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People To Meet: Marina Williams

CEO, CEE operations, Endemol

Marina Williams is one of the best-known TV executives working in central and eastern Europe.

She was behind the launch of numerous channels in the CEE region including CNN and Cartoon Network, Fox Life and local channels TV6 (Russia) and bTV (Bulgaria). Having then served a seven-year stint at CME, where she was executive VP, she joined Endemol in early 2009 to become its first regional CEO for CEE.

“From my perspective joining Endemol was a great opportunity, it was like a goldmine because of the amount of formats that had not been sold into the region or pitched properly,” she says. “A lot has changed since then and we’ve done a number of deals including launching a production entity in Russia and Ukraine (White Media). For me the focus is building the whole business in the region – including the production business, consumer products and finished programme sales.”

Williams is upbeat about this year’s Discop. “I was there when the crisis hit and attendance was very light and it was depressing. But you can see from the participation list that a lot of people are coming back to Discop this year. A lot of people come there to mix and talk about what’s going on in other countries in the region.”

Unlike MIP and MIPCOM, which are all about the half-hour meeting and a very targeted pitch to buyers in that limited time, a regional market like Discop allows more room to talk about other properties in the catalogue, she adds.