TV business looking up: MIPTV/MILIA

MUMBAI: Business should be soon booming on television. During the Mipcom '04 MIPTV/MILIA, which took place 29 March - 2 April '04 in Cannes, it was noted that television and interactive content industries were showing signs of recovery.

With strong overall attendance figures and a significant rise in the number of programme buyers at the markets, Mipcom '03 indicated that there is a renewed feeling of confidence, which had heralded an upswing in deal-making.

According to the MIPTV/MILIA final figures the number of participants had hit 11,110, compared to 10,186 at Mipcom last October. 3,831 companies were represented in Cannes, up from 2,741 at MIPCOM. At 2,882, the number of programme buyers at MIPTV rose by 23.96 per cent compared to MIPTV 2003.

For the first time, in Mipcom 2004 MIPTV and MILIA were brought together in the same place and on the same dates. It is a reflection of the increasing convergence between traditional television broadcasters/producers and mobile telephony specialists, interactive content providers and broadband distributors, says a company release.

A packed Milia hall, Milia conferences and the success of the 'New TV Briefings' programme that was dedicated to interactive formats, underlined the strong demand for on-going discussions between the television and interactive sectors.

Opening keynote speech at Miptv/Milia given by BBC director of television Jana Bennett focussed on the future of interactive television. Other keynotes included Sony Pictures Digital Networks executive VP Patrick Kennedy, News Corp senior VP content and marketing Lucy Hood, and Neoteny founder and CEO Joichi Ito.

Even the two-day documentary screenings Mipdoc, which precede Miptv/Milia, was particularly active. 366 companies were represented at the screenings, compared to 253 this time last year.

Of the 1,031 programmes available for screening, 580 were making their first appearance at Mipdoc. The number of international buyers jumped to 350 from 217 companies - a marked increase on last year's 296 acquisition executives from 173 companies. The number of programmes screened rose to 8,857 from 7,420 this time last year, reflecting renewed interest in factual programming, adds the release.

On 31 March, designated China Day at MIPTV, the spotlight focussed on the largest ever Chinese television delegation (over 250 executives) to attend an international market.

Co-hosted by China's SARFT (State administration for radio, film and television) and in the presence of SARFT vice minister Hu Zhanfan, China Day included two heavyweight conferences. 'Window on the Chinese Market' gave leading Chinese television executives the chance to provide conference attendees with an overview of recent market developments in China. 'Programming, Co-Production and Producers in China' allowed international television experts to share their experiences of doing business with the Chinese.

At the conference, Hallmark Entertainment chairman and internationally-respected producer Robert Halmi Sr receive the rare French cultural medal, 'Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres.' To mark his contribution to family entertainment, Robert Halmi Sr. was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Reed Midem chief executive officer Paul Zilk, and Cannes mayor and member of the French national assembly, Bernard Brochand, honoured Halmi with a "Palme d'Or" (Golden Palm) trophy.

The conference programme in 2004 paid special attention to the relationship between the television industry and the advertising world. As television producers seek new sources of financing and advertisers try to maximise the efficiency of their investment, key debates on such subjects as the future of product placement within European programming, drew full houses.

During the upcoming MIPCOM 2004, held at Cannes, 4-8 October, the organisers will pay tribute to France, with the first France Day. Market attendees will also be able to catch up on the latest in high definition programming thanks to the four-day HDTV screenings, organised in partnership with Outside Broadcast of Belgium. In addition Mipcom Junior will run from 2-3 October, adds the release.

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