Up until September 10, all seemed to be proceeding as scheduled with the live MIPCOM event. However, three elements contributed to the announcement — made 30 days before the TV market would have opened its doors at the Palais in Cannes — that the live event would be scrapped in favor of an all-digital affair. First, there was the fact that few exhibiting companies committed to the live event. Second was the fact that Americans would not have been present. And third was the surge of people being infected with COVID-19 in the South of France.

That France was walking on a tightrope regarding COVID-19 was known as early as June when reports indicated masses of people walking along the Croisette sans masks and failing to socially distance. After the summer, with hordes of tourists with even more cavalier attitudes on display, the contagion increased, ultimately forcing the French government to impose added restrictions.

As for the lack of Americans, the problem here was two-fold. On the one hand, the E.U. hasn’t been allowing Americans in. On the other, Americans have been too afraid to travel, especially when airlines don’t enforce safety rules.

Of course, there wouldn’t have been any travel restrictions for Americans with dual passports, whether they be Canadian, Australian, or European, which prompted The Atlantic magazine’s recent headline: “American Passports Are Useless Now.”

In August, MIPCOM had confirmed that more 600 buyers would attend the market. This was probably largely due to the fact that buyers, including representatives from ITV, BBC, and Sony, were invited at no charge, so many signed on.

Earlier, in July, reps from Reed MIDEM explained that its annual flagship event, MIPCOM, would be taking place as a streamlined, hybrid event called MIPCOM Cannes Rendezvous. The three-day event would have taken place October 12-14 in Cannes with a live gathering that would have worked in tandem with MIPCOM Online Plus, the premium digital service connecting delegates who were unable to attend in person.

Another significant change was going to be the new floor plan, which lacked exhibition stands in or around the Palais des Festivals. Market delegates would have had access to open meeting spaces, reserved tables, and private lounges.

Then came the September 10 announcement that “the 36th annual MIPCOM will be entirely digital as MIPCOM Online Plus. The physical gathering is cancelled due to the continued impact of COVID-19.”

The unfortunate part is that even a smaller-than-usual live portion would have generated more interest for the virtual elements since curiosity would have forced more industry people to log on.

The virtual market will now take place in three stages over six weeks from October 5-November 17, during which participants and delegates can access programming and networking opportunities.

Now, MIPCOM will be centered around the digital MIPCOM Week that occurs October 12-16, and will include extended features before and after the main event.

MIPCOM Warm Up will start on October 5. It offers early access for participating delegates and virtual exhibitors to make the most of the MIPCOM digital marketplace by accessing Market Intelligence sessions, Content & Finance briefings, and the MIPJunior Screenings platform, as well as use of the MIPCOM Digital Hub to plan meetings for MIPCOM Week.

MIPCOM Week will be open October 12-16 as a global online interactive business market that will include a fully digital “Main Stage Cannes” conference and screenings programs involving Global Upfronts, keynotes, market screenings, the MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Awards, and much more. In addition, the Virtual Exhibit Hub and enhanced database will allow users to set up highly targeted video business meetings between distributors, producers, buyers, and all international delegates.

MIPCOM Follow Up Plus runs from October 17 to November 17 and will offer replays of screenings, keynotes, and conference sessions from MIPCOM and MIPJunior. Delegates and exhibitors can continue to conduct business through the MIPCOM Online+ interactive database tools and Virtual Exhibit Hub, as well as use the MIPJunior digital library.

One new feature for buyers is the MIPCOM 2020 Global Upfronts presentations, where international studios present curated showcases of new programming, ranging from finished series to projects in production. As of early September, the line-up for the Global Upfronts presentations included ViacomCBS, Discovery, Newen, All3media, A+E Networks, BBC Studios, and ZDF Enterprises.

On October 1, Paul Zilk, CEO of Reed Exhibitions’ Reed MIDEM division, which organizes MIPCOM, left his post. Zilk is succeeded by Michel Filzi, CEO of Reed Expositions France (REF). Filzi, who has 20 years of experience at REF, will remain REF’s CEO. Zilk joined Reed MIDEM in 2001 and for the next year he’ll serve as an advisor to Dominic Feltham, president of Reed Exhibitions EMEA.

Audio Version (a DV Works service)

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