EXCLUSIVE: A slew of the top television distributors from the UK, U.S. and Europe are pulling out of exhibiting at Mip TV after organizer Reed Midem made a number of significant changes to the Cannes event in April.
Deadline understands that American Gods producer and distributor Fremantle, Deputy and Designated Survivor studio eOne, France’s Banijay, which recently agreed a $2.2B deal to acquire Endemol Shine, and ITV Studios are among the top-tier companies not exhibiting at the TV market.
The move comes after Reed Midem put in a place a number of major changes to the event, which runs from March 30 to April 2. Last year, it officially separated Mip TV from its October sibling Mipcom and changed the layout of the event, bringing sales firms that previously enjoyed space around the Palais into the building.
As such, Banijay, which presented its shows yards from the main entrance to the Palais, ITV Studios, which launched a purpose-built shipping container to the side of the Palais, and Fremantle, which had a beachside presence towards the back of the Palais, all reevaluated their plans. eOne was previously inside a tent opposite ITV Studios along with companies including Kew Media.
BBC Studios is another major dropout at Mip TV after first pulling back from the event last year. Instead, it had a big presence at Mipcom in October 2019, including a new stand designed by Cheerful Twentyfirst, which previously worked with Google, Disney, and Microsoft. The Doctor Who and Top Gear distributor will not have a stand at Mip TV but will have a small format sales and international production presence, a move that is likely to be replicated by the other distributors.
These companies are expected to be back for Mipcom in October but it is a major loss for Reed Midem, which has been figuring out ways to rejuvenate the April market. Many other big-name companies, including Disney, have long skirted Mip TV due to its proximity to the LA Screenings.
The latest blow has been the increasing profile of the UK Screenings in February, a week-long series of events from distributors including eOne, ITV Studios, All3Media, Lionsgate, ViacomCBS, Warner Bros, Banijay Rights and NBC Universal. Since 2016, the London events have grown in stature, piggybacking on BBC Studios’ BBC Showcase in Liverpool, which brings in hundreds of international buyers from all over the world.
ITV Studios, for instance, launched series including Rob Lowe-fronted crime drama Wild Bill and BBC dystopian thriller Noughts and Crosses at its event last year, bringing talent along including The West Wing star Lowe. ITV’s decision to eschew Mip TV comes only a few years after it increased its outdoor presence in Cannes. The company installed a 12 container hospitality and studio complex just outside the Palais in 2016, built from shipping containers (left).
Meanwhile, companies like Banijay have enjoyed an oversized presence by being outside. The company, which distributes series including Scandi detective drama Bäckström and Belgian psychological thriller GR5: Into The Wilderness, was one of the first things that buyers would see as they would enter the event. A Banijay spokeswoman told Deadline, “Banijay has taken the decision to reduce its presence at Mip TV this year. While it will return in a significant capacity for Mipcom, the business will spend the rest of the year focusing its efforts on a successful integration process around its acquisition [of Endemol Shine].”
An ITV Studios spokeswoman said: “We are continually looking at ways that we can spend more time with our partners and in 2020, whilst we will not be attending MIPTV, we are shifting our focus to our own Festival events in February, as well as markets like NATPE, Berlinale, Series Mania, Realscreen and many others. We look forward to welcoming delegates to ITV Studios House at Mipcom in October. Armoza Formats will have its usual market presence.”
Not all of the companies attending the UK Screenings, however, are avoiding Cannes this spring. All3Media, NBCU, Lionsgate and Sony will all be in attendance.
All3Media International, Discovery and Warner Bros were among the first 13 distributors to confirm their attendance to Mip TV 2020. In October, Reed Midem revealed that these three companies, as well as other firms such as Studiocanal, TF1 Studios, Beyond International, Blue Ant Media, Deutsche Welle, Global Agency, Global Screen, KOCCA, Shoreline Entertainment and TV France International, would attend a revamped market.
At the time, Lucy Smith, deputy director of Reed Midem’s Television Division, unveiled new plans that would include twice-daily ‘exhibition only’ time slots, when no conferences would be scheduled, as well as curated content screenings and data and research sessions. She said that plans were put in place to offer “flexibility” and “cost-effectiveness” for distributors and “access to fresh new content and exclusive market intelligence” for buyers.
It’s not all bad news for Reed Midem with Smith telling Deadline today that registrations for Mip TV 2020 are tracking “well ahead” of last year, which saw 9,500 registered including 3,300 buyers from 100 countries. Smith added, “The changes to the market following our industry survey are designed to allow clients to participate in a way that works for them. We’re moving away from ‘exhibit or don’t’ and towards a more flexible approach that allows participation in a way that is right-sized for individual clients whether that is exhibitor space, commercial space, meeting rooms or screenings for example. That was the purpose of the reimagined market and we are delivering on that plan.”