At the recently concluded MIPCOM, which took place in the traditional Cannes setting from October 15-20, all major U.S. studios were in full force. In particular, CBS, Disney, NBCUni and Fox scheduled special events to highlight their new slates. The six major U.S. studios were in Cannes with a total of 60 new series. Some of the studios reported that this market was surprisingly very hectic.
In terms of events, Disney showcased three of their brightest stars: Shonda Rhimes as MIPCOM’s Personality of the Year, Ben Sherwood as keynote speaker and Ben Pyne at his traditional luncheon-presentation, plus their premiere of Love and War.
Sony Pictures had keynote speaker Kazuo Hirai and screened The Halcyon; Fox TV Distribution honored its veteran TV distribution top executive Marion Edwards with a party upon receiving a Vanguard Award, screened Mars and premiered The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
VideoAge calculated that the U.S. studios took up close to 30 percent of all of MIPCOM’s programmed event hours. In terms of content, Belinda Menendez, president, NBCUniversal International Distribution and Networks, reported that compared to last MIPCOM, “We had a higher volume of shows this year and more breakout series such as Taken and Chicago Justice for NBC, My So Called Wife for E! and Falling Water for USA Network. We were also very excited to screen Jamestown, which is our next big show from Carnival [the producers of Downton Abbey].”
As far as which show has the potential to become a super hit, Menendez said, “nearly all our clients across FTV, basic, pay-TV and SVoD are enthusiastic about Taken.”
At Twentieth Century Fox TV Distribution, senior vice president Greg Drebin reported that they had more quantity and diversity of product in many years. For Fox, the current buzz is This is Us (for NBC), while there is expectation for “their big brands” of the mid-season 24 Legacy and Prison Break, which will air in March.
CBSSI’s president of sales Barry Chamberlain said, “we are extremely pleased with the performance of Bull and MacGyver, the top two new series on television. Our number one new series Bull and number two new series MacGyver have all the necessary elements — action, adventure, humor, and entertaining storytelling — to become our next international’s super hits.”
Ben Pyne, president of Global Distribution at Disney Media Network, reported that, in comparison with last year, Disney now has more returning series than ever. During his traditional press luncheon, Pyne introduced Keli Lee, who moved to London as managing director, International Content and Talent ABC Studios, using the successful model of Disney LATAM “for local production, local content and local talent.”
The Cannes market started with a busy Sunday, before the Palais opened for business, with a sneak press preview of A+E Networks’ new stand. In addition to MipJunior official parties, there were screenings/cocktails from Italy’s Rai Com and Turkey’s Global Agency, which took guests by helicopter from Cannes to Monte Carlo. Indeed, the Turkish companies made their presence known throughout the market: from helicopter rides to the mega party from ITV Inter Medya on Tuesday and Kanal D’s “screening car” along the Croisette.
On Monday, MIPCOM first day, the floor in the Palais was unexpectedly quiet, mostly because the action had moved to the U.S. studios stands, which was a typical pattern, since buyers tend to flock to the studios before going to visit the indies.
More activities were registered late in the afternoon with many on-the-floor receptions, including one at Scripps Networks. However, the evening rain slowed the activities again for participants who had to run from the Fox Networks Group cocktail to the Eccho Rights party, to the market opening night reception and to the Disney party (in its tent adjacent to the Palais).
As predicted, on day two, the floor was flooded with buyers meeting with indies in a very hectic environment helped by sunny weather.
This year, Japan was MIPCOM’s country of honor. Under the theme “Spirit of Imagination,” the market kicked off with a Japanese producer workshop and co-sponsored Press Breakfast. Plus, the Opening Party featured live performances from Japanese DJs and musicians, along with the 4K HDR world premieres of WOWOW’s Cold Case Japan and Moribito from NHK.
In celebration of Japanese culture, people in traditional geisha clothes served sake and held a matcha tea ceremony in the Japanese Plaza. There was also a Japanese umbrella stand and a Japan Pavilion, where the sake tasting was courtesy of Tohokushinsha Film Corporation.
On Tuesday, at the Lionsgate booth, the OTT platform Vimeo officially launched its new Global Television Storefront digital pay-TV service in partnership with Lionsgate, the first major Hollywood studio to provide content for the new venture. Vimeo also announced Starz as the latest partner to license its programming.
The former Media Development Authority (MDA) was in Cannes under a restructured entity: the Infocommunications Media Development Authority (IMDA), after merging with the former Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). The restructuring aims to better capitalize on the convergence, of pay-TV and telecommunications.
