Film has a great multimedia, multicultural future, United Artists CEO Paula Wagner told Mipcom in Cannes.
But success must be built on embracing international markets and other forms of media, she suggested
Tom Cruise's UA partner contended: 'The international marketplace is vital. Hollywood has become just a territory - maybe still the most important territory - but international TV, new markets and new platforms are a very important source of revenue.'
Wagner, whose UA partner Tom Cruise is currently wrapping Bryan Singer's Valkyrie in Germany, explained her presence at the TV market by saying that 30% of the business that goes on during the event is film-related.
In what amounted to a sort of mini-master class on the current state of the film business, Wagner noted, 'Films spend more time chasing the consumer' than ever before. Yet - and despite the threat of an upcoming writers strike - 'We shouldn't be afraid of the future. If you give consumers great entertainment, they will come out in droves.'
Explaining UA's strategy - and referencing the recent summer box-office - Wagner said, 'Studios put too much time into chasing formulas and are alienating moviegoers.
'We believe in successful, original, daring' films and intend to 'share the risk between the studio and the artists.'
Artists, she said, will also 'share in profit more than ever before.' And, while it 'doesn't matter what people watch (entertainment) on, the basis is the same.'
Whether or not UA will eventually get into the TV business itself was left a bit up in the air, however. 'We would certainly like to,' Wagner said, 'but we will focus on the basic business first. That's the beauty of not being a public company. We can wait to make the right films.'
The timing for Wagner to come and give a speech to an audience of global industry executives also tied in nicely with the upcoming release of UA's first film, the Robert Redford-directed Lions For Lambs which will be debut in the US on November 9.
Following Wagner on the stage was Ben Silverman, the recently-installed Co-Chairman of NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio. Silverman, who is a sort of rock star for the international TV world, having made US-version hits out of such original foreign shows as The Office and Ugly Betty , took the stage and declared this was his 28th Mip and 'I'm only 37 years old. I am from this marketplace!'
Silverman told those assembled that his company has over 100 executives on the ground this week in Cannes and said that NBC indeed views itself as a 'content company.'
Regarding content and asked what he thought about the possibility that the user-generated kind would find its way to NBC, Silverman was less than sanguine and joked, 'I don't know what the 2nd episode of Cat Pissing In Toilet is.'
On a more serious note, Silverman announced that NBC had just acquired the Oxygen channel which it will add to its cable suite and has also given a go to a pilot for a new version of 80s series Knight Rider . Whether or not the series' original star, David Hasselhoff, would return behind the wheel was not clarified but Silverman assured the audience, 'The Hoff is huge in Europe!'
He ended his time on stage saying that he firmly believed NBC is 'the best partner and the best platform,' for content. 'As the owner of The Office and The Biggest Loser , I can tell you,' he said.