A virtual market should mirror a live TV trade show. This is the basic premise with which it should be organized.
In order for a virtual MIP-TV to replicate — not duplicate — a live event, the organizers have to put themselves in the shoes of buyers.
What would content buyers do to prepare for a live TV market? First, they would make appointments to “meet” with 40 or so sellers. In lieu of an in-person visit, buyers in a virtual environment would promise to watch the promos of those companies they “met” with.
Sellers (aka “virtual exhibitors”) would need MIP-TV to send them a list of buyers who are willing to be contacted. At live markets, buyers are usually not inclined to sift through a vast catalog, as they are only interested in procuring new content. Therefore, MIP-TV organizers should request 10 new titles (at most) from each virtual exhibitor that they can then link to a video presentation on the virtual MIP-TV portal. If buyers are interested in previewing more content from sellers, additional content can always be requested directly.
During the virtual market period, buyers would be able to connect to each of those companies that they have selected in order to view their promos. For a buyer, the virtual market is actually much more efficient than visiting 40 different companies’ websites.
So a virtual MIP-TV would have a list of exhibitors that are easy to locate. And exhibitors should also be able to schedule times to chat with their sales reps in case buyers would like to connect live via e-mail, telephone, Skype, or Zoom.
For those buyers who did not respond to seller invitations, or did not find anything of interest among the exhibitors that they visited, the virtual market should include all of the virtual exhibitors’ new titles listed by genre so that buyers can roam through the virtual market as they would a live market, and then contact the sellers.
Finally, since exhibitors tend to advertise new shows, the virtual market should also have an easy way to find virtual magazine bins of trade publications that buyers could open and leaf through.