Between the war in Iraq and the global incidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the odds were against a strong turnout at this year’s MIPDOC (March 22 to 23) and MIPTV (March 24 to 28), both held in Cannes, France. According to the events’ organizer, Reed Midem, MIPDOC attracted 477 delegates and MIPTV pulled in 9,104. These numbers were lower than last year (577 and 10,200, respectively), but better than might have been expected, under the circumstances.
For some, lighter traffic turned out to be an advantage. Eric Michel, head of the international copro unit for the National Film Board of Canada, said it was nice to have meetings every 45 minutes instead of every 15. ‘The quality of meetings was very good,’ he noted.
One observation among buyers at both MIPDOC and MIPTV was that very little new material was being shopped. Distributors likely held back their big releases, when it became apparent that many American – and Asian – buyers wouldn’t be there. On the upside, older shows benefitted from an extended marketing push.
German distrib ZDF Enterprises deemed the market ‘highly satisfactory’, and announced brisk sales of the 13 x 30-minute series The Future is Wild to NHK in Japan, KBS in Korea and TF1 Video in France. Likewise, Granada International said it did well, moving more than 1,000 hours of programming across all genres. The U.K. distrib’s non-fiction catalog received a boost from a deal with CNN (announced at MIPTV) to distribute the U.S. cablecaster’s flagship doc specials and profiles. Granada said it was approached by several buyers on the lookout for war-related shows.
Though no one was really in a party mood, Reed Midem chose to proceed with at least some of its planned festivities for MIPTV’s 40th anniversary. A giant cake (provided by local confectioner Le Nôtre) and champagne were offered to all passersby on the first day of the event, but scheduled fireworks were cancelled.