The 30th edition of the annual Mipcom TV market set a couple of records this year with 112 countries and 13,700 delegates – both all-time highs. It’s notable that of those, 1,300 were acquiring digital and VOD rights. The big attendance level was especially felt at the keynote speeches which were in some cases SRO, a rare phenomenon, although they did draw Ted Sarandos, James Murdoch and Simon Cowell, among others. But the market was less noisy than it has been in recent years, and that was pretty much expected with no major new reality format and a lot of drama on the Croisette.
2013 of course was the year of Rising Star which was essentially all anyone could talk about in and around the Palais. Not so this time. There was no palpable non-scripted format that had folks hopping. Keshet International which made that splash with Rising Star last year, brought celebrity cooking show/social experiment Help! I Can’t Cook to Cannes and I’m told “had a very good market.” CEO Alon Shtruzman says it was “not necessarily dominated by one big format, but with a lot of action both on the scripted and unscripted side, and great feedback on our new slate.” On Help!, they focused on teaming up with local producers since casting is such a crucial element.
In general, Shtruzman says he sees “more and more international co-development and co-production deals, bringing together local and global resources and expertise.” He tells me he believes there was a lot going on “under the surface” and inside the stands with fewer “obvious trends and loud titles.”
Other folks I’ve spoken with agree that there is a lot going on behind the scenes. There were “encouraging leads” on new non-scripted offerings for some, and a “lot of love” for big brands. Shows like MasterChef don’t seem to be slowing down and the cooking genre is especially big overseas. Even though mastadons like the X Factor and Got Talent franchises are showing their age, their offshore popularity remains high. During Simon Cowell‘s Personality of the Year keynote we learned that Mongolia and Papau New Guinea were the only places on Earth where a version of Got Talent does not air. The next day, organizers said a deal had just been made in Mongolia. Still, in the market as a whole, a UK exec says, “there didn’t seem to be anything setting the world (or at least the Croisette) alight.”
On the drama side, prestige projects continue coming together. One U.S. executive told me they had great meetings over a busy market and that there’s a lot of quality out there with no signs of slowing, save only for the shrinking pool of talent that’s available to star and showrun.
Scandinavia and the UK are still hot while Europe in general is increasingly active. One of the biggest trends to emerge at Mipcom was the preponderance of co-productions, sometimes in local language, sometimes in English. Among the projects announced were Ransom, eOne Television’s hostage-negotiator drama from Frank Spotnitz which Canada’s Shaw Media and France’s TF1 boarded. TF1 is also adapting Harlan Coben’s No Second Chance into a French-language suspense actioner. Also active in France, but working in English, Haut et Court (The Returned) has jewel heist series The Last Panthers and ecological and psychological thriller, Rubber Ducks. Tandem is handling worldwide distribution on both and also announced its participation in ZeroZeroZero, the Canal Plus Création Originale and Cattleya cocaine trafficking drama based on the book by Roberto Saviano. Another project out of Italy is 1992, Sky Italia and Wildside’s 10-part thriller about the political turmoil which led to the collapse of Italy’s First Republic. Beta Film is selling and also recently boarded X-Filme, ARD, Sky Germany’s Tom Tykwer-run Babylon Berlin. Red Arrow International brought the folks behind The 100 Code, including Bobby Moresco and star Dominic Monaghan. HBO Nordic acquired the cop series during the market and a U.S. deal is pending.