This year’s four-day MIPCOM market should have been the 37th edition. But the 2020 event was canceled because of COVID. Therefore, the 36th edition took place recently. Its last full day was Wednesday, October 13, and it offered 10 scheduled events, starting with morning session “Investor Briefs” (i.e. what people lose when they make bad investments). The market closed the following morning after a half day reserved for packing up.
The next MIPCOM is scheduled later than usual, on October 17-20, 2022, because of a large Tax Free convention that will be taking the earlier calendar dates, explained Lucy Smith, director of MIP-TV and MIPCOM. MIPCOM 2022 will also see the return of the “Personality of the Year” award.
Let’s move on to some facts and figures from this year’s event. The widely held unofficial estimate is that there were some 2,000 in-person participants at MIPCOM. That’s a far cry from the pre-pandemic average of 12,000 people, but it’s considered a fantastic number for a restart since many people are still concerned about COVID.
However, according to the official figures, there were 4,500 participants. During Thursday’s press conference, Smith added that there were 1,200 buyers and 300 journalists. It is widely assumed that these numbers included participants at MIPCOM’s concurrent CannesSeries Festival (which is sponsored by the Cannes Municipality), as well as online-only registrants. Plus, about 40 trade journalists were in attendance at the MIPCOM press conference.
Nonetheless, either number was a pretty satisfactory turnout considering that major hotels like the Carlton and the Grand were closed, and the Martinez was running at 40 percent occupancy. Smith also announced details about the new MIP Africa market, which will be held August 24-26, 2022 in Cape Town. Interestingly, RX France (formerly Reed MIDEM) recruited veteran DISCOP Africa organizer Patrick Zuchowicki as a consultant.
The traditional MIP-TV will be held April 4-6, 2022, and the exhibition areas will probably take the shape of this past MIPCOM, meaning without the basement area (a.k.a., the Bunker). This time, there was a main exhibition floor (Riviera) and minor spaces on floors 3, 4, and 5 of the Palais. In total, there were 146 exhibiting companies, including two press stands, one of which was for VideoAge, which was present with a printed issue and daily online editions.
Day One of the market started on an upbeat note, with sunny and hot fall weather and participants who were clearly enthused to be back in Cannes after a 729-day hiatus forced by the pandemic. For all concerned it was nice to greet old friends and partners in person, despite having to be masked by a variety of multicolored mouth coverings.
This time around, vaccination cards were more desirable than AmEx cards, COVID tests were the norm, and hand sanitizer was the new handshake. At times, participants even had their temperatures checked.
The market started with a pre-MIPCOM party on Sunday, care of TellyCast, and continued on Monday with a Canadian Welcome Breakfast. The day ended with an Eccho Rights party, an A+E party, and the Opening Party. In between, participants could attend 18 events, including All3Media’s screening, FRAPA’s format summit, an A+E power lunch, the Portuguese Party, and for MIPJunior, UniFrance’s Kids Stories.
Day Two began with a Buyers Awards Breakfast and closed with a showcase and cocktail from Russia’s KION at 5 p.m. and a UniFrance (formerly TVFI) Party at 6 p.m.
Hervé Michel, UniFrance’s VP, announced the dates for the next Le Rendez-Vous, to be held in Biarritz on September 4-8, 2022. In between, there were 19 events, including the “Original Production” conference.
Then there were the “Sanitary Pass Bracelets.” Each day had its own randomly selected color. Tuesday was a “red bracelet” day, and Monday was green, for example. The mandatory bracelets were given to participants to wear at the entrance after health personnel confirmed negative COVID tests and/or vaccination cards.
Some MIPCOM attendees didn’t quite understand what they were for, but all proudly wore them both inside and outside the Palais. On the market’s first day, the bracelets were the aforementioned green. Tuesday was red. Wednesday was orange. And on Thursday, the market’s closing day, they were purple.
Participants attending MIPCOM 2021 who were able to collect all four “Sanitary Pass” bracelets were invited to send a picture of them all next to their badges to be featured in VideoAge’s MIPCOM 2021 online review. In addition to showing TV/film executives’ perseverance and courage, the bracelets — any of them — will remain in the annals of the entertainment industry as a symbol of resilience and resolution. And even though those with all four bracelets got full recognition, others with fewer were still being honored for their contribution to the success of the first major in-person TV market following the two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
If the practical purpose of the multiple bracelets was unclear (the idea behind this was that each day participants had to be re-checked at the entrance for negative tests or vaccination cards so that no bracelet could be used twice), the effect was good, in the sense that participants felt reassured by the health measures that MIPCOM organizers implemented, including requiring the wearing of masks indoors, positioning stands farther apart than usual, and having a COVID test lab onsite (which cost 45 euro per rapid test). However, some other procedures didn’t make much sense, like cordoning off both sides of the Grand Auditorium so that people were squeezed into the center portion during screenings and award presentations.
As for the stands, several were rather elaborate, with some — especially those from some Turkish companies — even hearkening back to pre-pandemic styles.
Day Two also featured the premiere screening of Nickelodeon’s animated Star Trek: Prodigy in the Grand Auditorium. That same Grand Auditorium was also reserved for the Diversity TV Excellence Awards on Day Three.
On a final note, the two things missing at this year’s MIPCOM were the pre-pandemic prices (as it seems that Cannes has become even more expensive), and the printed guides that used to list participants’ names and companies. This time only a floor plan flyer was available. If one wanted to find out participant’s names one had to go online (which could be difficult — and time-consuming — while running around the Palais).
Audio Version (a DV Works service)