Television

"New, developing sectors, crucial to today's audiovisual businesses, will be at the heart of the agenda" : Paul Johnson - MIPCOM television division director

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Paul Johnson is Television Division Director at Reed MIDEM where he is responsible for managing and developing the company's television markets: MIPTV, MIPDOC, MIPCOM and MIPCOM JUNIOR.

Johnson earlier served in VNU Entertainment Media, where he was European sales and marketing director for The Hollywood Reporter. During his 14 years at The Hollywood Reporter, Johnson was responsible for sponsorship, events and advertising and was instrumental in making the magazine VNU's fastest-growing publication of the past decade.

A veteran of international tradeshows and exhibitions, Johnson worked closely with VNU's sister division, the Sunshine Group, on all their Film and Theatrical shows including Showest, ShowEast, Cinema Expo and Cine Asia.

In addition to his duties at Reed MIDEM, Johnson is a Director of the management committee of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), and is an International Emmy Awards board member.

In an exclusive interview to Indiantelevision.com, Johnson talked extensively on the MIPCOM market and the upcoming 2004 conference.

Excerpts:

What is the theme of this year's Mipcom?

This will be a very exciting and innovative MIPCOM with a host of high profile events, industry leaders and talent.

One of the most outstanding aspects this year is the scope and relevance of the topics that will be discussed throughout the conference programme and the quality of the speakers. New, developing sectors, crucial to today's audiovisual businesses, will be at the heart of the agenda.

The huge progress of mobile, broadband and interactive TV will be highlighted via a series of conferences brought to us by MILIA. Numerous panels, including those of MIPCOM Junior, will discuss the developing importance of licensing and merchandising, which will culminate in a keynote to be given by Disney Consumer Products Chairman and CEO Andy Mooney. DVD and home entertainment will be a focal point in a number of panels and in recognition of this flourishing sector we have launched the first MIPCOM DVD Awards which will pay tribute to the creative people that make DVD viewing such an agreeable experience.

Is the market showing signs of picking up - In terms of attendees - individuals, countries, - sales, etc?

We are pleased to see that the upswing in attendance that we saw at MIPCOM 2003 has now been confirmed and we expect to surpass the 10,200 participants that attended the 2003 event.

I am also very happy to see that in addition to core industry professionals, numerous key players from emerging sectors will be coming to Cannes. This is paramount for our clients and opens the doors for new business opportunities and exchange for both the traditional and developing sides of the industry. Leading international brands already signed up are, O2, Orange, Ericsson, Toys "R" Us, Inc., BT and T-Online among others.

Advertising, which has always been an integral part of television, will also have a heightened presence at MIPCOM. The sector is undergoing important changes, production companies are searching for new financing sources and advertising professionals are examining new programming investment opportunities and strategies. I am very proud to announce that on 5 October, a giant of the advertising world, Publicis Group Chairman and CEO Maurice Levy, will give the inaugural MIPCOM Advertising Keynote Speech, in which he will focus on the current and future relations between advertising and television.

Do you expect any change in the kind of sales the various countries generate? Will the UK spurt or will the US?

There are three key development areas in the audiovisual industry, home entertainment, mobile and broadband. Important players from all these sectors attend our TV markets and are strongly implicated in the business that goes on there. These new platforms are creating huge new opportunities that are benefiting the whole sector, of course the US and UK represent major territories for television but they are not the only countries who will be seeing a boost generated by new technologies.

"Important players from all these sectors attend our TV markets and are strongly implicated in the business that goes on there"
What is the buzz at MIPCOM for this year?

Our 20th anniversary event will kick off with an opening cocktail sponsored by Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution and Latin American Television Corporation, 4 October at the Martinez Hotel.

The stars will be out in Cannes that night as Fox will be accompanied by the beautiful and talented, Nicole Richie (The Simple Life), Lake Bell (Boston Legal), Brooke Burns (North Shore), Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development) and Marjolaine (from the French TF1 TV series "Marjolaine et les Millionnaires"). The whole evening will have a strong Latin flavour that will keep us partying until the early hours.

"The one thing everybody needs more than ever is content and the best places for that are our two TV markets"

How is it doing compared to Natpe?

There are a number of events designed for professionals from the audiovisual industry, however MIPCOM and MIPTV are the world's largest international markets for entertainment content. With the rapidly changing modes of consuming television, that are evolving each day, the one thing everybody needs more than ever is content and the best places for that are our two TV markets. In addition to this MIPCOM is a full-service event, complete with conferences, screenings, round-table debates and presentations, designed to keep attendees informed of the latest developments affecting their business.

As for the future - MIPCOM and MIPTV are world renowned hubs for the international television industry, and to further reflect the major transformations within the sector we will expand the focus which has been given to licensing and mobile at MIPCOM in future editions. For MIPTV we are elaborating a totally integrated digital media section, highlighting broadband, mobile and interactive television.

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