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The mood at Mip

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06 April 2010

There’s a degree of cautious optimism ahead of this year’s annual TV programme sales market, MipTV (April 12-16).

The mood going into 2010’s Cannes market is certainly different to last April’s edition, which was held in the depths of the recession.

There’s likely to be a particular focus on drama and new formats. If you have new drama at the market, it’s going to be very much in demand as there’s not been an awful lot of new drama commissioned over the last year. The formats market is still buoyant too. But there’s been very few new formats hitting screens recently - mostly it’s been recommissions.

“I get a sense that for the right show, there is definitely more of a buzz around than there was six months ago,” says Louise Pederson, managing director of All3Media International.

Televisual canvassed several distributors for their take on the market for our April edition. Here’s what they had to say:

Jane Millichip
Chief operating officer, RDF Rights

One thing that will be an issue at this year’s MipTV is programme supply. There is likely to be a shortage of new format ideas, because last year commissioning was risk-averse with more re-commissions and fewer original ideas. There’s also been a big shift in the market – the distinctions between high end cable buyers and terrestrial buyers are beginning to disappear. Last year we had an absolutely fantastic year with high end cable channels, because they were more insulated from recession. Our top 15 clients for in 2009 were dramatically different from the previous year - which is very unusual.

Leila Monks
Director, TVF International

One really interesting area is ad funded programming. I don’t think I’ve seen so many ad agencies going to MipTV as I have this year. With the guidelines becoming more relaxed it’s an area producers need to be taking notice of. There’s no doubt that overall the tide has turned and this year’s MipTV will be much busier. That’s going to be true for factual in particular, a genre which has tended to fare better in the downturn because programmes can be made more cheaply and can be turned around relatively quickly. The kind of shows which buyers have responded to internationally are those with an upbeat theme.

Justin Judd
Managing director i-Rights, Digital Rights Group

We expect to see a surge in demand for 3d at this year’s MipTV, driven by the launch in 2010 of 3d channels at a time when there’s not a huge amount of 3d content available. We are interested in making strategic investments in 3d content. But at this stage it’s so early in the whole evolution of 3d it’ll be more about levels of interest rather than actual sales. The key driver will be the availability and affordability of the 3d sets to consumers. In a depressed economic environment where a lot of people have replaced their TVs in recent years, take up is more likely to be gradual rather than there being a stampede at retailers.

Cary Fitzgerald
Managing director, Highpoint Media Group

I’m quite optimistic about this year’s MipTV being at least as busy as last year’s Mipcom - which was fantastically busy, particular when compared to MipTV in 2009. This time last year the market was really flat – we had an empty stand opposite us which was really depressing! The last quarter of 2009 saw an enormous surge in business and I expect that trend which has been going on for the last six months to continue. On 3d I’m going to wait and see. The number of times I have heard that 3d is the next big thing and six months later nothing has happened. The one thing about 3d is that it has to be fantastic quality. I did see 3d promos in Berlin where the quality was questionable and you can’t sell rubbish.

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