President, Television Distribution, Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution
VideoAge International: At MIPCOM do you have a more definite picture of your output shown at the Screenings? Can you outline it?
Marion Edwards: We’ve had some changes since the screenings, including two new shows. The first one is a pilot we looked at the Screenings, Breakout Kings, which is going to be on A&E. It’s about a U.S. Marshal who uses three of the most difficult to capture convicts to help him track down other people who have escaped from prison. We have a 13-episode order for that. We also have a show that will have a change in title that will air on AMC. It’s based on a format called The Killings from Scandinavia. It is a really intense and interesting show that starts with a murder that takes place in the first episode, and the rest is the unwinding of the rest of that. It’s kind of like [90s drama] Murder One, but less glossy and much grittier. It’s about the solving of a crime and all the twists, turns many features reaching out into society that that entails.
We’re also letting people know that we have a show called Chaos that we we’re now producing as a co-production with CBS. It will be distributed by CBS International.
VAI: What is your focus at this MIPCOM?
ME: We always go to these markets focused on the content because that’s what our business is. Our core business is licensing our content as successfully as possible. So our shows from the L.A. Screenings as well as many more episodes of our FX shows will be our focus.
Beyond that, we’re seeing a lot of change in our core business model. Typically in the past we were a pay TV and free TV company. Now, as the world begins to change, we find that we have a lot of digital terrestrial clients, cable clients and people wanting to use online as a way of reaching their audience. So New Media is becoming our building block of where we need to be in the future.
VAI: In your view, is MIPCOM only important because of the sales prospects, or does it have other value?
ME: All of us [are here] to talk with our clients, because you can make sales any time of the year. MIPCOM gives you a concentrated time to see people and speak to them about their concerns and see where they’re going, and that’s really important. It’s more about forming a long-term relationship, and we’re very interested and invested in our clients’ success. We also use it as an opportunity to talk to people about what’s going on in Hollywoood and what’s going on in our business.
VAI: In a U.S. Studios’ universe, what do you estimate your market share will be this year (and does it represent an increase?) Plus, where will your growth will be coming from (product and/or territories)?
ME: Fox has been pretty luck, so I think our market share will be stable: Between Warner Bros. and Fox, that we control much of the U.S. programming, But that’s driven by the amount of content we drive into the market. We have a lot of content for cable and network. So I would assume we have the second largest amount of content.
Where growth is concerned, when something happens like the U.K. stops buying, which they did a few years ago, it’s not like some other market in a developing region will rise up and replace that revenue. International distribution is a balancing act, of trying to grow up the smaller markets while maintaining the larger markets. I’m happy to say that we’re on a pretty healthy trend going into MIPCOM. On top of that, growth will come from growing these other business, online, on demand and new media ventures.
VAI: We all know that MIP-TV is too close to the L.A. Screenings. What are your plans and suggestions?
ME: I can tell you that we will never not attend the L.A. Screenings. We will always be part of that. Will that process evolve? Probably. But the L.A. Screenings is the most important part of our calendar year. On the other hand, MIP is just a market. One of my first jobs when I got involved in this industry was analyzing whether we needed to go back to MIP. We still do that kind of analysis. But the nearness to the L.A. Screenings is in some way irrelevant. It’s the cost of participation that is a major factor. It is an enormously expensive thing for studios to go to these markets in Cannes. In these times of analyzing, you have to question whether or not MIP is, in terms of your clients: Is this the best way to spend the money? So that’s the analyses every year, and that’s what we to figure out.