The Week at MIPTV

Rising costs, the looming writers’ strike in the U.S., the general economic malaise and the booming opportunities in AVOD and FAST dominated conversations at MIPTV last week. There was, as has been par for the course in Cannes in April over the previous few years, an abundance of speculation about the market itself. For those comparing the annual spring event to MIPCOM, foot traffic may have seemed sparse, especially following this year’s reopening of “The Bunker”—rebranded as “Le Boulevard”—with events, networking spaces and stands spread out across the sprawling Palais. But by the numbers, attendance was up by more than 20 percent on last year’s post-Covid-19 return. “MIPTV is here to stay,” Lucy Smith, director of MIPTV and MIPCOM Cannes at RX France, told reporters last Wednesday morning.

Participants hailed from 86 countries, with 5,510 delegates in person in Cannes and a further 120 through the MIPTV online platform. Addressing reporters at the traditional closing breakfast press conference, Smith confirmed that the market will be back in 2024, from April 15 to 17, and stressed that the company continues to work with its clients as it adapts the event to suit the needs of the business today.

“We changed it to a market that is more concentrated, bringing everything into these three days; more flexible, enabling exhibitors to scale their presence to meet the priorities for this time of year; and it has detailed genre strands to meet the needs of doc, factual, formats, kids and now FAST,” Smith said. “And most importantly, an international market. We do global, multi-genre markets here in Cannes.”

Smith said she’s aware there is “noise” about all the developments in the media conferences landscape (indeed, the battle between two other publishing groups for Budapest popped up in many conversations last week). “I can confirm that MIPTV has grown. MIPTV will be back next year. We are focusing on what we do and that we are the only ones to do, which is a global spring market.”

The inaugural FAST & Global Summit took place in the packed MIP LAB in the Palais, with the importance of localization, access to exclusive content and the challenges of discoverability among the key themes addressed. Media cartographer Evan Shapiro touched on AVOD and FAST in his illuminating Media Mastermind keynote on Monday morning. Shapiro pens the Media War & Peace newsletter and is a professor at NYU at Fordham University. He has compiled a well-regarded Media Universe Map since 2020 and delivered exclusive findings from his research in Cannes. The award-winning producer also previously ran IFC, Sundance TV and Seeso.

“Everything that’s happening in the ecosystem is changing,” Shapiro said. “Television is this great product that everybody on the face of the Earth uses. The technology of streaming has really shifted the way we think about how television is viewed, how it’s consumed and the economics of it. But just making TV, just putting it on, doesn’t change the economic underpinning, the financial well-being of the ecosystem. We need to reshape the way we think about how television is consumed and distributed and, ultimately, the economy underneath it. We have to change our mindset completely. We can’t just shift and tweak.”

He continued, “When you think about how the consumer thinks about media, you have to put all these things in your head at the same time. Your intellectual property has to traverse all of these platforms and all of these different ways of consumption if you’re going to scratch all the itches that the consumers you are trying to satisfy are looking to scratch. So when you think about how you make intellectual property, don’t only think about television. Think about where else it can go because you are leaving a tremendous amount of value for yourself and for your consumer if you don’t think about how to reach them on several different platforms with each piece of intellectual property. When you think about the financial underpinnings of this ecosystem, don’t only think about streaming or linear, audio or video, social or TV. They are all colliding in the mind of a consumer, on the device of the consumer. We have to really begin to think about things not as an ‘either-or’ but much more as a ‘yes, and.’ Don’t reject something in the ecosystem simply because you’ve never done it before because it’s not part of the tradition of making television. We have to adapt.”

STUDIOCANAL CEO Anna Marsh discussed attracting and nurturing talent and navigating a challenging media ecosystem in her Media Mastermind keynote conversation with World Screen’s Anna Carugati, while Ruth Berry, managing director of ITV Studios’ global commercial division, outlined her new remit, trends in non-scripted entertainment, the acquisition of Plimsoll Productions and opportunities in the FAST segment.

Discussing the highlights of the week, Smith noted: “The benefits to having all of the international industry in one place to discover, connect and acquire is magnified by trends such as increased licensing to third parties, the pace of growth for FAST channels internationally, and the ongoing hunger for, and necessity of, co-production partnerships—themes we will further build on at MIPCOM Cannes in October.”

MIPCOM Cannes is set to run October 16 to 19, with MIPJunior returning to the JW Marriott the weekend before. “MIPCOM Cannes is the world’s greatest gathering of TV and entertainment executives from around the planet,” Smith noted. “Major global studios, platforms, producers and distributors will be in Cannes in force, both in the Palais and the major outdoor builds. Around 80 percent of the exhibition space is already booked. We’ll be moving the Producers Hub & Lounge, which is such a core part of the market for everyone right now, to a new location, beachfront, to accommodate more capacity. There will be an October edition of the FAST & Global Summit. We will reopen the Riviera 9 space to [create] more premium exhibition space, which we need because MIPCOM is also growing again.”

Smith said attendance is expected to be up on last year’s 11,000 participants. Next up on the calendar for RX France is the tenth anniversary of MIPCancun, set for November 13 to 16.

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