Cannes, 19 October 2017 – MIPCOM 2017 saw a slate of major drama projects come to market, confirming the continued appetite for high-end content and the growing number of international partnerships now in place to produce that content.
Proceedings in Cannes this week opened with 1,600 delegates and a record-breaking 660 buyers attending MIPJunior. With some 13,900 delegates, including 4,800 buyers from over 110 countries attending MIPCOM, there was much talk of the globalisation of production and the globalisation of creativity. Meanwhile on the distribution front, major companies such as Discovery confirmed they are adopting a ‘glocal’ approach by bringing content to a global audience while also producing local versions of some shows.
A host of companies from around the world made first-time appearances as exhibitors including China’s Tencent, Huace Film & TV, Awesomeness TV, The Africa Channel, and WME/IMG – who this week announced that their film and scripted television finance and sales groups have been brought together under the Endeavour Content label.
Reflecting the changes that are taking place within the industry, in addition to the major US and international broadcasting, production and distribution companies in town, MIPCOM hosted 1,700 VOD and SVOD buyers from the likes of Netflix, Amazon instant video, SFR Play, Virgin Media, HBO Go, and Fox Play. Netflix figured in plenty of conversations at MIPCOM as news filtered across from the United States that the streaming powerhouse will invest up to $8 billion in original content in 2018.
With over 460 VOD platforms in Cannes this week, MIPCOM welcomed giants Netflix and Amazon, China’s Youku, Hulu, Maxdome, Stan and first-time attendees iflix, KKTV, Acorn TV, PlayKids and Showmax, which is extending its African reach into Eastern Europe.
Major screenings hit record number
MIPCOM 2017 hosted more World Premiere TV Screenings and International Screenings than ever before. Sony Pictures Entertainment’s thriller ‘Counterpart,’ starring JK Simmons, whetted MIPCOM delegates’ appetite for high-end drama during a Pre-Opening World Premiere TV Screening on October 15. While ‘Counterpart’ was produced from the US, it reflects a move towards an internationalisation of projects with talent that includes Norwegian Director Morten Tyldum, UK actors Olivia Williams and Harry Lloyd, Italy’s Sara Serraiocco and Denmark’s Ulrich Thomsen.
October 16 saw the unveiling of historical fantasy drama ‘Britannia,’ set in 43 A.D. Britain, in front of a packed audience in the Palais des Festivals’ Grand Auditorium. The series is another example of the growing trend for major companies to pact on high-end drama. ‘Britannia’ is the first production partnership between Sky Atlantic and Amazon US and is distributed by Sky Vision.
With Russia making a major push into the international market, MIPCOM’s Russian Content Revolution programme included a World Premiere TV Screening of the first-ever major drama devoted to a key figure of the October Revolution, ‘Trotsky.’ The series was presented by Channel One Russia’s CEO, Konstantin Ernst and Sreda Productions’ Founder Alexander Tsekalo and has been sold to Netflix, which has also acquired TV3 Channel’s (Russia) mystery thriller ‘Gogol’ – which held an International Screening in Cannes.
MIPCOM prepares the way for CANNESERIES launch at MIPTV
MIPTV 2018 will see the showcasing of major international drama taken to a new level with the launch of international series festival CANNESERIES, at what promises to be the world’s biggest week in television. Festival President Fleur Pellerin, Managing Director Benoit Louvet and Artistic Director Albin Lewi unveiled details of its programme and introduced its Patron, Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen. CANNESERIES will include a programme of screenings for the general public (CANNESERIES Addicts), an International Competition featuring 10 series, a short-form competition (CANNESERIES Digital) and, in partnership with MIPTV, a forum to fast-track early stage co-production projects (In Development). “The combination of an international festival for series and a leading business event such as MIPTV will provide the television industry and general public with a unique opportunity to focus on outstanding content from around the world,” commented Laurine Garaude, Director of Reed MIDEM’s Television Division.
New partnerships formed in evolving market
MIPCOM witnessed a multitude of announcements covering new international partnerships. Among them, Mexico’s TV Azteca and Israel’s Keshet International unveiled an agreement to co-produce a new 60-episode, currently untitled series and L.A.-based IM Global Television signed a joint venture with France’s Newen to create original content for the international market.
