Every year, the Palais des Expositions in Cannes, on France’s Mediterranean Coast, hosts numerous events that gather some of the world’s rich and powerful. While the Cannes movie festival tends to attract all the attention, there are a lot of other gatherings that turn in to game changers for industries or art. One of them is MIPCOM.
MIPCOM (hilarious name, huh?) is actually an acronym of the phrase “Marché Internationale de Programmes Communications”, which in English means “International Market of Communications Programmes”. Basically, it’s an annual trade show for actors on the global market for entertainment. That includes everything from big TV companies, such as the BBC, ITV, NBC Universal, Sky, Al Jazeera, Canal +, to production houses such as 20th Century Fox, Freemantle Media, eOne Entertainment, Warner Brothers, Fox, Paramount, Disney, Lionsgate and the lot. It’s basically the Cannes Festival for the people and businesses that sit behind the stars.
The gathering is held in the Palace facing the sea, traditionally in the month of October. It is owned and organized by Reed MIDEM, a subsidiary of Reed Exhibitions.
La creme de la creme of the television industry uses the event as a marketplace in order to buy and sell new programmes and formats for international distribution. This is basically where they decide if you get to see the new season of Archer or you’ll be stuck with old episodes from the Simpsons throughout fall.
But the event is not only about buying and selling. It’s also about exchanging ideas. It features keynote presentations and panels with representatives of the industry discussing new trends and developments, as well as taking a sneak peak at what the competition is doing.
At the same time, prior to MIPCOM, a spin-off event known as MIP Junior is held, which is devoted exclusively to the children’s television industry.
The 2015 edition of MIPCOM that took place between 17 and 20 October on the Croisette, attracted over 13,000 visitors, 4,700 registered companies
and almost 2,100 exhibiting companies. All this in an incredible 24,000 square meters of space. Impressive, huh?
This year’s gathering featured several important highlights: firstly, thirteen years after their last appearance, special agents Mulder and Scully made a comeback – the World Premier TV screening of the famous series ‘The X-Files’ took place during the festival, followed by an on-stage debate that included Fox Television Group’s Chairman and CEO, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, ITV CEO, Adam Crozier and, last but not least, Mark Gordon of the Mark Gordon Company.
Drama was this year’s favorite genre at MIPCOM, as numerous series saw the first light of day during the festival. These included: Sony Picture Television’s (SPT) 10-episode ‘The Art of More,’ that premiered at MIPCOM October 4 and SPT reported sales to 25 countries, Sky Atlantic/Canal Plus’ ‘The Last Panthers’ crime drama, in the presence of stars Samantha Morton and Tahar Rahim, The Weinstein Company’s mega miniseries ‘War and Peace’ and Showtime’s world premiere of contemporary drama ‘Billions.’
Commenting on the international appetite for major drama projects, Armando Nunez, President and CEO CBS Global Distribution Group went on the record pre-MIPCOM by saying, “We have never seen as healthy and robust a demand for premium content as we are currently seeing. I don’t expect that view is going to change at any point in the nearest future.”
Speakers took care in providing the industry with their opinion on what future holds for content creators and producers. Fox’s Dana Walden stated that content creators now face “a hit-driven business,” in reply to a question regarding the increasing importance of new technologies in mass media. According to Andrew Moss, Chief Commercial Officer at media strategy consultancy Oliver & Ohlbaum, audiences of the future will consume content by “distribution methods we haven’t even contemplated yet.”
But MIPCOM is not just about movie screenings and speeches; it’s about business: numerous deals, investment pacts and upcoming slates were announced during the 2015 event, pointing out once more that actors in sector are as active as ever. The hits of the week:
– FremantleMedia continued to feed international broadcasters’ appetite for cooking shows, closing deals in New Zealand, Australia, Norway and Asia-Pacific for BBC Productions’ ‘Simply Nigella’ and ‘Nigella’s Christmas Special,’ starring the UK’s favourite food writer, TV cook and MIPCOM attendee Nigella Lawson.
– Fox International Channels acquired the original version of Keshet International’s ‘False Flag,’ marking the first time Fox has taken a foreign-language drama for its networks. Fox is developing an English-language series and will now make the Hebrew version available to its international channels in 127 countries.
– Hasbro Studios President Stephen J. Davis used MIPJunior to confirm to the industry (and fans) that in all likelihood ‘Transformers’ films 5 to 8 will be added to the successful theatrical franchise.
– Giant French telco Orange revealed it is upping its presence in Africa via Orange Digital Ventures which is funding Afrostream, an SVOD platform showing African, African/American and African/Caribbean TV series and films.
Turkey was this year’s Country of Honor, a title that bring visibility to national media companies and actors. KanalD, the Turkish State Press Agency and ATV were the country’s spearheads for MIPSOM, boosting their business and enlarging their contacts. Some 400 senior Turkish television executives and major stars attended MIPCOM.
All in all, this year’s MIPCOM once again highlight the dynamic, but powerful nature of the media industry. New technologies were in the middle of the debate at all times, while stars and media kingpins flew to Cannes for the chance to connect with the entire entertainment ecosystem, launch and promote new programmes, find co-production partners and finance their projects, but also to meet with the creative production industry and develop new projects, discover new international broadcasting channels, and, of course, presenting their new masterpieces to the world. MIPCOM doesn’t attract as many celebs as the Film Festival, yet it is more of a connoisseurs event. If you’re playing around in media and need a boost for your business, then MIPCOM is the place to be.
Photo Credit: Pat Denton