International television execs are jetting home today after a spending a week in the South of France at the Mip TV and Canneseries events.
The wet and windy weather compounded a slightly low-key feel at the events with Reed Midem announcing that 10,000 people were in attendance. This official number is down on the 11,000 that arrived in 2016 and 11,500 people that attended last year and seems high given that the Croisette was rather quiet during the week, not helped by French air and rail strikes.
However, there were a plethora of deals announced at the market, with the biggest talking point in the bunkers and bars was the suggestion, broken by Deadline, that Endemol Shine Group could be sold with ITV and others starting to consider another TV mega-merger.
Endemol Shine itself was responsible for possibly the noisiest format in Cannes, German physical gameshow Big Bounce Battle, which was attracting interest from across a number of markets. Although there hasn’t been a breakout format at the Cannes confab since Keshet’s Rising Star kicked off in 2013, Big Bounce Battle was certainly being touted as the next Wipeout.
The show, which was originally created by Endemol Shine Netherlands and first picked up in Germany by RTL, sees contestants race the clock and gravity as they try to conquer massive obstacle courses of trampolines as fast as they can.
Peter Salmon, Chief Creative Officer at ESG, told Deadline that as producers of Wipeout, “it makes sense for us to look at the next one”. He said that they were discussing the launch of an international production hub for the show, which launched in January, something that “helps broadcasters afford ambition”. “When you’ve got something that contains big complex sets and is technically difficult, with health and safety challenges… we’ve got to, use our scale and resources,” he added.
Other formats that were picking up steam included Matchmakers, a Belgian reality dating show that puts unsuspecting singles on three hidden camera dates with their friends orchestrating things before the scenes. Electus International picked up the global rights, including U.S. remake rights to the format, which is produced by Roses Are Blue.
Another gameshow format, Idiotest, which airs in the U.S. on GSN, saw Donald Tang’s Global Road Entertainment makes its first move into the non-scripted entertainment business. It was shopping international versions of the quiz series in Cannes. Warner Bros also scored its first global deal for Ellen DeGeneres gameshow Game of Games with Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 striking a deal to adapt the NBC series, while Red Bull upped its ambitions to send people into space with Mission to the Moon.
China and Nigeria were two of the unexpected markets that were causing a bit of a stir. Alibaba-owned Chinese SVOD service Youku revealed that it was working on a variety show with Endemol, while the latter also announced that it was partnering with Vision Media to distribute competition format Puzzle Wizards – one of the first Chinese formats to get a global bow from a major international distributor. Banijay, owners of Keeping Up With The Kardashians producer Bunim Murray, was also looking to Asia after launching a division in the region with former Star TV exec Deepak Dhar.
Nigeria hopes that it can become the next Holland with plans to start selling local formats internationally for the first time. Speaking on a panel at Mip Formats, Neil Oyenekan, boss of Lighthouse Television & Filmworks, said that he believes this may kick off in October. “We’re just entering that phase whereby we’re getting the kind of investment required to make formats that we can take globally,” he added.
On the scripted front, Canneseries, which saw Keshet’s Israeli drama When Heroes Fly pick up the best series award, helped bring some A-list talent to the market.
Patrick Dempsey made a brief appearance on behalf of MGM’s The Truth About Harry Quebert Affair, Dexter’s Michael C Hall was in town to promote Red Production Company’s Netflix drama Safe, while Killing Eve stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer were also in attendance alongside creator Phoebe Waller Bridge. Endeavor Content revealed a high-profile French sale of the BBC America spy thriller to Canal+ during the market.
The sales and financing division of the WME-backed firm was one of the buzziest companies in Cannes, largely thanks to its incredibly plush, three-storey apartment-turned-shopfront Square Mérimée, where some of the firms 400 international execs, including Co-President Chris Rice, were holding court. Rice told Deadline that the distribution division, which was selling shows such as Beau Willimon’s The First and John Le Carre adaptation The Little Drummer Girl, was trying to innovate on the sales and financing side. “I would argue certainly in the independent sphere, we’ve got the largest infrastructure. We’re taking 10 or 12 high quality or talent-led shows and being able to sell them individually rather than the typical distribution model, which is where a distributor… often does massive package deals or outputs that combine a lot of product, which isn’t always in the interest of the creator,” he said.
There were few U.S. buyers in town and the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Apple were also thin on the ground. While Amazon was busy restructuring its scripted development team in the U.S., unscripted exec CJ Yu, and Amazon Prime Video India series development manager Tommy Drachkovitch were two of the only execs in attendance from the major SVODs.
A handful of smaller U.S. players such as Ovation and BritBox were doing deals; the arts broadcaster picking up a pair of Jamie Oliver titles from FremantleMedia International and a 65-hour volume deal with Banijay Rights for shows including Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year. BritBox’s programming exec Jonathan Karas was also looking for a few choice cuts and made an appearance at Sky Vision’s dinner to celebrate the launch of Ashley Walters and Noel Clarke’s buddy cop comedy Bulletproof.
Roll on October.