CANNES, France, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 11,000 people from over 100 countries, representing every aspect of the television ecosystem, gathered in Cannes this week, as MIPTV celebrated its 50th anniversary and the industry resolutely turned its eyes to the future – a future where content remains king.
Highlights of the 50th MIPTV included a plethora of deals, demos of the crystal-clear quality of 4K Ultra HD, which is being pioneered by Sony, packed keynote addresses, an impassioned plea from former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for the television industry to support the United Nation's Global Education First Initiative, a stellar line-up of talent and a full-house World Premier TV Screening of 'Da Vinci's Demons' (produced by Adjacent Productions for Starz and sold internationally by BBC Worldwide).
And it was a sign of the changing times that among the 4,000 programme acquisition executives in Cannes, 800 were VOD and digital buyers – a 30% increase on last year. Indeed, digital figured strongly throughout MIPTV and if there was one point on which most people agreed in the MIPCube conference programme and related discussions throughout MIPTV, it was that to be successful, brands need to create their own voice online and get it heard.
Confirming MIPTV's continued international appeal, there were significant year-on-year increases in the numbers of companies participating from Russia (+18%), Ukraine (+30%), Brazil (+17%) and the United Arab Emirates (+58%).
With 79 companies represented, China's delegation, headed by LI Wei, Vice Minister of the newly-formed General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, was the largest ever at MIPTV.
MIPTV delegates discovered that at MIPCOM 2013, Argentina will take centre stage as the event's Country of Honour.
New Developments & Deals Abound
As MIPTV progressed, a slew of international deals were announced. Discovery Communications President and CEO, David Zaslav, told his keynote audience that his company had completed its deal to acquire Scandinavian broadcaster SBS. The deal comes on the heels of Discovery's recent acquisition of a 20% stake in pan-European sports channel Eurosport.
FremantleMedia optioned French series 'Hollywood Girls' in countries across Europe and Latin America. And partners FremantleMedia Kids & Family Entertainment and Mattel chose MIPTV to announce they have greenlit a second season of animated series hit 'Max Steel.'
News filtered out that Warner Bros. International Television Production had taken format rights for Spanish production company 60db's 'Money Time,' while leading German channel RTL announced it is going ahead with Shine Germany's gameshow 'Cash Crash' and the BBC announced it is commissioning two new drama series, 'The Great War' from Red Planet Pictures and an untitled project from Jim McGovern's RSJ Film.
China's public broadcaster CCTV had a particularly active MIPTV. Venevision International acquired documentary series 'China's Mega Projects' from CCTV and BBC Worldwide has lined up with CCTV 9 to co-produce natural history series 'Hidden Kingdoms.' In addition, Austria's ORF and CCTV signed a coproduction agreement covering nature and wildlife films, the first of which will be 'Triumph of the Tomato.'
France's leading pay-tv channel Canal Plus picked up the first season of two US dramas 'Banshee' and 'Vikings,' and Canal Plus is forming a long-term alliance with A+E Networks which includes the launch of pay channels on the Canal Satellite platform, which will draw on A+E's extensive catalogue of factual programming. A+E Networks powered into Cannes with first day sales of factual entertainment series 'Duck Dynasty' in Denmark, the Netherlands, Hungary, Singapore and Canada.
Long-standing MIPTV attendee Endemol drew plenty of attention as Tim Hincks, President of Endemol Group and MIPTV keynote speaker, announced that the company is once again looking at possible mergers and acquisitions. Endemol launched the AMC drama 'Low Winter Sun' at MIPTV, the latest project in Endemol's development of its scripted entertainment business.
Hincks also indicated that Endemol is preparing the launch of a 'Fear Factor' channel on YouTube in the United States and then Europe. Acknowledging the growing presence of YouTube at MIPTV, he indicated that part of Endemol's strategy is to continue to develop channels around its established brands. Endemol has over 100 channels currently on YouTube.
