President, Global Distribution, Disney Media Networks
VideoAge International: At MIPCOM will you have a more definite picture of your output shown at the Screenings? Can you outline it?
Ben Pyne: We have orders for 13 episodes (pilot plus 12) each of our new ABC series: No Ordinary Family, Body of Proof, Criminal Minds, Detroit 1-8-7, Happy Endings and My Generation. For Off the Map we have an order of seven episodes (pilot plus six).
VAI: What will be your focus at this MIPCOM in terms of product?
BP: As in any year, and particularly as in the last few years, we’ll focus on Disney Media Distribution’s incredible portfolio. This includes our movies, our series and our kids’ franchises. And this year we’re also very excited about our recent acquisitions from Marvel. It’s a wonderful portfolio that continues to grow.
When it comes to series, No Ordinary Family is certainly one pilot that we’re very excited about. It’s one of the key ABC tent poles in the fall. Also exciting is Body of Proof, which is a character-driven procedural starring Dana Delany. The pilot screened at the Roma Fiction Fest in July, and was very well received. Internationally, Criminal Minds has been a huge franchise for us. We also have four other shows from ABC Studios, and, of course, Marvel is new to the franchise. There is a library of Marvel content that we have, and as they develop new series we look forward to bringing that to the kids market.
VAI: What will be your focus in terms of territories?
BP: In the case of MIPCOM, it’s a pretty global event. All of the shows we are highlighting are new. We’re focusing on all the territories around the world. We have learned a lot in terms of run times for shows in other countries, digital media, marketing and promotion and built relationships with partners around the world. In addition to that, there are some developing territories Central Europe, Russia, Southern Europe, the Middle East and so forth, where there is continued growth potential.
VAI: In your view, is MIPCOM only important because of the sales prospects or does it have other value?
BP: I think MIPCOM is a key sales opportunity, but like any good conference, they have tremendous sessions on a broad range of topics. I always try to attend a few. Clearly our industry about good business relationships, and MIPCOM’s a time to catch up with a colleague or a client, even if you’re not trying to sell them something. The world of media changes so fast as technology comes into play, so it’s a wonderful learning experience.
VAI: Are there any other announcements or ventures Disney will be promoting at the market?
BP: We have two big studio movies coming up. Tron and Tangled, which will be launching in the fourth quarter. Also, we’re continuing to focus on formats and localized version of our content. For The Amazing Race, we’ve added two new markets, China and Australia. And Golden Girls has local productions in Greece, Turkey and other regions, as well as a recently announced new version in Spain. There are also a number of other opportunities around the world that we will be talking about at MIPCOM.