Time flies, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, and now it’s time for the seventh annual MIP Cancun… even though Cancun and its tropical climate can only be enjoyed on the computer screen this time around. Indeed, this year, the Latin America-focused TV market had to replace its on-site event with an online version grandiosely re-named MIP Cancun Online Plus.

Reps from the market’s traditional head-quarters, The Moon Palace Resort, located on the outskirts of the city of Cancun, are still sending past attendees email requests for return visits, but given Mexico’s high rate of infections, the decision to move the market online is considered a sound one. In view of the dramatic spread of COVID-19 throughout Latin America, especially in major TV territories like Argentina (with 10,000 people infected daily), MIP Cancun Online Plus could offer the clearest picture of the state of the TV industry in that region. But for that it is necessary to wait until after the event is over.

The irony is that psychologically, during a pandemic, thinking in terms of being “negative” is better than being “positive” (for COVID-19). It is hoped, however, that MIP Cancun will ultimately fulfill its positive outlook.

Meanwhile, in order to get a glimpse of what the market is preparing to offer to both program buyers and sellers, and how it will cope with the challenges presented by this new reality, VideoAge sat down for a virtual chat with Bénédicte Touchard de Morant, MIP Cancun’s director, who took over the job two years ago, from the Paris-based headquarters of Reed MIDEM, the market’s organizer.

VideoAge: With both buyers and sellers affected by “virtual fatigue,” how do you plan to overcome that?

Bénédicte Touchard de Morant: Nothing replaces physical meetings for our clients, and I hope we will soon be in a position to deliver that again. Nonetheless, MIP Cancun Online Plus offers a unique experience of one-to-one pre-scheduled online meetings in real time with key buyers, and distribution and production companies who wish to reconnect in the best way they can in the current global health situation.

MIP Cancun Online Plus is about more than just online meetings, it’s about reconnecting a community, and participants are looking forward to it.

With its signature one-to-one matchmaking format and conference program, MIP Cancun Online Plus has registered a positive response from the industry with more than 300 leading distributors, buyers, producers, and commissioners from Latin America and worldwide already confirmed for the 2020 online edition.

Of course, because of the worldwide situation, the approach will be different, but the spirit will be the same: to continue to bring the TV community together and be the leading event in Latin America.

It’s true that there has been an abundance of online forums and smaller one-off panels, but we are seeking to provide a holistic solution through an offering that is rich in content and tools that will support the community in making smart decisions, act as a catalyst for new business interactions, and serve as a platform to further discussions between parties.

VA: Will you be making use of AI for navigating the site?

BTdeM: Yes, the technology opens new opportunities. We are working with a platform that has already proven itself for other Reed MIDEM shows. The functionality will be different than MIPCOM Online Plus, for example, as MIP Cancun’s format is different, and totally based on one-to-one meetings. We will offer a pre-scheduled one-to-one meeting agenda with video, as well as conferencing (industry spotlight, market intelligence, etc.). This new platform is using AI-powered recommendations to create the best match for businesses according to a client’s profile.

VA: Since the live show of NATPE Miami has been canceled, will you go to Miami with a small face-to-face event in January 2021?

BTdeM: No, there are no such plans. We will be back in Cancun in 2021. MIP Cancun 2021 will take place from November 16 to 19. Our motivation is to bring together the global community at these key calendar times in the best way the situation allows at the time.

VA: Will the departure of Paul Zilk have an impact on MIP Cancun? 

BTdeM: The change of CEO will have no direct impact on our TV events. Our new CEO, Michel Filzi, has extensive experience in the events/exhibition business (including 22 years of trade show management and operational expertise) and we look forward to working under his leadership.

VA: Do you plan to aggregate any LATAM TV trade shows (e.g., Jornadas, Andina, etc.)?

BTdeM: This is not something we are currently discussing or a priority today. We would nevertheless like to collaborate with leading associations in the LATAM TV industry. I am thinking in particular of Produ and the Produ Awards which will be organized in partnership with us for the second consecutive year and in a new online version.

We are all finding new ways of working and it’s great that we are working with such important partners to find new ways to collaborate.

Audio Version (a DV Works service)

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