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MIPCOM: Attendance Tops 12,500

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A strong sales climate for TV programming and the growing importance of digital platforms boosted this year's MIPCOM attendance to over 12,500, with executives from 4,211 companies in 102 countries making the trek to Cannes.

"It's clear that TV in all its forms is more international than ever before," noted Laurine Garaude, director of Reed MIDEM's television division, in a statement. "The need for complex partnerships, across all platforms and territories, reinforces MIPCOM's mission."

While the biggest share of the business continues to involved program sales to major players in the large European territories, the market also saw increased activity from developing markets, digital platforms and co-production efforts.

In a joint Keynote at the market, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos noted the growing importance of international TV programming acquisitions for the company as it expands its international operations in Canada, Latin America and other markets.

Sarandos also noted that TV series can now account for between 50%-60% of the viewing on Netflix and that they are also looking internationally to acquire original TV programming.

As part of that effort, Netflix acquired U.S., Canadian and Latin American rights to premier the Norwedian-based "Lilyhammer" drama staring Stevie Van Zandt.

Netflix also acquired rights for the North American premiere of Tom Fontana's "Borgia" series from distributor Beta Film.

Both deals reflect a strategy of bringing the best of global production to their subscribers, Sarandos noted.

Selling "Hollywood to the world is a big business," he noted during the keynote. "But I think the world to the world is an even bigger business. So what we are trying to do is connect great content from the world to the people of the world."

MIPCOM's Focus on Russia initiative brought senior executives from 160 Russian companies -- a 20% increase on last year-and a number of notable deals for a rapidly growing market that has over 330 Russian television channels and a TV advertising market worth over €3.5 billion ($4.7 billion) in 2011.

During the market, Twentieth Century Fox Distribution announced that it had signed deals with TNT, CTC and TV3 for local Russian versions of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Bones, Tru Calling and Malcolm in the Middle.

Meanwhile Sony Pictures Television (SPT) announced that SPT Productions Russia will produce 40 episodes of sitcom The King of Queens for CTC and Shine International sold Russian format rights for the BBC's entertainment series The Magicians to Endemol's Russian subsidiary WeiT Media.

With the opening of a new Chinese Pavilion, Chinese companies were also heavily represented, with 52 Chinese companies exhibiting, a 56% increase from 2010.

Chinese animation companies were particularly active, with the Chinese market expected to produce over 3,500 hours of animation programming this year.

A number of co-productions were also announced with public broadcasters BBC and France Télévisions teaming up for their first co-production, an eight episode drama Death in Paradise.

Besides the brisk business in acquiring U.S. fare, European broadcasters were also looking to co-produce or invest in English language dramas.

M6 in France, for example, commissioned twelve episode hour long drama, ‘Transporter,' based on the film franchise from Luc Besson's EuropaCorp that is being produced in English. During MIPCOM, EuropaCorp announced that it had closed deals for the series in Australia, Russia, Spain, Japan, Poland and Korea.