Cannes, 08 October 2015 – Optimistic statements at MIPCOM from leading television executives about the state of television and entertainment were backed up this week by a host of deals, key alliances and project announcements that reflected both the diversity and health of the industry.
A record number of over 13,700 delegates from 108 countries, including more than 4,800 acquisition executives, of which 1,600 were acquiring for digital platforms, gathered in Cannes for the 31st edition of MIPCOM.
Opening proceedings, MIPJunior welcomed 590 buyers among its 1,400 delegates who were treated to a World Premiere TV Screening of Cyber Group Studios’ ‘Zorro: The Chronicles” and a packed keynote address from Hasbro Studios President Stephen Davis.
High-end drama took centre stage in Cannes, helped along by strong demand from international broadcasters and new platforms for top-of-the-line shows to offer their audiences or subscribers.
And as competition grows to attract viewers, whatever the device used to watch shows, Fox TV Group’s Dana Walden publicly proclaimed that content creators now face “a hit-driven business.”
It was against this backdrop that MIPCOM hosted an expanded World Premiere TV Screening programme and an unprecedented number of major dramas, each supported by an array of talent reminiscent of a Cannes Film Festival in-competition red carpet screening.
In the middle of the deal-making, show launches and networking that took place at MIPCOM, delegates gave an unprecedented standing ovation to Pakistani filmmaker and activist Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy after she addressed the Social Responsibility – Media’s Role in Creating and Provoking Global Change conference. The Oscar-winning director was joined by photographer, filmmaker and environmental activist Yann Arthus-Bertrand whose latest documentary, ‘Human’ is now airing on international channels.
MIPCOM Provides Drama Launch Pad
Delegates commented that they could not recall a MIPCOM where so many hot drama titles were in town at the same time and promoting themselves in such a high profile manner. Sony Picture Television’s (SPT) 10-episode ‘The Art of More,’ premiered at MIPCOM October 4 and SPT reported sales to 25 countries. Major sales and distribution companies are increasingly using MIPCOM as an international launching pad for their heavyweight series and Sony brought ‘The Art of More’ talent to town including Dennis Quaid, Kate Bosworth, Christian Cooke and Cary Elwes to support the international launch.
October 5 saw Sky Atlantic/Canal Plus unveil their highly-anticipated ‘The Last Panthers’ crime drama for the first time to international buyers, in the presence of stars Samantha Morton and Tahar Rahim. SundanceTV has just come on board as a co-producer. The international co-production is just the latest example of the diversity of territorial sources for major drama.
Fox International Studios grabbed the limelight on October 6 with the World Premiere TV Screening of ‘The X-Files’ reboot, in the presence of Director, Creator and Executive Producer Chris Carter. MIPCOM delegates queued round the block to catch the return of the iconic sci-fi series.
In the kind of premium preview event more often associated with the glitter of the Cannes Film Festival, the BBC and Harvey Weinstein’s The Weinstein Company, organised an exclusive buyers-only screening of the first footage from mega miniseries ‘War and Peace.’ Attendees included Weinstein, BBC Executive Producers Faith Penhale, Bethan Jones and the internationally-renowned writer Andrew Davies who is also executive producing. Stars of this adaptation of the Tolstoy classic, Tuppence Middleton, Lily James and Stephen Rea got their first glimpse of their respective performances.
Other major dramas present at MIPCOM included Showtime’s world premiere of contemporary drama ‘Billions,’ starring Emmy and Golden Globe winners Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis and Golden Globe winner Kyle MacLachlan. Endemol Shine International treated MIPCOM delegates to its new drama ‘The Frankenstein Chronicles,’ while Passion Distribution brought new ITV primetime TV Movie ‘Churchill’s Secret,’ starring Michael Gambon as Churchill, to Cannes. ITV Studios Global Entertainment premiered the first episode of epic fantasy adventure ‘Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands’ with stars Kieran Bew, Edward Speleers and Joanne Whalley attending and Constantin Film unveiled ‘Shadowhunters,’ which will air on ABC early next year.
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.”
“The demand for premium drama was reflected by the packed World Premiere TV Screenings and the major series that were brought to MIPCOM,” noted Laurine Garaude, Director of Reed MIDEM’s Television Division. “The inaugural MIPDrama Screenings next year at MIPTV will allow some 250 international buyers to get exclusive access to the best and latest drama in the market and further develops MIPTV and MIPCOM as launching pads for major international drama.”
Partnerships the key to multiplatform OTT future
With MIPCOM bringing together international broadcasters, the US majors, TV production and sales companies, digital powerhouses such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, Amazon Studios, Twitter and newer OTT players like UK-based Hopster or Icflix Media in the Middle East, MIPCOM focused considerable conference attention on how OTT, SVOD and streaming services are transforming business models and strategies.
According to Digital TV Research, OTT live and VOD services will generate around $26 billion this year and $56 billion by 2020.
At MIPCOM’s OTT and Global Channel Strategy Summit and the Carriage Deal Forum, delegates met to examine the latest channel launches, new offerings from the world’s leading delivery platforms and how business models will be impacted by OTT developments and the growth in streaming and SVOD services.
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.” He told a Carriage Deal Forum meeting that opportunities remain for channel operators, particularly in the BRICS countries.
