By all accounts, the mood at this spring’s television market in Cannes was somewhat subdued. In a recent RealScreen Plus poll, 29% of respondents said they found MIPDOC (March 31 to April 1) and MIPTV (April 2 to April 6) slower than previous years. And, lending credence to a hunch that a higher level of sobriety prevailed, 33% noted there was not nearly enough free-flowing alcohol. However, while the fun factor may have dropped a notch or two, business carried on as usual – and perhaps even better than that – as attendees appeared to embrace a more targeted and efficient approach to meetings.
At MIPDOC, the number of companies selling (177) was down a bit from the previous year, as was the total number of buyers (351), though programs presented were up by 6.65% and screenings went up by 12.15%. The hot genres were history and ethnology, current affairs, investigative, and science. The three most screened programs were: Quest for Ancient Egypt, from France’s Marathon International; Secrets of Silicon Valley, from France’s Pretty Pictures; and Echelon: Total Surveillance, from Switzerland’s Television Suisse Romande. MIPDOC’s annual market simulation showcased six programs in development or early production, and produced interesting results (for more details, see ‘On the Slate’, pg. 20).
At MIPTV, the number of exhibiting companies was up to 1,228, an increase of nearly 4% compared to last year. Despite the loss of Warner Bros., the amount of occupied exhibit space was 2.7% higher (19,132 square meters). Down on the floor of the Palais, walk-by traffic appeared slower, but there was no shortage of deals. The following are a few examples: The National Geographic Channel in the U.S. signed its first copro deal with the BBC, for Sir David Attenborough’s one-hour special Great Natural Wonders of the World.
Paris-based distrib Tele Images International convinced German pubcaster ard to pick up Untamed Asia; persuaded Mexico’s Canal 22 to grab Untamed Africa, Untamed Amazonia and Untamed Australia; and sold Nat Geo on the worldwide rights to Cobras, a 52-minute copro by MC4 Productions, La Cinquième and Tele Images.
AT Media, a new company formed by the union of New York’s Tamouz Media and Tel Aviv-based Amythos Films, announced a partnership with U.K.-based distributor Granada Int’l. The pact, in which both parties aim to produce at least 30 programs each year for three years, is an extension of an existing arrangement.
Granada and London prodco Wall to Wall announced plans to create and distribute Ancient Egyptians, a 6 x 30-minute series. Budgeted at US$10 million, the planned special effects doc project is evidence of continuing interest in high end, special event, non-fiction programming.
On the format front, Endemol Entertainment in the Netherlands revealed plans to acquire Brighter Pictures, a London prodco focused on U.S. syndicated daily formats. London-based Action Time sold a substantial package of bloopers to Swedish internet syndie company Kamera, which plans to sell them as individual clips or bundles to European portals and broadband operators. Action Time also said it will be expanding its doc slate under the leadership of Peter Davey. For more on this year’s MIP, see RealScreen Plus April 5, 2001.