As content creators, broadcasters and distributors returned to their offices after their rainy stays in Cannes during MIPTV, the accepted wisdom surrounding the event was that while it was definitely quieter (the official numbers from Reed MIDEM cited an attendance drop of 14%), those who did make the trip were there to do business. We talked to several distributors to get their take on the market, and their predictions for the MIPCOM to come.
General Manager, Beyond Distribution (Sydney)
MIP felt quiet in terms of attendees but as ever we had full meeting schedules. We are experiencing some slowdown in terms of decision-making on major deals in some territories but we fully expect those deals to be done in due course. They’re just taking a little longer than usual. For other territories it is business (and budgets) as usual.
Our goals going into the market were to establish our new titles with clients for whom they are a good fit and those goals are being met. Our clients need good programs now more than ever.
I expect MIPCOM to be busy and I expect that a lot of clients who skipped MIPTV will be at MIPCOM. We have a big slate of new programs for MIPCOM so I am expecting to do good business. Whilst I don’t have a crystal ball I am optimistic that business will hold up in the second half of the year.
CEO, Outright Distribution (London)
It’s still a little early to tell exactly how the market went; we’ll know a lot more by the end of May. But deals are coming in steadily and we had a good response to our goal of successfully launching our new factual and drama series; we felt it was a good market for us.
It’s definitely a more cautious climate with buyers committing less often to deals during the market than previously. But acquisitions budgets are still intact and being spent. Big shows still command high prices, with many buyers looking for the safety of strong, returning brands. Bargains were also being sought, and there was some appetite for re-licensing existing series. Format sales also seem to be focusing on the bigger shows, with less appetite for risk than previously.
At MIPCOM, I expect the recession’s impact to be felt more strongly than at MIPTV. Some severely affected markets will have seen cuts, particularly in format buying budgets. But there will be demand and high prices for strong, new shows.
CEO, Passion Distribution (London)
With regard to MIPCOM in October, we believe the numbers will be back up slightly on MIPTV as it is a better attended market in general. We expect business to be very focused with a clear agenda of buying content for upcoming schedules. Maybe the formats business will take a hit as producers struggle to fight for fewer original slots. It will put the emphasis on tried and tested formats whereby producers can give a greater confidence in the potential success.
There was talk at MIPTV about whether there should be one market and certainly buyers were responding positively to this thought. MIPTV 2010 still looks like it will be a difficult market and hopefully by MIPCOM 2010 things will start to feel more upbeat.
CEO, Parthenon Entertainment Group (London)
We expected this year’s MIPTV to be a tough market but those who attended were the ones we most wanted to meet. I would even go as far as saying that the quality of attendees was better at this market than in recent years.
Our aim was to successfully launch our biggest, most diverse MIPTV slate and I’m proud to say we achieved this. Our Animal Armageddon was the fourth most requested clip at MIPDOC, and Generals at War and 20th Century Shark also fared well.
This helped to create new opportunities with broadcasters that we have not previously worked with. At this market, more than ever before, specialist factual titles seemed to be replacing drama series, especially for primetime half-hour programming. Also, at a tougher time for broadcasters, it’s now more essential than ever to have a fully integrated program strategy in place to cover digital media.
For MIPCOM, I believe we’ll witness a more optimistic, upbeat market. By then we may see signs of a stock market upturn. Whilst it will take time for the broadcast industry to absorb, broadcasters will be looking to increase budgets as we head into 2010.
VP sales & marketing, CABLEready (Norwalk, CT)
My goals were to see key clients in all territories and either move forward ongoing discussions or introduce them to new programming that meets their current needs. We’re well established in the marketplace, so it’s no question that our goals were met, and it’s also due to the fact that while less people attended MIP, the key buyers were there to see their most important suppliers. So in this sense it was a more focused market.
The biggest surprise to me was the amount of empty booth space in the Palais… I think it’s obvious that the people looking to do real business will attend, regardless of the [economic] climate, so it didn’t make sense to me to cut back on attendance this year. MIPDOC was a huge success thanks to the high attendance from acquisition execs – instant gratification.
I predict that we’ll be seeing more of the same at MIPCOM – less people, less clutter, another focused market and positive talk about the future. The copro market is taking a hit but that will probably start to change as we approach 2010. For now, it’s a good time to be offering finished programming.