This year's Berlinale and European Film Market (EFM) was the most successful ever, at least in statistical terms: more industry visitors, more festival-goers, even the branded teddy bears sold out.

So this year's expansion of market floorspace and new programmes looks to have been justified. Indeed, the unprecedented arrival of 430,000 visitors has encouraged festival director Dieter Kosslick to talk about further growth. In a changing market environment, Berlin seems to have firmly established itself as one of the big three alongside Cannes and the American Film Market.

"The market continues to improve in Berlin, and like any market it's really just based on the product that's available. If the product is interesting, the buyers will come. It's important to have three markets," says Glen Basner of The Weinstein Company.

The presence of big US companies has been cemented over recent years.

"EFM is proving itself to be an important market in as much as we've done strong sales business and it's an effective launch pad for some key projects," says First Look International's Stuart Ford.

And the great news from the Berlinale is that many of the bigger European companies are not feeling squeezed out, despite some complaints from those located in an overspill location at Potsdamer Platz. Commendably, despite the clamour for spaces in the refurbished Martin Gropius Bau (MGB), Berlin went out of its way to recognise the loyalty of companies that have helped build up the EFM's reputation.

"A dream world would be to have a huge building where everyone is under one roof," says EFM head Beki Probst. "The MGB is a priority for people who have been with us from day one. I won't leave those people in the cold because some new companies have decided to come to Berlin."

As Andreas Rothbauer of Beta Cinema says: "The Berlin market has developed exactly into what we had hoped."

Says Wouter Barendrecht, co-chief of Fortissimo Films: "Berlin is always a good market for us. We've done well with new films and have cleaned up others from Venice, Toronto and AFM."

Adds Charlotte Mickie of Celluloid Dreams: "We're pleased with our space - terrific traffic, steady sales."

"We're thrilled," Focus Features International sales chief Alison Thompson says. "Berlin continues to be an important market for us and we continue to supply a new slate of films throughout the year and we're selling them to excellent partners."

One high-profile dissenting voice came from Wild Bunch's Vincent Maraval, whose disagreements with Kosslick saw the sales company setting up its own temporary cabin opposite MGB. But even there, the arguments were about a series of disagreements with Kosslick in particular rather than about Berlin as an event - and indeed the French company enjoyed record sales.

The question this year was perhaps less about the status of the market or the volume of sales, but why more eye-catching deals were not done.

"It was a quiet market," says Lionsgate UK's Zygi Kamasa who points to the lack of alluring fare at script stage.

Some of the highest-profile sales were actually of documentaries, most notably Morgan Spurlock's untitled Osama Bin Laden project which Wild Bunch sold throughout the world.First Look International's Larry Charles project also sold well, as did Fortissimo's Martin Scorsese-directed Rolling Stones documentary.

There were, of course, other hot sellers. Wild Bunch picked up big sales including the US on Spanish-language horror tale The Orphanage (Picturehouse), while Celluloid Dreams sold Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo's thriller Inside to The Weinstein Company.

There are a number of theories why the expanded market failed to scale the heights. One, of course, is that there were not enough quality new films this year. Another sees Berlin squeezed between AFM and Cannes with high-profile autumn festivals adding further disruption.

For Lisa Wilson of Hyde Park International, the EFM still has not found its level: "It's more of a meet-and-greet event in preparation for Cannes. I don't think psychologically the buyers have made the leap from festival to market here."

But what seems certain is that the repositioning of the world's film markets in recent years has left Berlin in a very strong position.