One partnership that drew particular attention during MIPCOM was the announcement that social media company Snap is partnering with NBCUniversal to create a digital content studio destined to make original shows that will debut on the Snapchat platform. NBCUniversal says it wants to take mobile TV content to the next level. Observers in Cannes noted that this partnership brings a new player to the online entertainment market that has been dominated by Netflix and Amazon and which has recently seen the launch of the Facebook Watch platform.
In addition to company partnerships, major distribution entities are increasingly bringing programming from around the world to the international market. France’s StudioCanal screened the latest Scandinavian thriller that it is representing, SF Studios’ (Sweden) ‘The Lawyer’ and Germany’s Beta Film showcased four new, high-end titles to come from Spain: ‘Morocco – Love in Times of War,’ ‘The Velvet Collection,’ ‘Farinia – Snow on the Atlantic’ and ‘La Zona,’ as part of its strategic drive to develop its slate of Spanish-language drama.
Three of the industry’s leading executives in the international scripted business – StudioCanal’s Rola Bauer, Banijay’s Takis Candalis and Lionsgate’s Steve November – came together at MIPCOM to discuss the wave of cross-border creative connections that are being established. There was agreement that co-productions allowed ambitious series to be made for the international market by bringing together talent and financing not widely available a few years ago.
The rapid evolution of viewing habits and the new services catering to these changes, were clear this week. In the final MIPCOM keynote address, Dominique Delport, Global Managing Director, Havas Group and Chairman of Vivendi Content, said the company’s Studio+ short-form video service, that was first unveiled at MIPTV 2016, now has five million subscribers. Delport commented that “Content is king of course, but distribution is queen. We’re living in a world where kings and queens are equal.”
“MIPCOM has confirmed that barriers are tumbling throughout the TV and digital industry. New partnerships are being formed between established television companies and digital platforms. Major groups are embracing change and taking a long-term approach by investing heavily in new content destined for all devices. And there is an increasing acceptance that great content, tailored for different audiences, will be a key to success in the future,” said Reed MIDEM’s Laurine Garaude.
With such a packed programme at MIPCOM, here are some of the highlights of the 2017 edition.
- MIPCOM Personality of the Year, Discovery Communications President and CEO, David Zaslav was honoured at a gala dinner on October 18. Zaslav is a huge tennis fan so guests included former tennis champions and Eurosport commentators Boris Becker and Alex Corretja. His keynote address – a chat with former MIPCOM Personality of the Year and Lionsgate CEO, Jon Feltheimer – drew a packed audience to the Palais des Festivals’ Grand Auditorium. David Zaslav said that transforming Discovery into an international Pay-TV company is one of the things he takes most pride in. Under his leadership since 2007, the share of international in Discovery’s total revenues has risen from 10% to over 50%.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones took MIPCOM by storm as she joined the A+E Networks team to promote ‘Cocaine Godmother’ in which she stars. Speaking at the packed Women in Global Entertainment Power Lunch, Zeta-Jones addressed the Harvey Weinstein story head on, telling guests that she hoped the on-going scandal will prove a tipping point in the treatment of women in any industry. Speakers at the lunch included CANNESERIES President and former French Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin, Lea Goldman, Editor-in-Chief of Lifetime, Willow Grylls, Co-Founder & Executive Producer New Pictures (UK) and BAFTA-nominated Producer and award-winning author Farah Abushwesha.
- MIPCOM welcomed the second edition of the Diversity Programme which saw new awards and a first keynote address from British comedian, writer, award-winning actor and diversity champion Sir Lenny Henry. The inaugural Diversify TV International Excellence Awards, created by Diversify TV, champion and promote diversity in all its forms across the international television industry. Sir Lenny Henry called for increased diversity behind as well as in front of the camera. “Without diversity behind the camera, certain stories are not being told.” Sir Lenny Henry suggested that one possible way of stimulating diversity within the television business would be to provide tax breaks to companies that passed a diversity and inclusion test. He told his MIPCOM audience, “If we appeal to people’s business sense as well as their better nature, we can achieve a revolution in the TV business.”
