Interconnectivity and the monetising of splintering platforms were buzz themes at this year’s MIPTV, which also saw a number of deals on starry product.
MIPTV (April 4-7), the world’s premiere TV market, ended yesterday having been attended by more than 4,000 companies from 100 countries, with the overriding message from this year’s event that audiences are increasingly calling the shots.
Speaking at a MIPTV conference session, Gary Carter, chief operating officer and chief creative officer, FMX FremantleMedia, advised producers not to forget that: “The audience is taking the power. If we want to do real connected TV, we have to let them be the boss,” he said.
“The development of television, PCs, tablets and mobile technology is changing the relationship between content providers and audiences. If companies can harness the multi-platform audience engagement they will be well positioned to reach audiences,” noted Laurine Garaude, television division director at MIPTV organiser Reed MIDEM.
Despite Fox’s absence and other studios scaling back their operations at the market, deals continued to flow.
Notably, CBS Studios International closed a string of international sales on period drama The Borgias - the €25 million series is the most expensive drama to be financed out of Europe to date - which was sold across Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
Robert Halmi’s RHI Entertainment was closing territories on two-part miniseries Treasure Island, starring Donald Sutherland, Elijah Wood and Eddie Izzard and Neverland the prequel to the story of Peter Pan, which includes Keira Knightley and Bob Hoskins. Both are currently in post-production and set to air on Sky in the UK.
FremantleMedia’s two-part epic The Sinking Of The Laconia was another drama causing a stir.
BSkyB-owned pay-TV channel Sky Atlantic acquired exclusive UK rights to Pompeii, the buzz-laden mini-series based on Robert Harris’s novel of the same name, scripted by Robert Towne, while BBC Worldwide brought four royal wedding-themed shows to the Croisette, including documentary William and Kate - A Royal Engagement, which sold to more than 32 outlets in more than 24 countries including the US (Universal), Australia (Bio Channel) and Italy (CDI).
ZDF Enterprises posted strong sales with particular demand for factual series. Arctic-driller series License to Drill, repo-man saga Repossessed and prison series Hard Times, were acquired by Australia’s ABC, Discovery Channel EMEA, Canwest in Canada as well as selling in Scandinavia. Meanwhile factual content powerhouse Discovery Communications showcased 600 hours of new non-fiction releases.
In Poland, HD and 3D content from National Geographic is on its way to Polish satellite platform ‘n’. The platform has formed a partnership with Fox International Channels that adds National Geographic Channel HD to its offering of 26 HD channels, as well as picking up more than 20 hours of National Geographic Channel 3D content.
Asian players were also active, with a robust Japanese presence despite the country’s recent natural disaster.
This year a record 40 Malaysian companies attended the market, while Singapore was another market particularly well represented. Attendance from Latin America, Turkey and China also showed an increase.
In a sign of the current trend for high-end, sweeping drama, Canal Plus COO, Rodolphe Belmer, told MIPTV delegates that his company is committed to investing in ambitious drama to satisfy the demands of its audiences. During his keynote address he told delegates “to be strong in a globalising television market, European television groups need world class content.” The Canal Plus executive warned against a surplus of American content flooding the local market and urged that ambitious projects require ambitious budgets: “€1 million an hour is not enough to make world class drama,” he said, adding that budgets needed to be nearer the €2.5 million-€3 million an hour mark.
And the four days were not devoid of glamour either, kicking off with the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger to Cannes with 52-part animation series and 3D film, The Governator; and the first international viewing of GK-tv’s Arthurian epic series Camelot, starring Joseph Fiennes, Eva Green and Jamie Bower Campbell, who all attended the screening.
Reflecting the rapid developments in the connected world, MIPTV 2011 launched the inaugural Connected Creativity Forum – a combination of conference discussions, start-up presentations, pitching sessions to venture capitalists and a futuristic Experience Hub.
According to Connected Creativity keynote speaker, Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg, such is his company’s belief in the connected business, that Ericsson is investing some €3.1bn per year on research and development. He told his audience that by 2020 the “networked society” will number 50 billion internet-connected devices, eight billion mobile subscribers and that already, 70% of the time on smartphones is used for non-voice activity.
During the market, organisers also announced that next year’s event will start two days earlier than this year, on a Saturday, with MIPdoc (which this year hosted 767 attendees) starting two days before.
Russia will be the country of focus at MIPCOM in October.