The Week at MIPTV

Just over 3,500 delegates—including 1,133 buyers—made their way to Cannes for the long-running spring market’s last hurrah. Many I spoke with were sad to see the end of MIPTV, but the dramatic drop in attendance—down from 5,510 last year—made it clear that change was necessary.

“It does reflect global market factors, particularly consolidation and reduced budgets,” Lucy Smith, the entertainment division director at RX France, said at a closing press conference last week. “As has the increase in industry events in the first half of the year. Change was needed, and that’s why we’ve taken action to bring the curtain down on MIPTV and launch a new event, MIP London, which will help serve the appetite in the first half of the year and alleviate the industry events calendar. It will be a completely different market.”

Smith showcased the plans for MIP London at a packed presentation in Cannes. “MIP London is an all-new, multi-genre, international MIP market and networking event, taking place in the heart of London’s West End,” said Smith. “We know, from the fact that there have been more than 3,500 delegates here in Cannes this week, there is a need for the market at the beginning of the year. The event calendar has become very congested. The distribution business has moved forward to February and London. By launching MIP London, we believe we are responding to the new market needs. It will be very different in format and scale to this MIPTV.”

The event takes place from February 24 to 27, with a pre-market opening on February 23. It runs adjacent to the BBC Showcase and the London TV Screenings.

“Our plan is not to compete with but to be complementary to” the London TV Screenings, Smith stressed. “It’s complementary because there are more international companies who are going to London already or want to be going to London, and we can help to meet that demand. That’s what we’ve been told by clients who do not necessarily have a U.K. base or a U.K. events team, many of whom are here at MIPTV. Some have already organized screenings in London, and some haven’t yet but would like to do so. For all, it works to have a one-stop solution that we can provide rather than having to organize everything themselves.”

The move also “alleviates the busy event schedule in the first half of the year. And it brings the potential of more buyers, therefore more business, to London in February. And that is for the benefit of all.”

RX France will have an invitation program allowing buyers to attend MIP London for free. “There are nearly 1,200 buyers here at MIPTV this week. This does mean the likelihood is that there will be more buyers in London in that week of February.”

Smith stressed that MIP London is a content market, “but it’s not about a big exhibition hall as we are used to in the Palais. We’re providing distributors with meeting spaces. Buyers will be provided with a central hub where they can network, recharge and have meetings. We’ll have a MIP London database. And we’ll implement our online content screenings platform.”

Smith continued, “As we evolve our program, we’re very mindful of developing an offer for the MIPDoc and MIPFormats communities and the kids’ community.”

The non-scripted community had a fairly robust week in Cannes despite market trends. Indeed, the factual and formats sectors have held up better than most, as my recaps of the news from MIPDoc and MIPFormats indicate. The scripted sector, meanwhile, has had to recalibrate more than most. I had the great pleasure of moderating a panel with SkyShowtime’s Kai Finke, Mediawan Pictures’ Elisabeth d’Arvieu, Banijay’s Steve Matthews and Endemol Shine Finland’s Max Malka about how they are navigating the disruptions in the media business. The session, Finding Silver Linings, explored how the panelists are adjusting to new market realities and preparing for the future. Finke, chief content officer at SkyShowtime, acknowledged the challenges of the streaming subscriber economy amid a cost-of-living crisis and extensive competition but is bullish about the Comcast and Paramount Global-owned platform’s prospects as it builds its business across Europe. As content partnership executive at Banijay, Matthews’ remit sees him driving co-pro opportunities across many of the group’s labels, including Endemol Shine Finland, which has expanded its scripted slate under Malka. As CEO of Mediawan Pictures, d’Arvieu oversees the cinema and animation activities and a portfolio of international production companies. She referenced the array of challenges production companies face as commissioning teams are restructured and production, talent and IP costs soar. “The key for all these producers is to be agile.”

While the drama business isn’t quite what it was at the peak of peak TV, MIPTV played host to a range of deal announcements, while Canneseries brought an assortment of star power to the Croisette. It was a big week, in particular, for Turkish dramas. The cast and creatives behind Global Agency’s hit Turkish drama One Love were on site in Cannes to discuss the cultural clash that drives the Turkish drama (and were present as the distributor sent a fond farewell to MIPTV with an epic bash at the Martinez). Madd Entertainment signed deals to send six new series to the Middle East and North Africa and licensed a raft of Turkish dramas in Spain. Open TV in Greece debuted Like a Liea brand-new romantic comedy-drama based on the Turkish format My Sweet Lie. The crime drama Persona, starring Haluk Bilginer, is returning for a second season and has a French remake in the works.

In other news, Onza Distribution inked a deal with Mediaset España for the Portuguese telenovela Cacao to air in Spain on the Divinity channel. Icebreaker, a Finnish supernatural thriller with horror elements, won the MIPDrama Buyer’s Coup de Coeur. Several Asian producers and distributors were present in Cannes to continue elevating their global profile, including CJ ENM, which brought A Bloody Lucky Day to MIPTV.

The Global FAST & AVOD Summit was back to highlight the booming opportunities in that sector. The sessions included David Salmon, executive VP and managing director of international at Tubi, talking to MIPTV delegates about the AVOD platform’s planned U.K. launch this summer. Salmon outlined where Tubi can compete in this increasingly competitive environment. BVOD and SVOD, he said, “typically tend to have slightly smaller and more heavily merchandised content libraries. They have strong brand safety, but fundamentally, they don’t always have the same depth.” YouTube, with a broader content offering, “is purely based on algorithmic discovery, but there is a certain amount of brand safety concern and content risk. Tubi as a business is somewhere in the middle. We typically tend to have a very large library. The experience is highly customized. This type of experience is only possible with extensive investments in machine-learning-based content-discovery personalization. By doing this, consumers can discover these amazing content rabbit holes. We are counter positions to broadcasting on-demand and subscription video-on-demand.”

Looking to tap into the next generation of content viewing, Gaggl, a new company that licenses and distributes TV shows to content creators for them to watch with their communities on social platforms, was unveiled at the market. Adam Harris, a co-founder of Gaggl, noted: “Gen Z expects their entertainment to be interactive, real-time, collective experiences. The creators they watch represent the values, identity and interests of this demographic. In my time at Twitch, we worked with major brands to help them navigate this changing landscape, and at Gaggl, we will now do the same for TV content owners.”

As the 61st edition of MIPTV came to a close, Smith remarked: “The challenging conditions for the industry are not abating yet, but what’s struck home to me this week is that the international TV industry is resilient. It is increasingly open-minded, looking to adapt and find new ways of working and even some old ways. The overriding theme is that with change comes opportunity.”

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