- Stars were in abundance in support of programmes in Cannes. They included talent from ‘Britannia’ Eleanor Worthington-Cox, David Morrisey, Nikolai Lie Kaas and musician Donavan. Russia’s NTV brought in Anna Chipovskaya and Yulia Snigir – stars of ‘The Road to Calvary.’ Major Russian film talent and lead actor in ‘Trotsky,’ Konstantin Khabenskiy was in Cannes as were William Fichtner (representing ‘Top Gear America’), popular Japanese actress Aoi Miyazaki, JK Simmons and Michael Kelly.
- The line-up of MIPCOM keynote and conference speakers was heralded as one of the strongest ever. HBO Chairman and CEO, Richard Plepler, attributed his company’s continued success, in a crowded and disrupted market, to the strength of the HBO brand and the quality of the talent it works with. TV Azteca CEO, Benjamin Salinas, who took over leadership of the company in 2015, confirmed that TV Azteca will increase the amount of content it produces rather than simply relying on acquisitions. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay said running restaurants and the TV business have similarities because both require a search for the ‘next big thing.’ Sean Mills, Senior Director of Content Programming at Snap Inc, used his keynote to explain how Snapchat has been developing non-scripted content for mobile with such heavyweight partners as NBC, ABC and the BBC. Mills said that Snap is now entering the world of short-form, scripted content for mobile.
- October 18 saw a standing-room only keynote presentation by Facebook’s Head of Global Creative Strategy, Ricky Van Veen and the company’s Director of Video Product Daniel Danker. Van Veen announced that Facebook is joining up with Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment to bring the English-language version of Norwegian teen drama ‘Skam’ (Shame’) to Facebook Watch – launched six weeks ago. Currently Facebook Watch is available in the U.S. and Daniel Decker commented that the company would first of all learn lessons before beginning an international roll-out of the service.
- National Geographic, known for its iconic factual programming, has moved into the scripted content field. Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Global Networks, confirmed that the company would grow its scripted drama programming and is working with such high-end Hollywood talent as Ron Howard, Morgan Freeman and Leonardo DiCaprio. Courteney Monroe told her MIPCOM keynote audience, “Our core business remains factual but scripted made sense as long as the drama is fact-based and authentic.”
- The popularity of French animation shows continues. No fewer than 12 of the top 30 shows screened during MIP Junior were French. Most screened was Korean animation series ‘Magic Adventures – The Crystal of Dark,’ followed by Italian animation series ’44 Cats.’ France’s Blue Spirit Productions took third and fifth place with ‘Alice & Lewis’ and ‘Arthur and the Children of the Round Table.’
- Nominations were announced for the International Emmy® Kids Awards which take place during MIPTV 2018, on April 10. The 28 nominees in seven categories herald from 16 countries ranging from Australia to Argentina and from Canada to South Africa.
- ZDF Enterprises, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, saw outgoing President and CEO, Alexander Coridass receive the Médaille d’Or of the City of Cannes.
- NHK says that the positive reaction to its 8K UHD footage shown at MIPCOM has encouraged the company to create more content and take the technology on a European tour in 2018 following NHK’s 8K UHD transmission of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Videos of MIPCOM keynote presentations are available on the MIPCOM YouTube channel.
About Reed MIDEM – Founded in 1963, Reed MIDEM is an organiser of professional, international markets that are essential business platforms for key players in the sectors concerned. These sectors are MIPTV, MIPDOC, MIPCOM, MIPJUNIOR in Cannes, MIP China in Hangzhou and MIP Cancun in Mexico for the television and digital content industries; MIDEM in Cannes for music professionals; Esports BAR in Cannes and in Miami for the esports business; MIPIM in Cannes, MIPIM UK in London, MIPIM Asia Summit in Hong Kong and MIPIM PropTech Summit in New York for the real estate industry; MAPIC in Cannes, MAPIC Russia in Moscow, MAPIC Italy in Milan, MAPIC China Summit in Shanghai and IRF brought by MAPIC in Mumbai for the retail real estate sector.
About Reed Exhibitions – Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in over 30 countries. In 2016 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 38 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries.