Fickle weather aside, the 37th edition of MIPTV (April 10-14) and the 3rd edition of MIPDOC (April 8-9) brought industry-ites out to Cannes in force. Throughout the week, attendees made their way up and down the Croisette from the Hotel Martinez to the Palais – and the new extension, the Espace Riviera – where they cut deals, consolidated interests and caught up on the latest convergence developments.
MIPDOC appeared quiet on the surface, but in truth buyers were tucked away, screening to their hearts’ content. The event drew 356 buyers, representing 171 companies from 53 countries, a slight increase over last year’s total of 347. French docs were popular screening choices, holding five of the top ten places for most-screened programs. The top three overall were Denmark’s Shocking Truth (Filmkontakt Nord), the U.K.’s The Real Yoko Ono (Channel 4 International) and France’s A Mobile World (Doc & Co). The preferred genre (based on screenings) was current affairs, followed by history & ethnology and discoveries & nature respectively.
A panel of international broadcast execs, including Discovery’s Chris Haws, NHK’s Kagari Tajima and France 3′s Patrick de Carolis, answered the question ‘Doc programming… Who does what?’ during a Saturday afternoon session. A doc-themed market simulation followed on Sunday morning, with some surprising (and heartbreaking) results. See RealScreen’s Global Production section next month for details.
By the time MIPTV began on Monday, the atmosphere was anything but quiet. The total number of participants rang in at 11,269, representing 2,765 companies from 99 countries. For the first time, a significant number of dot-coms made a showing at the annual event, with more than 500 participating companies linked to new media and the Net. Some online entities, such as Tivix and itstv.com, didn’t manage to score a booth (they allege that Reed Midem refused their requests), but set up shop outside the Palais, on yachts.
With a nod to convergence, this year’s event included MIPNET@MIPTV 2000, a series of discussions on interactive TV and digital media distribution, including a pitch session. Of the six pitches, three fell into the non-fiction category: Enhanced Talk Soup, an existing linear talk show re-purposed for enhanced TV (U.S.-based E! Entertainment Television); Expedition 360, a three-hour doc about one man’s voyage around the globe using only human-powered transportation, supported by a website and enhanced TV options (Expedition 360 Productions in the U.S.); and MondoHome, a lifestyle series and website offering a peek inside other people’s homes (Primitive Features in Canada). Expedition 360 ultimately garnered favor with several members of the jury.
Japanese broadcaster NHK announced plans to launch a 24-hour digital HDTV (Hi Vision) channel by December 2000. As a result, the pubcaster is anxious to buy, sell and coproduce more HD programming, said NHK deputy director-general of satellite and HDTV Yukihiko Amagi.
Discovery Communications International burst on the scene with a slate of announcements, not the least of which is their US$35 million three-year copro deal with Granada Media International. The London-based prodco has committed to pumping out 30 hours of programming in the first year, and a total of 100 hours over three years for DCI’s Discovery Channel and TLC.
National Geographic Television and New York pubcaster WNET announced the launch of a multi-platform project (home video, maps, internet etc.) to accompany Africa, the eight-hour series it’s coproducing with Canal+, London’s Tigress Productions and Magic Box Mediaworks. Scheduled to air on PBS starting in September 2001, Africa is the first series created under a strategic partnership formed last year between NGT and WNET. The international video and DVD division of NGT was also busy. VP Julie Bellonte announced a ten-year deal with European magazine publisher Gruner & Jahr and print/video distrib Grupo RBA Editores to distribute NGT’s video and DVD library in Holland. The deal is an extension of the existing relationship between NGT, G&J and RBA.
Franco-German broadcaster La Sept/ARTE concluded a sale of 150 hours of programming to Italian satcaster RAI Sat. The deal includes performing and visual arts programs, author docs and lifestyle shows, as well as fiction features.
Unapix International, the distrib arm of New York’s Unapix Entertainment, signed two big output agreements. Korean company Kim Media has agreed to rep all Unapix titles for the Korean TV and home video markets. Argentina’s Leda Films also picked up a bundle of reality programming from the American distrib.