Content and Creators Still Kings
BSkyB's Sophie Turner Laing set the tone of MIPTV during her April 8 keynote address. "Let's spend the precious time here together this week discussing the shows, not the pipes. New technology can open up fantastic new opportunities. But it's the art of storytelling that engages and enthralls audiences," she commented.
Turner Laing revealed that high-end, original drama will be the next stage of Sky's growth. She announced a major new drama commission - 13-part crime series 'Fortitude' – to be produced for Sky Atlantic by British independent production company Fifty Fathoms and Starz.
Underlining the continued importance of the content creatives, a slew of heavyweight US showrunners were at MIPTV. They included 'Da Vinci's Demons' writer and showrunner David S. Goyer, Tim Kring, creator of cult series 'Heroes' and 'Touch,' Ed Bernero and 'CSI' mastermind Anthony E. Zuiker – who received the 2013 Pioneer Prize at the International Digital Emmy Awards during MIPTV.
Bernero strode up the busiest MIPTV Red Carpet ever as part of his promotion of 'Crossing Lines,' a 10x60 mins crime series he developed, wrote and produced with Germany's Tandem Communications.
'Crossing Lines' is indicative of the renewed interest in international co-productions. Tandem initially brought the project idea to Bernero who noted during MIPTV, "I'd been trying to get this kind of Europe-based ensemble project off the ground for years." The series joins a lengthening list of shows being devised outside the US studio system. Bernero added "this has been a freeing experience and explains why a growing number of US showrunners are attracted by this (international) approach." France's TF1 is co-producing and the series has already been acquired by NBC, RAI and Sat1.
Showrunners weren't the only talent at MIPTV. An increasing number of production and distribution companies now bring stars to the event to support international sales of their programmes.
MIPTV's 2013 Red Carpet, the most densely populated ever, was graced with 'The White Queen' writer Philippa Gregory and lead Max Irons. France's Christophe Lambert and Clotilde Courau, co-starring in French spy series 'La Source' drew strong local interest, as did Caterina Murino from new French series 'The Odyssey.' eOne brought lead actress of suspense-drama 'Rogue,' Thandie Newton, to the Red Carpet and Kiss fans were treated to an appearance from rock legend Gene Simmons, promoting eOne's new rock and roll reality show 'Busted.' The evening was rounded off in rousing style by 'Da Vinci's Demons' stars Tom Riley, Blake Ritson, Laura Haddock and Lara Pulver.
Over at MIPDoc and MIPFormats, this week underlined the growing appetite for factual content, with factual programmes now the second most popular category in terms of the 1,325 titles entered in the MIPDoc screening library. Underlining MIPDoc, MIPFormats' and MIPTV's role in bringing together players at the start of the content production process, some 159 projects came to MIPDoc seeking production partners.
MIPDoc's coveted International Pitch competition was won by Saxonia Entertainment's 'Putin's Olympics' documentary about Russia's successful bid for the 2014 Olympic Games. The 2013 MIPFormats International Pitch award was scooped by Australia's Hatch Entertainment for 'Big Again,' a music concept which takes pop stars from the 70s and 80s and sees their songs re-recorded by unsigned artists for live TV performances.
Lines Blur Between TV and Digital
One of the talking points in Cannes was the continued blurring between traditional television and the digital world with the likes of Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, Yahoo! Netflix and Vuguru investing directly, or in the case of Kickstarter, using its crowd-funding expertise, to produce original content.
Endemol clearly indicated that its on-going strategy is to approach its content production and distribution activity, along with digital opportunities, in an integrated fashion.
And witness the presence of 'Hemlock Grove' actor, producer and director Eli Roth at his first MIPTV. Not only is the series the acclaimed film producer's first venture into television, but it is also premiering on digital platform Netflix, following in the footsteps of 'House of Cards.'
