Deals and conference sessions at MIPTV 2015 confirmed that there are no longer any national or cultural barriers when it comes to content creation in any genre – and notably drama.
And the second MIP Digital Fronts showed a free flow of expertise and ideas between traditional television and the online world.
For the 11,000 delegates, from over 100 countries, 4,000 buyers – including 1,000 digital buyers – April 13-16 offered the most comprehensive business, conference and networking event the entertainment industry has experienced in recent years, with all the major international players present in Cannes.
MIPFormats combined with MIPDoc, drew a record 1,800 delegates; and countries including the US, the UK, China, Turkey and the Nordic territories all showed an increase in the number of delegates in Cannes.
Drama at MIPTV, was a major conference strand in Cannes this week and included a closed-door International Co-production Summit that was attended by more than 80 senior-level decision-makers. One of the Summit panels featuring writers Sally Wainright and Anna Winger, and showrunner Teresa Fernandez Valdez, demonstrated how drama has broken free from the confines of culture, country and language. Wainwright’s recent creations – the series Happy Valley and Last Tango In Halifax – both feature small towns in the North of England yet have won huge audiences and critical acclaim worldwide, the result of the universal themes in the series. Novelist Winger’s first TV series Deutschland ’83, was written in German for a German audience and translated into English after being snapped up by the Sundance Channel in the US. Fernandez Valdez’ latest series The Refugees, was produced by an all-Spanish team with an English script, and backed and distributed by BBC Worldwide.
NBCUniversal International Television Production unveiled a new agreement with TF1 and Germany’s RTL to co-finance, develop and produce three English-language crime and legal series set to go into production in 2016.
Screenings at MIPTV demonstrated both the cinematic transformation that television drama has gone through in recent years, and the borderless approach to production and finance. MIPTV’s World Premiere TV Screening, ‘Texas Rising’ from ITV Studios America, was shot in cinemascope and 6K and was directed by Oscar-nominated film Director Roland Joffé; Versailles, France’s biggest-ever TV series costing $30 million, is a 10-hour English-language Franco-Canadian co-production sold by Zodiak Rights.
A key theme of this years’ event, The Millennial Shift, demonstrated how millennials are a driving force behind change and development in the entertainment industry – by the way they are producing, watching and interacting with content across all platforms.
At a busy MIPDOC, National Geographic Channels’ president, original programming and production Tim Pastore said that the millennial shift was influencing creativity: “In a world where 50% of 18-32 year olds are browsing the internet while viewing television, creating brand addiction is a necessity.”
With a vastly expanded MIP Digital Fronts hosting screenings and talent showcases from the likes of Maker Studios, Machinima, Vox Media, YouTube, Dailymotion, Vice, AwesomenessTV, Rooster Teeth, Collective Digital Studio, Screen Australia, Slashtag TV, New Form Digital, Zoomin.TV, Dim Sum Entertainment and WebTVAsia, delegates watched some of the hottest new global online formats and talent from the world’s most acclaimed digital studios and platforms.
MIP Digital Fronts saw the free-flow of talent and ideas between traditional and online; one outcome from the event saw MIP Digital Fronts partner Maker Studios strike a deal that will see Maker Studios programming launch on France’s Canal+ Group’s streaming services.
Barriers are down in formats too. In a MIPFormats keynote, Jens Richter, CEO of FremantleMedia International (FMI), said that formats were being sourced from far afield with France providing ‘Les Revenants’ (‘The Returned’), Latin America originating ‘Ugly Betty,’ and Scandinavia creating a host of scripted formats including ‘The Killing’ and ‘The Bridge.’
Another keynote referred to formats in the digital sphere. Zodiak Media’s Marc-Antoine d’Halluin told delegates that in the production process, “There is not one show that we produce today where we do not think, together with the broadcaster that commissioned the show, what will be the impact in the digital space.” He added: “China is not about catch-up anymore, they are leading the charge.”
In his keynote address at MIPFormats, Yang Weidong SVP and President of Tudou.com Youkou Tudou, insisted that ‘new’ and ‘traditional’ media entities would live side-by-side. “I don’t believe new media will replace the television stations…they will co-exist,” he commented.
Big format news announced in Cannes was that FremantleMedia is partnering with Shanghai Media Group, BesTV and China Media Capital, in a joint venture to create and develop formats for the Chinese markets, with FremantleMedia International selling outside China.
FremantleMedia CEO, Cecile Frot-Coutaz said, “This new relationship with BesTV, Shanghai Media Group and China Media Capital allows us to build on our existing presence in China and strengthen our ties in this territory.”
Frot-Coutaz was on stage at a gala dinner on April 15, as MIPTV paid tribute to the careers of four industry leaders with Médaille d’Honneur presentations. The FremantleMedia Chief Executive joined Globo’s Head of International Business, Ricardo Scalamandre, Electus’ Founder and Chairman, Ben Silverman and Dogan TV Holdings CEO, Irfan Sahin, at what is fast becoming one of the most prestigious networking and tribute events at MIPTV.
Other leading personalities attending MIPTV this week included keynote speakers Steven Levitan, ‘Modern Family’ Co-Creator and Executive Producer; Jeremy Darroch, Group CEO of Sky plc; Ze Frank and Michael Shamberg of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures; Karin Timpone and David Beebe of Marriott International and Yannick Bolloré, Chairman & CEO of Havas.
And Warner Bros. International Television Production launched 500 Questions, a new game show from Mark Burnett and Mike Darnell, produced by United Artists Media Group in association with Warner Horizon Television for US network ABC. Burnett, Darnell and host, CNN's Richard Quest, presented the new show in Cannes.
For the first time Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway grouped together for the Focus on the Nordics initiative curated by former SVT director of programmes Annie Wegelius and Titan TV founder Thomas Hedberg. “The Nordic countries are a breeding ground for some of the hottest drama, border-breaking formats, cutting-edge web series and frontline mobile innovation,” said Reed MIDEM’s Laurine Garaude.
The high-profile attendance of both MIPTV Brand of the Year Marriott International and Havas at MIPTV is a growing indication for advertisers and brands, entertainment is key to getting the brand message across.