In preparation for MIPCOM, we’re running a series of brief interviews with leading executives. We spoke with Breakthrough Entertainment’s vice president of Distribution, Craig McGillivray, about the Toronto-based company’s plans for the market.
VideoAge: Do you expect this MIPCOM to be different from last year’s in terms of a) results, b) number of buyers you’ll meet with and c) activities around the market (parties/events/etc)?
Craig McGillivray: The Breakthrough team is looking forward to MIPCOM this year for a number of reasons. We welcome a new member of our team Caroline Tyre, our new Senior Director of International Sales and Acquisitions who will be bringing her keen insight into television to the MIPCOM market. We are also exited to be bringing our latest project with REELZ, Hollywood Homicide Uncovered, to show at the market.
MIPCOM is traditionally our most profitable market because of the exposure to international buyers and North American broadcasters interested in premium content and animation. Each member of our sales team is starting to fill out their meeting schedules now so we anticipate a busy week. I try to get to as many events as possible, but tend to spend most of the market in daily meetings and then dinners with existing clients and broadcasters.
VA: Do you feel that MIPCOM is becoming too big?
CG: Since Breakthrough has been in the industry for over 30 years, most of our meetings at MIPCOM are set up through existing relationships, and are very targeted based on what we feel is the best home for distribution of our premium content, and with those producers who are creating work that best serves the broadcasters we develop with.
MIPCOM’s standing as the largest t.v. market in the world is beneficial to us because, as a studio who produces, distributes and brokers deals it creates opportunities for us to both have access to buyers and be accessible to sellers. As MIPCOM grows, so does access to content and sales channels. Reed Midem (double check that is the name of the company who runs it) is doing an excellent job of managing the data of the registrants and exhibitors so it is easy to filter through content, and find contact information where necessary. Although it is large, their searchable databases ensure it is not overwhelming.
VA: If you had a chance to see the conference program, which one would you attend?
CG: Personally, I am looking forward to the Virtual Reality conference. VR is really starting to take off and will become an important part of the entertainment business in the near future, and since Breakthrough Entertainment is starting to expand into new technologies and platforms like VR, we want to be able to fully utilize everything virtual reality can offer.
VA: Are you bringing new shows? What are they? CG: We definitely have some new shows that we are working on with partners that we are proud to show at MIPCOM with a focus on original factual content. We have partnered with Feel’n; a Hallmark brand network, to bring two new factual series’ which include Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke and Wonder Women. In addition to Hollywood Homicide Uncovered with REELZ I mentioned previously, we also have Making a Killing and Young Once to bring to MIPCOM this year. Outside of new content, we have a number of series that are continuing to expand through our partnership with YTV. Some of these include L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables film, which continues to expand to new markets, and has been slated for two additional films with YTV. There is also the recent announcement of two new Bruno & Boots films; which are being produced by Aircraft Pictures and distributed by Breakthrough.
VA: Which territories are emerging for you?
CG: While overall we feel that many new territories will continue to emerge, such as Africa, which is already breaking into the international landscape of entertainment, we are more noticing that it is the emergence of new platforms and access to technology that is helping foster growth across the globe.
We have been doing business in both U.S. and Asia for a number of years, and recently our Anne of Green Gables property is still seeing incredible growth internationally, with some recent sales in Germany, the UK and Australia. We will continue to pursue deals and new relationships in these territories and look to identify the areas that have the most opportunity for growth.
VA: Which window is increasing in sales? (FTA, SVOD, etc)
CG: We are still doing our strongest work in traditional linear broadcast, as can be seen with our recent TV film Anne of Green Gables, which went to PBS, ITV and ARD to name a few, as well as the immense number of children’s and family TV series’ we produce and distribute regularly. We are at the point where we feel the integration of emerging platforms such as VOD, along with our traditional methods, will help carve out new potential for our titles.
As always we continue to create high quality digital media that can help support our traditional broadcast properties as we feel utilizing new tools helps bolster the overall quality of our programming and leads to more dedicated viewership.