IMDA’s CEO is Gabriel Lim (who was MDA’s CEO) and Angeline Poh is assistant CEO. Both were in attendance at MIPCOM. According to Lim, for whom this was his first market in Cannes, IMDA’s goal is to “make Singapore the media hub of the whole Asian and beyond for film TV and digital.”
In Cannes, IMDA was housed at the Singapore umbrella stand and was also promoting the two-year old Singapore Media Festival 2016, Southeast Asia’s main international media festival, of which ATF is a part.
Recently, Singapore began an economic integration project among 10 countries of Southeast Asia; better known as AEC for Asian Economic Community, which will establish a single market second to China and third to India.
The number of Latin American buyers attending MIPCOM increases every year, and the South Cone sent the largest contingent. New entries were represented by Central America and digital platforms, while pan-regionals maintained a steady level.
It is estimated that over 100 LATAM buying companies were circulating in the Palais. In addition to direct buyers, there was a large number of Latin American distributors who attend MIPCOM to buy LATAM rights in order to replenish their distribution pipes.
On average, sellers met with 30 to 50 total buyers (representing some 25 buying companies) while buyers tend to have between 10 and 15 meetings a day over the course of three and a half days. The U.S. studios are LATAM buyers’ priority, whether or not they have deals with them. Second on their list are LATAM companies, followed by non-LATAM sellers, especially for formats.
Azteca’s Margarita Black reported that 20 percent of her agenda was devoted to LATAM companies. For 8 Star Entertainment’s Cida Goncalves, her focus was LATAM sellers. From Uruguay’s Canal 10, Cecilia Presto was “meeting with U.S. studios, always.”
However, LATAM sellers based in Miami would prefer meeting buyers who are based in Florida (like, for example, the pan-regionals) in their offices, and save their schedule at MIPCOM for non-LATAM buyers instead. Similarly, buyers do not meet with sellers from the same countries while in Cannes. VideoAge estimates that there were over 200 sellers from LATAM, which made MIPCOM the best venue to promote Reed Midem’s MIP Cancun market this month.
In fact, MIPCOM has now become the third largest market for LATAM television, after NATPE Miami and the L.A. Screenings.
To celebrate LATAM participation at MIPCOM, the Mexican Pavilion organized “La Fiesta del Tequila,” and on the conference side, Argentina’s INCAA organized a standing-room only presentation of “New Drama Content From Latin America.”
On the sales side, Somos’ COO Jose Espinal said that at MIPCOM “our special strength was in the Spanish speaking territories, but we also did business dealings with Eastern Europe, France, Italy, Middle East and Asian territories. We had close to 20 [scheduled] daily meetings.”
Hugo Treviño, Logistics and Events for Televisa, reported that MIPCOM, “was a very busy week for all our sales team from Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and MENA.”
Esperanza Garay, senior vice president of Sales Latin America at Telemundo Internacional, said that at MIPCOM she meets “five to seven clients a day from Latin America we focused on Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Panama, Uruguay and Peru.”
And Jesús Iriépar, International Sales for Europe and the Middle East at Caracol, at MIPCOM met “with mostly clients from the Middle East and Europe. More or less 12-15 daily, but the meetings were a mix.”
On Tuesday, the LATAM contingent was stopped in its tracks by the unexpected resignation of Televisa Internacional’s top executive Fernando Perez-Gavilan while he was still conducting meetings in Cannes.
As for the market’s figures, some 14,000 participants attended MipJunior and MIPCOM. As recently as three years ago, 13,000 participants were considered a record number. The number of exhibitors also grew: this year out of 2,000-plus exhibiting companies, more than 30 were new, and all occupied 24,100 sqm of exhibition space (last year, it was 23,705 sqm), which extended from the old port (exhibiting on anchored boats) to the opposite side at the end of the gardens.
VideoAge estimated that of the 2,000-plus MIPCOM’s exhibition companies, 508 (or 25.4 percent) came from the Americas (140 from Canada, 153 from the U.S. and 215 from LATAM) and they occupied an estimated 60 percent of the exhibition space.
During the four day-market, participants were invited to some 55 conferences for a total of 40 hours. These were in addition to breakfast and luncheon meetings and screenings.
The heaviest day was Tuesday, with 20 scheduled conferences, while on Monday there were “only” 18. By Wednesday, they tapered off to 13, and on Thursday only a handful remained.