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Marketing and advertising executives at unrelated conferences in Hong Kong, Portugal and Belgium had one thing in common: Issues involving cross-border marketing are coming with increased frequency.

At the 1994 Pan-Asia Satellite & Cable Television Conference in Hong Kong, speakers and attendees discussed whether the whole issue of regionality is dead.

Star TV confirmed at that meeting it will replace BBC World Service in its northern markets of Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea with a local language pay channel, Star Movies.

"Regionality is dead-everyone is looking market by market," one ad executive said.

The substitution reflects changes in Star's fundamental strategy to offer many language options.

In Estoril, Portugal, the race to form strategic alliances and switch prescription drugs to over-the-counter dominated the fifth OTC News Self-Medication Conference attended by 200 delegates.

As European governments slash costs at national health services by drastically cutting back on free prescriptions, pharmaceutical makers are increasingly marketing brands to consumers rather than relying on doctors' prescriptions.

Some companies are creating strategic alliances that can market drugs across Europe as they come off prescription.

At a meeting in Brussels, about 250 international policymakers, ad agency representatives, media owners, politicians and analysts discussed the European Union's controversial audio-visual policy, limiting foreign programming. Critics said the curb will be detrimental in the long run.

At another session, Joe Cappo, senior VP-publishing director at Advertising Age, was a panelist debating "Advertising: Agent or Victim of Change." The conference was organized by U.K. investment company Media Ventures International, Club de Bruxelles, law firm Denton International and accounting firm KPMG in association with Ad Age and Screen Digest.

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