibrant and we’ve had lots of fantastic feedback already.”
While time will tell which discussions develop into concrete business, there is no question that on day one of the conference, a great deal of value has already been created.