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Channel-defining drama, high-concept format & breakthrough VR drive global alliances at MIPTV 2017

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CANNES: MIPTV 2017 provided plenty of drama for the thousands of delegates from over 100 countries in Cannes with a host of high-end projects being brought to market from around the world.

From Sky Vision’s World Premiere TV Screening of Cote D’Azur-based ‘Riviera,’ to the latest unseen episode of Canal+’s ‘Engrenages,’ and the first Asian World Premiere TV Screening of Kansai TV’s ‘Crisis,’ MIPTV confirmed that in the multi-platform environment, standout drama is focusing minds on original story-telling and an increasing number of production alliances are taking shape between television heavyweights and the online superpowers.

April 2 saw over 450 buyers at the second edition of the MIPDrama Screenings where projects from 12 finalists were judged by a Grand Jury of industry leaders. Prizes went to Globo’s ‘Jailers,’ Beta Films’ ‘Babylon Berlin,’ AB International Distribution’s sci-fi adventure ‘Missions,’ STUDIOCANAL’s Danish drama ‘Ride Upon the Storm,’ and all3media’s ‘Clique.’ A number of the 12 shortlisted titles and prize winners reported sales during the market.

For the first time in the history of MIPTV, the 2,000 drama buyers in Cannes were treated to MIPDrama Pre-LA Screenings sneak previews of shows from Disney Media Distribution and Lionsgate.

Among the shows that the two studios previewed, Lionsgate’s key title was the new TV series version of classic movie ‘Dirty Dancing,’ Disney Media Distribution’s slate included Marvel’s ‘Inhumans’ and ‘Cloak & Dagger,’ also from Marvel.

Laurine Garaude, Director of Reed MIDEM’s Television Division said, “We know that other US studios are watching this inaugural event with interest and we hope they will follow Disney and Lionsgate’s lead next year.”

Day one of MIPTV drew French and international media to a packed press conference devoted to Cannes Series , the new international festival for TV series that will run alongside MIPTV in 2018 and which is backed by Reed MIDEM and Canal+. Stressing the synergy between MIPTV and Cannes Series, Mayor of Cannes David Lisnard said, “The market will reinforce the festival and the festival will reinforce the market.”

Canal+ CEO Maxime Saada stated his company would support the event “exclusively.” He added, “There is no festival in the world that works without a market.” Outlining her ambitions for the festival, Cannes Series President and former French Minister of Culture Fleur Pellerin said the idea is to create an event that will be a global reference for series. MIPTV and Cannes Series will work together to organise a Co-production Forum.

Reed MIDEM CEO Paul Zilk commented, “It is exciting that Cannes Series will provide worldwide recognition of the best of international series and that it will do so alongside MIPTV, which has been a loyal partner with Cannes. The television business has been part of Cannes for five decades. It’s the right step at the right time and in the right place to launch Cannes Series.”

The MIPDoc and MIPFormats events that took place on the weekend before MIPTV brought together 1,800 participants making it the world’s biggest market for unscripted programming. Speaking at MIPFormats, Conrad Riggs, head of unscripted at Amazon Originals, said he would be focusing on satisfying the growing demand for reality following Amazon Prime Video’s decision to go global at the end of last year. Upcoming projects include ‘Le Mans: Racing Is Everything,’ from the UK’s New Black Films, and ‘Lore,’ based on the popular podcast by Aaron Mahnke, which re-tells true stories based on supernatural events.

There was a resurgence of reality entertainment programming from the US. NBC’s Paul Telegdy and Meredith Ahr gave a keynote presentation which spoke of the importance, locally, of big-budget entertainment shows ‘The Wall,’ ‘Little Big Shots,’ the soon-to-be- launched ‘World of Dance,’ and how these home-grown successes will work globally too. Lionsgate’s Sandra Stern announced a game-show based on mobile game Candy Crush that will premiere on CBS in July. And among its unscripted shows MGM Television brought Steve Harvey’s ‘Funderdome,’ a competition show for budding entrepreneurs.

