NEM Dubrovnik is the international TV event that the industry told Sanja Božić-Ljubičić would never work… but which quickly established itself as a diary date for buyers, sellers and senior execs.

"There are a lot of festivals and markets and my business friends and colleagues said this will never fly," recalls Božić-Ljubičić, CEO of Mediavision, which created NEM Dubrovnik and runs the event. "I wanted it because I think this region is highly neglected. It started as a something that would somehow unite all the people from the region, but from year one, it became about Europe and the States and beyond."

Certainly, the location helps. Dubrovnik in June is a nice place to be: "The location is really something special, it’s a gem that the world has recognized," says Božić-Ljubičić. A beautiful setting alone, however, does not attract 1,000-plus industry folk, although it does lend the event its convivial atmosphere.

Božić-Ljubičić has many stories from previous editions, and several are about how the networking-friendly ambience led to serious dealmaking. She recalls AMC boarding drama series Humans after meeting the producers of the original Swedish series at an early edition of the market. It was also at NEM Dubrovnik where Keshet International first saw scripted series The Paper, which was made for Croatian pubcaster HRT. It snagged the international rights to the drama and a subsequent sale to Netflix marked the first time the U.S. streamer had acquired a Croatian drama.

The Mediavision topper says NEM Dubrovnik was "never only a conference" but adds that the conference sessions have unlocked something new for the region: "Through panels, people from the region have been able to see people that had never been seen here before."

Big regional names speaking this time include Nataša Rapaić, who will take the reins as Croatian Telecom's first female CEO in July. Božić-Ljubičić moderates a handful of big sessions herself, including this one. She will also sit down with Bartosz Witak for another of the keynotes. The newly appointed General Manager for the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) Region at BBC Studios will unpack his strategy at NEM.

International top brass in attendance includes Monty Sarhan, CEO of streamer SkyShowtime. Warner Bros. Discovery and Max execs are peppered through the line-up. Jamie Cooke, General Manager for the WBD in CEE, the Middle East and Turkey will make the case for Max becoming one of the top three streamers in the countries he oversees in the next three-to-five years.

Božić-Ljubičić wants screenings to be part of proceedings at her event, but not to the extent that attendees and buyers are taken out of commission for other parts of proceedings. Amazon MGM Distribution, Disney, IDTV, and Lionsgate will have their own screenings or showcases. Keshet International and TV Nova/Voyo will give delegates the inside track on their spy thriller Extractors.

Taking any region as a homogenous whole is missing valuable local nuance. NEM will stage a session giving practical advice on content acquisition, but tailored to the specific countries, with Program Directors from Serbia's PRVA TV and b92, pubcaster Czech Television and others.

Of course, there will also be sessions on tech and specifically FAST, and how artificial intelligence is impacting the TV business.

Having partnerships and coproduction top of mind is now fairly standard at TV industry events, the likes of Series Mania major on getting production partners together. While NEM Dubrovnik’s sister event in December, NEM Zagreb, digs deeper into coproduction, how producers, broadcasters, distributors and funders can work together will inform many discussions in Dubrovnik.

For the regional players, there is a particular need to talk about copros and funding. "If you take the all of the CEE region plus some countries like Greece, and the Balkans, their projects often need an injection of money and someone to invest. That’s why we do a lot of panels on coproduction, this is very, very important for this region. It’s important for all regions, but for this one especially."

NEM Dubrovnik runs June 10 to June 13.

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