Speaker after MIPCOM speaker talked of the power and importance of great content and the necessity to form strategic partnerships in the multiplatform entertainment ecosystem.
Media Mastermind keynote Sophie Turner Laing, Endemol Shine Group’s CEO, poured cold water on those who predict the death of TV. She told her MIPCOM audience that in one of the most exciting times for the business, forming partnerships with different media creators will be the path forward in the multiplatform world. She said that Icon, the new Endemol Shine joint venture with YouTube superstar Michelle Phan, was an example of this kind of partnership.
Endemol Shine generated plenty of media coverage at MIPCOM as it announced a multi-year strategic partnership with DreamWorks Animation’s online youth network AwesomenessTV. The deal sees Endemol Shine helping to launch AwesomenessTV channels in new markets including France, UK, Germany, Spain and Brazil.
ITV’s CEO, Adam Crozier made a stirring defence of traditional television telling his MIPCOM keynote audience that “channel brands are not dead…TV is the most powerful medium in the world – the internet would love to have what we have.”
Deals Confirm Business Diversity
As MIPCOM progressed, a slew of diverse deals, investment pacts and upcoming slates were announced reflecting the wide-range of programming genres on offer and the international participation at the event. Concluded business included:
- all3media International reported agreements across Europe for its prime-time drama portfolio with ZDF acquiring ‘The Missing’ and placing orders for seasons 17 and 18 of crime series ‘Midsomer Murders,’ which sold heavily across Central and Eastern Europe.
- 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.
- German sales and production company Beta Film confirmed its commitment to high-end drama by announcing a new action-adventure fantasy series ‘The Perished Land’ from one of the ‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners Frank Doelger.
- 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. ‘False Flag’ is being tipped as Keshet’s next ‘Homeland.’
- 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.
- Telemundo Internacional announced it now represents HBO Latin America’s fiction and documentary series internationally. Previously the programmes had only been available on the HBO channel.
- Japan’s leading pay TV channel acquired exclusive Japanese broadcast rights to Sony Pictures Television’s U.S. hit TV series ‘The Player’ and ‘Zoo’ from CBS Studios International.
- MIPCOM keynote and internationally-respected Producer Mark Gordon is entering the international co-production sector for the first time by developing procedural drama ‘Darkness Falls’ with Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 TV Deutschland. eOne Television is distributing internationally.
- 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. The Orange backing will help Afrostream develop its streaming service in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and South America.
Turkey Continues Export Drive
MIPCOM’s Country of Honour, Turkey, wowed delegates with a memorable Opening Night Party and had media comparing the country’s lavish dramas with the recent international success of Israeli fiction.
Exports of Turkish TV series are expected to be worth $350 million this year, an astonishing result given that international sales were valued at less than $100,000 in 2004. Some 400 senior Turkish television executives and major stars attended MIPCOM. Istanbul Chamber of Commerce President İbrahim Çağlar commented, “With a sharp rise in quality and branding in the sector, Turkey has now exported TV programmes and soap operas to more than 80 countries – from the Middle East to Eastern Europe. The Economy Ministry’s target is to achieve TV series exports worth $1 billion by 2023.”
Underlining the growing international success of Turkish content, NBC will debut its legal drama ‘Game of Silence’ in 2016 – the first U.S. adaptation of a Turkish original series. Among the host of Turkish talent in Cannes was superstar Tuba Büyüküstün and Halit Ergenc, lead role in the massively popular ‘The Magnificent Century.’
MIPCOM Honours Fox Duo
October 7 saw one of the entertainment industry’s longest and most successful business partnerships take centre stage as Fox TV Group’s Dana Walden and Gary Newman were honoured as MIPCOM 2015’s Personalities of the Year.
After the sell-out World Premiere TV Screening of Fox’s ‘The X-Files’ reboot in the Palais des Festival’s Grand Auditorium on Tuesday evening, Fox TV Group Chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman packed the same room again for their October 7 keynote address. Discussing the state of the U.S. and international market, Dana Walden said that the days when mildly successful shows could reap significant financial rewards are over. “It’s a hit driven business and the great shows will work all over the world,” Walden commented.
Asked to explain their success as a partnership and at Fox, Newman replied that “There isn’t a secret formula, but there is a process which we instituted at the studio which is we get into business with the best possible creators.”
Flood: Reed MIDEM Acknowledges Clients and Partners
Commenting on the flash flood that hit Cannes over the weekend, Reed MIDEM CEO, Paul Zilk said, “Our clients showed remarkable understanding and with their help, coupled with that of the Palais des Festivals, the Mayor’s office and all our Cannes partners, MIPCOM took place with a minimum of disruption. Our thoughts are with all those who were affected by this terrible event.”
MIPCOM is the year’s most anticipated global market for entertainment content across all platforms. Each October, the industry’s major players converge in Cannes to turn every moment into an opportunity, transforming four days of meetings, screenings and conferences into deals, from blockbuster programming to ground-breaking partnerships.
And MIPJunior is the leading showcase for kids programming, uniting the world’s most influential buyers, sellers and producers the weekend before MIPCOM. Over two days, these influential players, along with publishers and licensing executives, present, discover and screen the very latest content, giving them the edge on concluding deals at MIPCOM. Please visit www.mipcom.com