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19 October 2022

Industry experts share new content and insights on day two of MIPCOM CANNES

Day two of MIPCOM CANNES 2022 saw exclusive presentations of content while industry experts discussed key themes and trends.

By MIPCOM CANNES News team

“I thought I was educated in so many ways, and open, but really I wasn’t!” said Cara Delevingne during a MIPCOM CANNES interview following the first public showing of footage from her new series Planet Sex.

Jointly commissioned by Hulu and the BBC, Planet Sex was produced by Delevingne’s Milkshake Productions and Fremantle’s Naked Productions. It has already been pre-sold into 92 territories. 

The show explores themes including sexual orientation, female sexuality, gender, pornography, monogamy and beauty. As executive producer and presenter, Delevingne threw herself wholeheartedly into the filming.

“Every day was completely different. I’m used to being a chameleon but this was absurd! One day you’re having your blood taken while having an orgasm, the next you’re going to a porn library.”

Fremantle UK CEO Simon Andreae, who shared the stage with Delevingne, said: “I would occasionally get calls: ‘Cara’s lying on a table in a sex club with people drinking tequila shots from her navel, what should we do?’ The answer? Keep filming!”.

Delevingne is hoping Planet Sex will reach a wide spread of viewers: “A lot of themes – sexual orientation, female pleasure – seem like they’re pointed towards women, but they’re just as much pointed towards men, because men need to know about it as much as we do,” she said.

 

MGM’s Bauer looks for another pendulum swing over rights

Once known primarily as an entertainment format factory (Got Talent, Idol), Fremantle has transformed itself into a broad-based content studio and channel operator. During the company’s MIPCOM CANNES Media Mastermind Keynote, group CEO Jennifer Mullin said: “Fundamentally, we are a content company and we need to tell all different kinds of stories. We cherish and protect our long-running family formats, but they have allowed us to get into other areas.”

Driven by a combination of organic growth and acquisition, Fremantle has seen a step change in the volume of dramas and documentaries it produces. It has also launched FAST channels and increased its movie slate to 33 titles in 2022. In terms of M&A, recent additions have included indies Luxe Vide and Dancing Ledge.

 

“It’s all about finding companies that are complementary,” said group COO and CEO continental Europe Andrea Scrosati. “For every one company we acquire we pass on 10 because they are not the right fit for Fremantle. The financial transaction is not the important thing, it’s the creative exchange and how it will add value for the group and the producer.”

Mullin added that having a creative-first culture is core to Fremantle’s approach: “We did a deal with Angelina Jolie this year. It made sense for us because she has impeccable taste and wants to tell ambitious and impactful stories. In terms of what we can do for her – it’s about creative freedom and our ability to find the right home for her content. We provide the flexibility she needs.”

 

Underhill: ‘open to ideas wherever they originate’

Diverse storytelling was also on the agenda for Universal Television (UTV) president Erin Underhill during her first trip to MIPCOM CANNES. She used her Media Mastermind Keynote to tell delegates she is “open to ideas wherever they originate. My eyes are wide open to stories coming from all sources”. Joining her during the session was Megan Amram, showrunner of new UTV series Pitch Perfect: Bumper In Berlin – set to premiere on streamer Peacock in November.

 

UTV is one of four studio divisions within the Universal Studios Group, each of which has a distinctive remit. “We’re known for broad commercial fare like The Office, Will & Grace and the Dick Wolf dramas,” said Underhill. “Our ambition is to push even further into premium dramas like The Calling and Vampire Academy, which both debut on Peacock soon. We’re interested in diverse and authentic storytelling that can work on a wide array of platforms.”

Global co-pros offer African drama a ‘big future’

African drama content has a “big future” in co-productions with companies from around the world, Fahmeeda Cassim-Surtee, chief executive of media sales at South African video entertainment company DStv, said.

Speaking to delegates at the Spotlight on African Drama session in the Seaview Producers Hub, Cassim-Surtee said that drama makers across the continent can benefit from the fact that “content has become completely global”.

 

The panel discussed the need for more co-production treaties between creatives in Africa, and more cross-border collaboration, in order to make the most of opportunities in the era of global content.

Cassim-Surtee also urged delegates from throughout the global markets to understand the rich diversity within the continent of Africa, saying that there was a tendency to treat all drama from the continent as one genre and say ‘this is what African content looks like’.

 

Streaming: ‘the new frontier of entertainment’

“Fundamentally, entertainment is the core of the TV as we know it. We’re finding the best way to leverage entertainment and get it in the home,” said Richard Jakeman, European head of business development – Smart TV, Mobile & Gaming, for Samsung TV Plus, during his Future Of Distribution talk in the HI5 Studio. Samsung TV Plus was, he said, “a natural access point to the next generation of content”.

 

His team came to MIPCOM CANNES to seek broader engagement with content owners as Samsung continues to expand its AVOD and FAST TV offering via Samsung TV Plus. Streaming, said Jakeman, was the “new frontier of entertainment”. 

Key to making this work for both consumers and content partners were good content discovery and advertising processes within the UX: it had to be “a content-driven experience for the consumer”. 

And, while there would be some room for niche content channels, the company’s drive would be towards ever-higher quality, he said, pointing to the recent exclusive deal with Fremantle to place a Jamie Oliver channel on Samsung TV Plus in the UK and the Terra X channel in Germany. 

 

The New Rights Picture: ‘slicing and dicing more complex’

A key conclusion for the panel on The New Rights Picture: What Does Exclusivity Mean Now For Content Owners? was that distribution of rights to TV shows has become more complicated as streaming platforms expand from being mostly subscription funded (SVOD) to now including free advertising-supported formats (AVOD and FAST). 

“On the international TV landscape, everyone is becoming a streamer,” said Ruth Berry, UK-based ITV Studios’ managing director, distribution. “That means the non-linear business is becoming more prominent, while the slicing and dicing of the rights is becoming more complex.”

At Amazon Studios, a solution has been to make original and licensed content available on both the paid-for Prime Video service and its ad-funded counterpart Freevee, said Lauren Anderson, head of AVOD original content and programming, Amazon Studios.

 

‘Content creation companies like Banijay need to defend IP’

Banijay CEO Marco Bassetti used his Media Mastermind Keynote to call for greater equity in the sharing of IP and rights between talent, producers and streamers. Pointing out that Banijay had been built on the back of IP like MasterChef and Survivor, he said: “Streamers provide us with a fantastic opportunity, but it is not fair to ask the talent or producers to give up everything when they have a big success. Content creation companies like Banijay need to defend their IP, not just maximise their production fee and margin – because that allows us to grow.”

Bassetti, whose company swallowed up Australia’s Beyond International a few weeks ago, expected there to be more consolidation in the content market – and stressed the benefits of having scale. “We think it important to stay very agile and flexible, but scale is important because it means leverage. It allows our talent to connect with opportunities in all the territories where we work.” 

 

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By the MIPCOM CANNES News team