Indians notch up MipTV success

MUMBAI: MipTV, the world's biggest content marketplace, which ended last week in Cannes, proved to be a very successful one for India's content creators, distributors and aggregators.

Some 43 production, broadcasting and mobile phone companies jetted their way down to Cannes to keep a tab on content trends in Europe and globally, buy and sell films, series and formats, find co-production partners and schmooze with the world's most important players in the TV, animation, film and mobile content sweepstakes.
The change this time around was that TV producers have invested in buying formats as against just broadcasters doing so. "The power has been weighing heavily in the hands of TV channel programming executives who have been behaving in a high handed manner with TV producers ordering them around as if they were serfs and they - the programmers - the fount of all that is creative," one of the producers was candid enough to say. "Now with us buying formats, we will also be able to have our say. The times have to change. More power has to come to TV producers' hands."
And mobile players from India aggressively scoured the landscape looking to do deals for video. Among these: Reliance Infocomm, Hungama Mobile, and Cellnext Solutions.

Almost everyone who attended the market from India went back with a smile on their faces. Krishna Durbha Head of Business and Marketing - Reliance Infocomm Ltd., Applications Solutions Group (India), a panelist at a session on Asian markets, received a standing ovation and was spoken of as one of the more eloquent and candid speakers during the conference programme. Says Durbha: "It's been a major eye opener for us. We are in the content space for the mobile and I got at least half a dozen leads which will lead to positive results."

Sahara Motion Pictures, which took a stand for the first time, was so delighted with the response that it has evinced interest in exhibiting in MipCom as well. "MipTV proved a great platform for us for creating business opportunities," says Sandeep Bhargava, Chief. Operating Officer, Sahara One Motion Pictures. "We get to meet the who's who of content in the world in one place and get results."

Sony Entertainment Television India, which took a stand, too had a rewarding market. Led by Kaushal Modi on the sales and syndication side, and by programming head Anupama Mandloi on acquisition, the content owner had a very busy market.

WEG India, Eros and Suman - three other companies that have been attending and exhibiting at MipTV and MipCom for several years now - too had a good market. "Both MipCom and MipTV to be honest are great ways for us to meet, greet and service all our clients at one place," says Vimal Gupta of the UK based distributor Suman Film.

Zee TV, which was represented by Deblina Chakrabarty, Parul Chatruvedi and digital head Abhijit Saxena, too, made its mark. While Chakrabarty was sizing up opportunites for content acquisition - though she had a fall from the stairs in the Palais des Festivals and was even taken to hospital - Chatturvedi was exploring how India's largest network could up its syndication revenues. Saxena - like a lone ranger - moved around in the shadows meeting all and sundry trying to further milk the potential of the 60,000 hours or so of the Zee TV content library, which is currently being digitized by IBM. Watch out for action in this space from Saxena as Zee TV chairman Subhash Chandra is himself driving the digital initiative with Saxena as his lieutenant.

Star India, which used to have a separate stand until a year and a half ago when it was brought under the umbrella of Hong Kong based centralized syndication arm Fortune Star, too had a sizeable presence. Viren Popley, Ravi Menon and Manju Nair were at the forefront of the Star TV charge. Syndication experts however point out that it would be better if Star India's Hindi content were not subsumed by the larger interests of Fortune Star's huge Chinese library. A separate stand with a separate identity for Star India would help it further exploit its syndication potential.

Other broadcasters who made their way to the market included NDTV (represented by KVL Narayan Rao and I.P. "Baj" Bajpai) and Aaj Tak (CEO G Krishnan).

The buzz this year from the Indian delegation was centered around the production companies. Optimystix, Contiloe, Miditech, Maverick, Clapstem, AIM Television, UTV, ESP Films were amongst those who made waves. ESP is on the verge of signing a huge deal with a European producer for co-producing a new documentary.

Sorely missed at MipTV were the two other big players Balaji Telefilms and BAG Films, who, are missing out on several opportunities in the global content marketplace. "Agreed they are more than busy in the domestic marketplace," says a Cannes veteran. "But not being present internationally means that not many people in the world know you at a time when boundaries between nations are dissolving and cultures are beginning to merge. That is a huge opportunity loss."

The animation presence at MipTV came in the shape of Maya, Crest, Toonz Animation, Graphiti Multimedia which continued with their efforts to make themselves better understood by the world at large. And in the process snap up some co-production, original IP deals.

Indian presence at MipTV:

Aim Television Pvt. Ltd.
Broadcast Worldwide Limited
Cellnext Solutions Limited
Clapstem Productions
Color Chips India Limited
Contiloe Films Pvt Ltd.
Dawsen Infotech Private Limited
Dessin Works
Digikore Studios Limited
Digimate Productions
DQ Entertainment Ltd
Escotoonz Entertainment Pvt Ltd (Subsidiary Of Escosoft Tech)
ESP Films
Fortune Star
Fusion Films Inc. (Part Of Giriraj Group)
Graphiti Multimedia Pvt Ltd
I Stylus
Maverick Productions Pvt. Ltd.
Maya Entertainment Ltd.
Miditech Pvt. Ltd.
New Delhi Television Limited
Optimystix Entertainment India Pvt. Ltd.
Oxigen Infovision Pvt. Ltd
Percept Picture Company Pvt Ltd
React Media Pvt Ltd
Sahara One Media And Entertainment Limited
Sony Entertainment Television India (P) Ltd
Super Cassettes Industries Limited Aka-T-Series
Toonz Animation India Pvt. Ltd
TV Today Network Ltd
UTV / Hungama TV
Video Movie International
Weg India Pictures Pvt Ltd
Zee Telefilms Limited

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