MIPTV: The Week in Drama

NEW YORK: Almost 400 acquisition executives spent their Sunday before MIPTV ensconced at the JW Marriott in Cannes screening 12 new buzzy drama titles from across the globe.

The inaugural MIPDrama Screenings, featuring titles selected by a jury of show creators and showrunners, culminated with the presentation of the Coup de Coeur for Public Enemy, produced by Playtime Films/Entre Chien et Loup for Belgium’s RTBF and distributed by Zodiak Rights.

The emphasis on the power of drama today didn’t end on Sunday, with screenings and a flurry of deals throughout the week. On Monday morning, programmers from CBC, Telewizja Polska, Mediaset, TV2 Denmark and Radiodiffusion Télévision Ivoirienne took part in a panel, moderated by World Screen’s Anna Carugati, on what they’re looking for in this ultra-crowded market. Period, contemporary, procedural, serialized, series and events are all on their shopping lists, and they’re all looking to co-produce.

One key refrain heard from distributors, meanwhile, is how hard it is to access talent today, especially when so many producers are aligned with bigger corporations. Indeed, the week saw a fair bit of investment news, most notably by STUDIOCANAL, which announced it had bought stakes in three companies: Urban Myth Films and Benedict Cumberbatch’s SunnyMarch TV in the U.K., and Spanish outfit Bambú Producciones. Red Arrow Entertainment Group invested in a new production company, Mad Rabbit, which will specialize in high-end drama. The outfit is a joint venture between Canadian director and showrunner Kari Skogland and Red Arrow Entertainment. Patrick Nebout, who previously set up NICE Drama in Sweden, aligned with Beta Film’s Jan Mojto to launch the joint venture Dramacorp. Meanwhile, Endemol Shine Group announced that it has established a new scripted hub in Israel, with plans to invest in local writers, showrunners and on-screen talent.

The ever-growing presence of digital buyers in the drama space was also a major theme of the week, with a flurry of announcements about SVOD and OTT licensing pacts. Netflix bagged the exclusive worldwide streaming rights for Marcella, a crime drama that hails from The Bridge writer Hans Rosenfeldt. Televisa’s blim service took Cisneros Studios’s Route 35, The Escape Valve (Ruta 35, La Válvula de Escape). Hulu sealed a deal with Entertainment One (eOne) for the exclusive U.S. streaming rights to The Book of Negroes. Content Television landed a presale for its brand-new miniseries The Secret Agent with RLJ Entertainment’s Acorn brand. The thriller Locked Up (Vis a Vis) from Imagina International Sales is headed to Walter Presents in the U.K., marking the service’s first Spanish buy. And all3media international sealed a deal with Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. for the Irish drama Red Rock.

European drama certainly took center stage during the week. A particular spotlight was placed on Germany, as part of the MIPTV Focus on Germany strand. Executives from ZDF, ZDF Enterprises, UFA Fiction and RAI spoke about the power of German drama at home and abroad in a MIPTV panel moderated by Carugati. The English-language co-pro Versailles drummed up a host of interest, with the show headed to more than 135 countries, including the U.K. with Amazon Prime and the U.S. with Ovation TV.

British drama continued to demonstrate its strength, with deals that included Keshet’s The A Word landing on SVT in Sweden and FremantleMedia International clinching three deals for the drama Capital, including a sale to the U.S. ITV Studios Global Entertainment’s much-anticipated Victoria presold across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Canada. And BBC Worldwide had a wealth of talent in town to showcase the eight-part drama The Collection, announcing presales for the co-pro in Sweden and Denmark.

Want to make sure you’re staying up to date with everything happening in the drama business today? Sign up for TV Drama Daily and TV Drama breaking news alerts herefollow us on Twitter and visit TVDrama.ws.