MIFED has secured support from 73% of companies asked to choose between the Italian market and the preceeding London screenings in a worldwide survey by promotional body Film Export UK.

With the economic downturn adding urgency to buyers and sellers' longstanding complaints about attending two consecutive markets in different countries, only 2% were in favour of keeping the two markets as they are. The UK event was favoured by only 20% of companies, with 5% saying they wanted one market in either place but had no preference.

Lolafilms' Nicole Mackey, chairperson of Film Export's sales and marketing committee, intends to meet MIFED to pledge support as long as it improves services and keeps prices down. The Film Export committee includes representatives of most major UK sales companies - including Capitol, FilmFour, HanWay, IAC, Intermedia, Pathe and Winchester - plus the London arms of such overseas outfits as Summit and Universal.

In a letter attached to the survey, Mackey said that the majority of Film Export felt that London does not have enough screening facilities and that distances between meetings are far. "The Fiera is not an uplifting place to be but everything is under one roof and there are 28 screens playing films all day," Mackey said. "Milan is generally cheaper than London in terms of hotel, transport and food."

Of the 178 companies which replied to the survey, MIFED's main body of support was from European and US sales companies: 21 sellers based in Europe and 17 from outside Europe voted for Milan. Only three picked London, which many say was unmanageable last year, while two had no preference but wanted one or the other.

Of the buyers, ten out of 14 Japanese companies voted for Milan, as did six out of ten from France and nine out of ten Italians. Amongst US buyers, seven out of 12 went for MIFED. Amongst buyers from Australia and New Zealand, nine out of 12 preferred MIFED. London was favourite with four out of seven Scandinavians, four out of seven UK companies and three out of five South Africans.