In the documentary sector, MIPDoc delegates were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about high-end projects that were screened in Cannes. These included NHK’s ‘Tokyo Phoenix: The Rise of Modern Japan’ from NHK, Arte France and CC&C. PBS International presented excerpts from ‘The Vietnam War’ to a rapturous reception, while 4KHD co-production ‘Big Pacific’ provided distributor ZDF Enterprises with the most-watched programme in the MIPDoc Screenings. Presenter, philosopher Jason Silva came to Cannes to highlight his new series for Fox, ‘Origins: The Journey of Humankind.’

Among the highlights of this year’s MIPTV were the International Emmy® Kids Awards which celebrates excellence in children’s programming. During the gala dinner seven winners from four countries: Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were awarded the prestigious statue. MIPTV’s Médaille d’Honneur gala evening paid tribute to Zhao Yifang, President and Founder of China’s Huace Group, Alexander Coridass, President and CEO ZDF Enterprises, Viacheslav Murugov, CEO of Russia’s CTC Media and Amazon Studios’ Vice President Roy Price.

Amazon’s move to take its Amazon Prime Video platform international meant that Roy Price’s MIPTV keynote address was one of the most eagerly-anticipated presentations of MIPTV. Having screened clips from new action series ‘Jack Ryan,’ Price told his audience that content development is critical to growing the platform’s subscriber base in the 240 countries it now serves. 2016 saw Amazon invest some $3 billion in programming with flagship ‘The Grand Tour’ accounting for between $160 million to $200 million of that sum.

French commercial broadcasting group TF1 chairman and CEO Gilles Pelisson was presented with Variety’s 2017 Achievement in International Television Award. During a keynote address in the Grand Auditorium Pelisson laid out TF1’s strategy for maintaining its leadership position in the face of digital disruption by building up a robust portfolio of sister channels while at the same time maintaining a strong flagship TF1 channel.

The now-established Digital Fronts sessions showed how increasingly, digital studios and MCNs are now all about content, and less about technology as digital natives become fully screen-agnostic. “If you take one thing away from this session it’s this,” said Zoomin Studios head Richard Chambers, during one of the Digital Fronts presentations. “For Gen Z TV is entertainment, not a device or a format.”

Introducing his third annual MIPTV update for Digital Fronts, Vice’s Eddy Moretti said, “I’m not going to talk about digital, I’m going to talk about TV.” His major emphasis was Vice’s push into scripted content and the audience was treated to clips from the company’s first two scripted drama productions which will premiere on Viceland, the company’s TV network.

With a packed dedicated VR area it was clear at MIPTV that VR is moving into the entertainment mainstream. “Now we know that VR is not a passing fad – a revolution has begun,” said VR content producer Laduma CEO Ben Smith, at the Immersive Content Leadership Summit. At the same event, UK HTC'S Herve Fontaine said the company’s core strategy is “to make the market grow as fast as possible for content producers. Viveport president Rikard Steiber (HTC Vive) said during his keynote that, “VR is a completely new platform that will be the next mass market medium, allowing people to explore new kinds of worlds and experiences.”

A series of 4K UHD screening sessions showed a wealth of content that is being produced as consumer take-up of hardware picks up. Japan is on a mission to have 4K Ultra HD and 8K broadcast in at least 50% of Japan’s TV homes in time for the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, said Masayuki Suga, deputy director at the government’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Furthermore, 4K penetration in TV homes should reach 100% by 2025, he added during a presentation called ‘Japan’s Road Map for 4K Ultra HD, and Beyond.’

Brands are now a regular feature of MIPTV and PepsiCo VP of marketing and cultural connections Adam Harter was present to receive the MIPTV Brand of the Year Award. In a keynote speech he said, “We need to engage fans in new experiences and in unexpected ways. Fans lifestyles are changing fast so we need to stay ahead.”

With 10,500 delegates, 1,500 exhibiting companies, 3,800 buyers from some 100 countries represented, MIPTV is the largest international entertainment market for the first half of the year. “With the many new initiatives introduced recently including MIPDrama Screenings, Pre-LA Screenings, VR focus and the announcement of Cannes Series festival, MIPTV is poised to drive the international TV industry forward,” said Reed MIDEM Director of Television Division Laurine Garaude.

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