Perhaps MIP-TV 2016 will be remembered as a market where exhibitors questioned journalists and not vice versa. “What do you think of this MIP?” was the question most often heard, even before reporters could address particular issues that dominated the market, such as formats, dramas, documentaries…and sales.
Naturally, the question implied some uncertainty about the market, although the attendees couldn’t quite pinpoint the reason. Nonetheless, it was a busy first few days in Cannes, with many screenings, press conferences, seminars, a Medal of Honor celebration and afternoon parties, both in the exhibitors’ stands and outside the Palais.
Special events that surrounded MIP, such as MipDoc, Drama Screenings, Digital Fronts and Formats, brought a large number of participants. MIP also had a good share of TV stars parading around various red carpets.
The uncertain weather kept most people indoors, filling up corridors for the early part of the market, while later in the week the sunny climate encouraged outdoor meetings.
One issue that was the talk of the town, but wasn’t officially addressed, was the L.A. Screenings. Despite the imposing presence of these upcoming rituals that are now in their 54th year, the MIP-TV official schedule totally ignored them. Indeed, out of 105 conferences, no one tackled topics such as “The Approaching New U.S. TV Season.” It was as if MIP was ducking the L.A. wave instead of riding it.
The exhibition floors at the Palais were not as densely populated as MIPCOM, which allowed for some relocations and booth remodeling. For example, the booths of CBS, Mediaset and Telefe were remodeled for better utilization of space, giving them roomier looks. Other exhibitors (such as Multicom, Blue Ant and ITV) were moved to more desirable locations, possibly occupying the space of companies that did not return to MIP (meaning they won’t have the same option for the undeniably busier MIPCOM), while others, such as Discovery, actually downsized in a different location. Canada’s The Fremantle Corp. took meetings in the VIP Club in place of a booth. Mexico’s Comarex and TV Azteca occupied different booths for the first time, but only because they separated their distribution activities.
Because MIP is not considered a U.S. “studio market,” NBCUniversal had space to house in its booth associate company Telemundo Internacional, but for MIPCOM it is expected that the two will return to separate booths. Unclear, however, is if at MIPCOM the recently merged 20th Century Fox TV Distribution and FIC will retain their separate spaces (and identities) or will be housed in the same booth.
In terms of product those U.S. studios with new summer series fared well at MIP, but those who sough to profit the most were indie exhibitors, who benefitted from the studios’ reduced program offerings.
Latin America generated some floor news with Italy’s Mondo TV announcing the co-production of Heidi Bienvenida a Casa, a 60 x 45” live action series in its first season. The series in now in pre-production in Argentina under Javier Francia of Alianzas Producciones, which will retain distribution rights for LATAM’s South Cone, while Mondo TV will cover the rest of the world.
Going to Germany, Studio 100 Media and Qatar-based beIN have joined forces to create a new channel for the Middle East and North Africa region. Based on the concept of “Junior” channel in Germany, “beJunior” will be available to pay-TV subscribers of the beIN Group and will feature programs from Studio 100’s library of children and family series.
And MIP-TV was big on unscripted content: Seminars, master classes, keynote speeches and over 920 companies (both exhibiting and those without stands) seemed to be clamoring for their unscripted shows.
Latin American companies were not as numerous as at MIPCOM, however there was still a big presence, with 16 exhibitors from South America and seven more from the U.S.
The Latins’ presence at MIP had also a strategic purpose, since they have to defend their conquests from the incursion of the formidable Turkish companies.
At MIP, the 23 Latin American exhibitors were “battling” 20 Turkish exhibitors who matched the Latins’ marketing power, series output and format offerings. The “war” is now on for licensee fees, with the Latins aggressively protecting their prices and market share. As prices were concerned, a Latin distributor complained that in order to establish their telenovelas in Latin America, a Turkish distributor first allowed a local TV outlet to broadcast a series for free. Once this strategy proved successful, the distributor charged over $10,000 an hour for subsequent series.
But it seemed that competition was in the eye of the beholder. Ivan Sanchez, sales director in Latin America for Turkey’s Global Agency said, “there isn’t much competition between Turkish and Latin American dramas, because Turkish series are generally picked up for primetime slots while Latin American telenovelas are used to fill daytime schedules.” However, this isn’t always the case because many Latin telenovelas are also primetime TV staples.
In Mexico, two Turkish telenovelas have been on air successfully for the past year, said Comarex’s Marcel Vinay Hill. He mentioned that the telenovela is a global phenomenon, not simply a Turkish or Latin American one. “It’s a genre well received all over the world. There are also Korean soaps in Latin America, along with Portuguese and Brazilian ones.”
María Estrella of Caracol said that Turkish companies “have a niche in Latin America, but at the same time, Caracol has an innovative presence.” Long-standing Latin American companies have the advantage of name recognition.
Despite the aforementioned “license war,” both Latin American and Turkish companies insist on a sense of camaraderie. According to Calinos’ Emre Gorentas, they relate on several levels, “from the similarities of our faces to the importance of culture and family connections, as well as the production and dubbing quality. With good dubbing, Turkish actors really look like they’re speaking Spanish, something that can’t be done with Korean series.”
Posters, billboards and illuminated panels were everywhere around Cannes (to the tune of up to $15,000 each), so VideoAge called upon a panel of 14 people –– from seven countries and made up of journalists and independent public relations agents –– to vote for the best billboard. Those with the most votes were The Story of God with Morgan Freeman (located at the entrance of the Carlton Hotel) and Ash vs Evil Dead in the main hallway of the Palais.
Wednesday’s Medal of Honor gala dinner at the Carlton Hotel celebrated a pioneer (Comarex’s Marcel Vinay Hill), two veterans (Disney’s Ben Pyne and Studio Canal’s Rola Bauer) and two powerful newcomers (Zee TV’s Amit Goenka and Punit Goenka, but the latter couldn’t attend the ceremony).
Overall, it was the usual “Mip-ish” market and even though some executives left early, many companies, such as Content, stayed until Thursday, April 7, the last day of the four-day market, utilizing the later part of the day as internal sales meetings.
And, looking to the future, the market organizers announced that the Country of Honor for MIPCOM 2016 is going to be Japan.