This year’s MIPCOM (October 8 to 12) was an anomaly. Although attendance was down 15.5% (according to Reed Midem – it appeared lower), most attendees declared it one of the better mips of recent memory, with the decrease in warm bodies directly translating into an increase in meaningful meeting time. Although several large U.S. broadcasters sent skeleton staffs to populate their booths, and rumors persisted that some pulled once the market had begun, the decreased number of U.S. attendees didn’t put a damper on the event. As one attendee put it: ‘I usually have eight meetings with Discovery. This year I only have one. The rest are spread out with European and other broadcasters.’ There’s no word yet on whether the lack of U.S. dollars affected sales.
This MIP was also marked by crack security teams policing the Palais. After waiting for 15 minutes in a long line the first day, this reporter was waved to another entrance, at which a guard noted that the containers full of posters I was carrying looked like rifles. He then waved me into the building without examining them. Reassured by such security measures, many attendees’ discussions naturally turned to the events of September 11 and how it was impacting sales. History made a strong showing at this market, with reality suffering in comparison to real-world events. More than one producer noted how Middle Eastern docs and military films were flying from the shelves – one even commenting that MIPCOM sales alone for a film about the British Special Forces would probably float his company for the year.
All indicators gathered at mipcom point to NATPE experiencing a less-than-stellar year. The noteworthy company pull-outs since the Cannes market seem to validate such speculation. Only time will tell if the January event suffers the deep-freeze some are predicting.