A reformatted MIPCOM took place in Cannes, hosting some 4,500 executives on site, according to RX France’s Lucy Smith, with the lessons learned from planning this event set to inform the shape of MIPTV 2022.
“One of the things we’ve been trying to do is get closer and closer to the clients, listen and keep adapting to what their needs are,” Smith, director of MIPTV and MIPCOM for RX France, tells World Screen. “The whole idea is to be as open and transparent as we can. We’ve been telling everyone exactly what the situation was with the different communities coming. We felt that was absolutely key. We knew it would be a difficult market and we knew it would be difficult to get here, so we’re delighted to be back. The feedback we’re getting is incredibly positive. It just feels like everybody has been waiting for this MIPCOM to happen. I don’t think any of us imagined last December or January when we started talking to clients about what it would be. As we got closer, we started to feel we had a vision for what it could be. And this is it. We thought we’d be able to get it to about 5,000 people. We think now it’s closer to 4,500. We wanted to feel they could keep on coming, right up until the last minute. And they could take part however they needed it. It wasn’t about exhibiting; it wasn’t about who has the big stand. It was about bringing the MIPCOM community back together and getting back to an in-person market.”
It was, indeed, a compressed exhibition space, spread across the upper floors of the Palais and R7, with R8 devoted to an expansive meeting space. Smith says MIPCOM played host to 145 stands from 38 countries.
Those attendees surveyed by World Screen were largely upbeat about the experience, noting the setup and smaller size of the market allowed them to spend more time with their buyers on site. There were about 1,200 here this week, Smith reveals. Attendance from Latin America, Asia and North America was light, given travel restrictions, but the distributors I spoke with indicated that many of their key European clients were in Cannes.
“Nothing can replace one-on-one meetings and the ability to walk on the Croisette or the corridor of the Palais and meet your colleagues and find out what they’re looking for, what they need,” says Avi Armoza, founder and CEO of Armoza Formats (a division of ITV Studios), which took a stand on the exhibition floor. “At the end of the day, television is a business of people to people, and we need to be here with our clients.”
“It’s like starting all over again,” Armoza continues. “It’s a different setup of the market. But we get the sense that everyone is happy to be here. We still have a substantial number of meetings with relevant clients. We’re missing a lot from the U.S. and Latin America, but it was important for us to be here for the clients who are here.”
Stefanie Fischer joined Off the Fence as managing director of sales just a few months before lockdown. “So I had not met any of my clients in person. We spent two years together [virtually]—I met the kids, the pets, the living rooms, the kitchens; I know them all, but I’ve not met them in person. For me, it was very special to see at least some of them in person. I’m very excited about that.”
“This is a great opportunity for us to all gather together,” says Gavin Reardon, the head of international sales and co-productions at Incendo and one of a small North American contingent in Cannes this week. “The connections we have remind me of why I’m in this business.”
Studio 100 Media was one of several kids’ companies with stands at R7. “With the U.S. [buyers], there are fewer meetings, same for Asia, so our sales executives [for those regions] stayed at home and are doing video calls. At this market, we are focusing on European meetings, and they are actually all here,” says CEO Martin Krieger.
“We think the pandemic, in Europe at least, is over because it’s under control in Italy and many other countries,” says Rainbow CEO and Founder Iginio Straffi. “After over a year and a half of very slow activities, it’s really time to restart and to give a real sign we had to come physically with a stand. That’s the way to come back to normal business terms. This is what I forecast for next year, where all the other companies that didn’t come will see the opportunity and come back to the market. To be honest, it’s fewer meetings than usual, it’s fewer people, but it’s quality meetings. Important people are here to do business and make decisions. The European channels are almost all here. For Rainbow, a global company with a strong presence in Europe, this was important. We have had a stand at MIPCOM for 25 years, so we believe we have to support the fair with our presence.”
“We all missed MIPCOM, the hype and the energy and the business, so we thought it was good to come back,” says Global Agency CEO and Founder Izzet Pinto, one of several Turkish distributors that exhibited on the show floor. “One is bigger than zero, so even though one-third of the people came, I think it was definitely worth coming back. So far, it’s going well. We have over 100 meetings in four days. For me, it’s worth coming and I’m happy to be back.”
Smith has heard similar feedback from the clients she’s been speaking with this week. “We’re hearing from clients that they’re having constructive meetings. They do not have to do nonstop 30-minute meetings; they’re trying to take a bit longer.”
Smith and her team at RX France are already busy prepping for 2022, with the lessons learned from the early work of beginning to transform MIPTV and reformatting MIPCOM amid a world still dealing with the pandemic set to go into plans for events next year.
“Our clients have made it clear that physical events remain irreplaceable. We’re working on MIPTV and MIPCOM, as well as MIP China and MIP Cancun.” Sister company RX Africa, meanwhile, will stage MIP Africa in Cape Town next August.
“We’ve learned from our digital experiences over the last year. We announced OneMIP, the biggest global online platform for companies to launch their content to a community of buyers. This is a way to extend the reach of the physical market and look for new audiences who don’t necessarily come to Cannes or other markets.”
MIPTV will run in Cannes from April 4 to 6. “We will deliver on the transformation that we never got to do. We’re bringing a new three-day business-efficient market. We will be rolling MIPDoc and MIPFormats into MIPTV. We’ll offer a new streamlined approach to the exhibition. What we’ve been doing here is the blueprint for what we would think about doing at MIPTV. We will expect a bigger exhibition than here. The idea is we will be looking to make spaces where people can network and connect. The message is, companies can take part as they need to. It’s about delivering what the market needs for April. It’s an important rendezvous for everyone, but it needs to be adapted so that it makes sense to the business at that time.”