Hundreds of UK producers, distributors and buyers are heading out to Cannes this weekend for the Mipcom programme market.

The market has evolved hugely in recent years, becoming an important forum for producers in search of funding and international co-production partners for their next projects.

This reflects the increasingly global, export orientated nature of the UK’s TV production sector. Televisual’s Production 100, published last month, is full of countless examples of indies producing for clients in the US, in particular, as well as rising territories such as China and Latin America. A dozen or so well known British indies now earn more than 50% of their revenues from international broadcasters, including Wag TV (85%), Raw (78%), Darlow Smithson (87%), Studio Lambert (62%) and Blink Films (60%).

But exactly what do indies hope to achieve at Mipcom this year, and where do they see the most possibilities for growth in the international market? Here’s the view of five execs from leading production companies:

Matt Robins
Head of development, October

Mipcom provides the best opportunity to talk face-to-face with October’s international partners on high value co-productions – ranging from history specials to docu-drama series and feature docs. With a growing slate of complex multi-funder projects, having the chance to seat five broadcasters at the same table is a rare treat. Mipcom also offers a welcome chance to pitch new ideas to commissioning partners from the US and Canada, where our business is growing significantly. Attacking them while they are away from home, giddy with jetlag and blindsided by potent rosé is a core part of October’s strategy for growth.

Michael Rose
Co-founder, Magic Light Pictures

We’ve sold our half hour specials The Gruffalo, Gruffalo’s Child and Room on the Broom to over 180 countries. So this Mipcom our focus is on continuing sales (especially second window/VOD) and finding additional DVD and VOD partners. We’ve been building The Gruffalo into a classic family brand in the UK (selling approx. £15m of merchandise in 2012 in addition to 750k DVDs) and we’re now looking to build the brand internationally. We’re targeting growth in Germany, Scandinavia, Australasia –territories where the original books have been strongest – and North America where we’ve sold over 450,000 DVDs.

Laura Mansfield
Managing director, Outline

Outline’s international growth strategy is based on creating and licensing our formats, while ensuring our finished shows are fully exploited. We have three new formats debuting at this market: Health Freaks On Trial (Warner Bros), Million Dollar Intern (BBCWW) and Wildlife Revival (Hat Trick International). I’ll be there to give them as much support as I can by providing a producer’s creative insights into meetings set up by our distributors, including Hat Trick International, with whom we’ve just done an output deal. The US is also a key target for production growth, so I’ll use the opportunity to meet with US broadcasters.

Carlo Massarella
Company director, Windfall Films

Much of Windfall Films’ output is co-produced between multiple international broadcasters. Mipcom is a great place to catch up with European partners on existing and new projects. Even if a broadcaster is contributing to a project at a pre-sale level, it offers a good opportunity for face-to-face meetings to update them on progress. Mipcom is also a good place to meet new partners in emerging markets further afield. There’s a growing appetite for factual output in the Latin American and Asian markets.  Securing partnerships from channels in this part of the world helps us get ambitious specials and series off the ground.

Bo Stehmeier
Managing director, distribution, Off The Fence

Mipcom is the most important market for OTF. We are already seeing a huge amount of interest for our lifestyle programming from the Americas, Scandinavia and Australia. Our more traditional factual slate is already pre-selling in to EMEA and will be seeking co-pro partners for our development slate. On the back of two larger digital deals we will also be pursuing strategic alliances with digital platforms for our specialist factual catalogue, especially in the OTT space. We are also looking to license action movies/TV series and music programming for the African Market.

Tim Dams

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