Speaking at the second edition of MIPCube, now fully-integrated into MIPTV, Kevin Tancharoen told his audience how his 10-minute online film based on the 'Mortal Kombat' game had attracted the attention of Warner Bros., who, rather than suing him for rights infringement, invited Tancharoen to direct and produce the 'Mortal Kombat: Legacy' web series. 65 million YouTube views later, a second series was commissioned and a feature film is in the pipeline.
The changing face of entertainment was evident at MIPCube's 'Twitter Talks: Cultivating Your Audience of Users.' Dan Biddle, Head of UK Broadcast Partnerships at Twitter UK pointed out that the new media masters refer to 'users' not 'audiences.' He told his audience "the trick now is to get people talking about your show before, during and after. You have to make your hashtag the campfire around which all stories are told."
MIPCube brought together some of the hottest companies operating in the connected, digital world. Among them Vice (producer of Intel's MIPTV/MIPCube Brand of the Year Award-winner 'The Creators Project'), The Onion and Magine – all, in their own way, challenging traditional approaches to entertainment. Vice and The Onion execs outlined how their companies are finding innovative ways to bring the news to their users who, they say, have become disenchanted with traditional commercial news channels. And Magine is one of a growing number of cloud-based TV services allowing users to watch content on any connected device.
Reflecting the development of YouTube in the entertainment sector, MIPTV partnered with the internet giant this year to launch the first Original Online Content Screenings. This new event highlighted successful YouTube channels from around the world including star chef Jamie Oliver's channel FoodTube and German comedy channel Ponk.
"The first Original Online Content Screenings was absolutely packed. Along with MIPCube, which brings together the next generation of developers, technologists, content creators and forward-thinkers, the International Digital Emmy Awards, and the core television content creators, MIPTV unites the vast entertainment ecosystem," said Laurine Garaude.
As part of the MIPCube programme, the Content 360 competition (sponsored by Russia's CTC Media) for cross-media content, was won by Australian Alex Alexander for his project 'Step 1' – a transmedia drama.
50th Anniversary Celebrated in Style
There was a celebratory mood in Cannes this week. The April 10 Gala Dinner saw six leading international television executives receive the inaugural MIPTV Medaille d'Honneur award from Reed MIDEM CEO, Paul Zilk, for their outstanding contribution to the industry.
The six were Beta Film CEO, Jan Mojto, CBS Global Distribution Group's President and CEO, Armando Nunez, former ITC Executive Vice President, Armando Nunez Sr., Masao Takiyama, Executive Officer, Senior Vice President, Television Networks, Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan, Nicolas de Tavernost, Chairman of the Board, M6 Groupe, and BSkyB's Managing Director, Content, Sophie Turner Laing.
"MIPTV is all about the great people that attend each year and bring their passion for innovative entertainment to the world. This 50th anniversary is an ideal moment to celebrate the industry and the exceptional talent that works within it," noted Laurine Garaude, Director of Reed MIDEM's Television Division.
Earlier in the week, Paul Zilk presented special Jubilee Medals to MIPTV founder, Bernard Chevry and two producers, Reiner Moritz and Roger Deshayes, who have attended every edition of the event and the Opening Night Party, sponsored by Europe's MEDIA programme, saw a spectacular firework display, put on by the City of Cannes.
"After a great first 50 years, we're ready to start out on the next 50 year adventure," concluded Reed MIDEM's Laurine Garaude.
About MIPTV – Founded in 1963, MIPTV is the annual international market and creative forum for content on every screen. It brings professionals from the global TV and online content industry to Cannes, France, for four days of exhibition, conferences, screenings and networking. It is a key market for buying and selling content and early-stage content development. MIPCube constitutes a special programme exploring tech and creative approaches with the community re-inventing the content experience within MIPTV. The weekend prior to MIPTV, MIPDoc and MIPFormats constitute a two-day showcase for non-fiction and unscripted programming. In 2013, MIPTV celebrates its 50th anniversary. www.miptv.com
SOURCE Reed MIDEM