The 31st annual MIPCOM market wrapped on Thursday (October 8) with promising signs of growth in the industry for over-the-top (OTT) and UltraHD 4K as well as some victories for the unscripted formats space.
The Cannes market, which ran from October 5 to 8, saw more than 13,700 delegates from 108 countries descend upon the French Riviera. Included in the mix were over 4,800 acquisition execs, with 1,600 purchasing for digital platforms.
Though organizers have said the market was one of the most successful MIPCOMs to date, its opening day was marred by a “medicane” over the weekend that dumped more than 150mm of rain on the Cote d’Azur in the space of two hours, resulting in flash floods that left 20 people dead.
The tropical storm also shut down Nice-Cote d’Azur, the region’s only major airport, which reopened to air traffic only after midnight on Saturday, local time. The extreme weather conditions also rerouted all MIPJunior sessions from the flooded Martinez Hotel to the Palais de Festivals.
Come Monday, however, it was business as usual for MIPCOM. With a considerable focus placed on how OTT, SVOD and streaming services are transforming the industry landscape, Netherlands-based TERN (Television Entertainment Reality Network) International launched Insight (pictured) in front of a host of international content producers on October 5.
Insight – an Ultra HD/4K factual entertainment channel available in linear and non-linear/OTT platforms – will initially feature 200 commissioned and acquired hours of Ultra HD/4K content across the genres of science, adventure-oriented reality, and sports-centric fact ent. While there has been a proliferation of wildlife content shot in 4K, Insight head of production Marjolein Duermeijer says the channel will be staying away from that genre for the moment, with a focus on content that has what she calls “the ‘wow’ factor,” geared to the male, 18-45 demo.
Included in the initial blast of commissions for the global ultra HD channel was Diamond Geezers and Gold Dealers as well as the 10 x 60-minute traveling street magic series Around the World in 80 Tricks from UK indie Woodcut Media.
The market also saw a resurgence of unscripted titles in the form of cooking, renovation, game shows and social analysis formats despite the competition for scripted and high-end drama series.
Making headlines in the unscripted realm was the play-along trivia game show format QuizUp. Producer NBCUniversal International Studios offered delegates and attendees the opportunity to win a Tesla Model S by downloading the game app from developer Plain Vanilla Corp. and competing against other challengers.
The format was acquired at the market by UK broadcaster ITV, which is to deliver a non-transmission pilot produced by one of NBCUniversal International Studios’ production entities. The series also recently received a 10-episode order from NBC for broadcast in the U.S.
Other game show and entertainment format sales included UK-based prodco STV Productions picking up the studio game show Babushka from Israel’s Armoza Formats; and French distributor KABO International acquiring the international rights for Best Host Ever a.k.a. Le Grand Tralala from Paris-based R&G Productions.
Meanwhile, FremantleMedia continued to feed the appetite of international broadcasters by securing deals with New Zealand’s Prime, Australia’s Foxtel, TV2 in Norway and Discovery Networks in Asia-Pacific for BBC Productions’ Nigella’s Christmas Special and the 6 x 30-minute Simply Nigella, both starring food writer and cookery icon Nigella Lawson.
“The new series has got that right balance of earthiness and yet ethereal light that I wanted to convey,” Lawson explained to realscreen in Cannes. “Food is earthy and it makes you feel grounded, but I wanted to talk about food that gives you that sense of calm that makes you feel bright in spirit.”
Furthering the unscripted formats push were Lionsgate’s Jennifer O’Connell, executive VP of alternative programming, and Peter Iacono, president of international television distribution, who sat down with realscreen to outline the company’s strategy.
Though the company has previously enjoyed “modest to good success” in the unscripted sphere through partnerships with other production companies, Lionsgate is now ramping up its in-house development on unscripted, and continuing to work with producers such as Matt Kunitz and Adam DiVello.
Elsewhere, Discovery Networks International president JB Perrette also stated in his Media Mastermind keynote interview that his company was focused on becoming “the leader in global entertainment in all screens” with a goal of attracting one million subscribers to DNI’s OTT platform, D-Play, by 2017.
DNI is also placing a global emphasis on 4K UltraHD and newer technologies, such as virtual reality, while moving from some of the network group’s more constructed reality fare to drive creator-driven non-fiction across Discovery’s expanding portfolio.
And finally, one of the biggest exec moves to come out of the Cannes market was the departure of DNI’s executive VP and chief creative officer Phil Craig. A statement from the network said that Craig – who appeared at last week’s Realscreen London event – would return to his roots as an independent producer just eight months after joining the international company.