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20 October 2022

Industry experts share insights on day three of MIPCOM CANNES

MIPCOM CANNES’ wide-reaching conference and events programme continued into day-three, ending with the sixth edition of the Diversify TV Awards

By the MIPCOM CANNES News team

The Family Revolution: The Audience Of Tomorrow – Today!

In the Hi5 Studio on day three of MIPCOM CANNES, the focus was on the future. The Insights Family, a research organisation specialising in kids, parents and family market intelligence, offered a glimpse of what tomorrow’s audience might look like in a session called The Family Revolution: The Audience Of Tomorrow – Today!

The Insights Family founder Nick Richardson presented some startling data on the rapidly changing media landscape, highlighting the growth of gaming and social media use by children, a trend further accelerated by COVID. Some 35% of parents globally have never known a world without VOD, he said, adding: “89% of you believe the world is moving faster than ever before and nine out of 10 believe that the media landscape has never been so fragmented.”

Eight out of 10 organisations anticipate that they won’t be operating in the same way in two years’ time, he said. “This generation of kids don’t distinguish between the sectors as we have traditionally approached them.”

Danielle Davies of UK digital marketing agency, MEON Media, and member of the Insights Family Advisory Board, said there will still be a need for content, and lots of it, but producers should look at the data when finding the right gaming and other digital partners.

“New IPs need to be more prepared to hit the marketplace in a bigger way. It needs that 360 approach,” she said. 

Stand Up And Co-Produce: The Ukrainian Experience

Can it ever be acceptable to use war as an inspiration for drama co-productions, when that conflict is still raging? The answer, at a panel session (pictured) titled Stand Up And Co-Produce: The Ukrainian Experience, was an unequivocal ‘yes’.

Unveiling In Her Car, a six-part scripted series centred around a Ukrainian psychologist who turns volunteer driver to help people flee the fighting, Dmytro Troitskiy, director of television, Starlight Media Ukraine told delegates: “After the war started we discussed when to begin doing fiction about it, because the initial impulse is to document and make factual. Storytelling is crucial. In wartime it is even more crucial.”

The project — which tells the stories of six groups of refugees through the eyes of their therapist ‘transporter’ — found an enthusiastic backer in Andreas Bareiss, head of Gaumont Germany’s Berlin office.

“When is it time to start fictional storytelling about wartime? The time is now. Here we are with a project of the utmost relevance,” he said.

Fellow panelist Victoria Yarmoshchuk, CEO of Ukraine’s Film.UA Group highlighted Those Who Stayed, a comedy/drama series about people who chose to remain in Ukraine, during the early mass-evacuations. It is in development with Germany’s Red Arrow Studios, represented on stage by Rodriga Herrera Ibarguengoytia, vice-president of scripted acquisitions and co-productions. 

The Women’s Mentoring Breakfast

On the third day of the market, MIPCOM CANNES hosted the eighth International Mentoring & Networking Breakfast for women in TV, film and digital media. Held in association with Mediaclub’elles, the well-attended event saw a group of leading executives from across the industry share their advice on how the get ahead in the industry. Just as importantly, attendees had a highly-prized opportunity to listen to stories from women around the world.

Yassia Fekir of Mediaclub’elles called it “an amazing event with a great atmosphere. I loved the fact they didn’t feel shy to ask questions and exchange. They felt free and comfortable.”

Yes Studios CEO Sharon Levi said: “If I had to sum it up in one word, it was inspiring. Women from all over the world were able to speak very freely. They felt safe discussing how to be in positions of power and make an impact while balancing their personal lives.”

Pandora de Cunha Telles, co-founder of Portugal’s Ukbar Filmes, said: “A key theme was access – access to finance and access to stories told from a woman’s point of view. By that I don’t just mean female characters – but how we get women into lead writer and showrunner positions, so we can change the narrative. And it was great to have women from around the world, because these issues are not the same in Europe, Africa, LatAm and so on.”

Claudia Vaccarone, inclusion, gender and diversity consultant, was one of the event’s mentors. She said: “I was ecstatic to be part of this event. It was wonderful to be involved in empowering and sharing with other women. What I loved is that it’s not just about monetisation. Women want to have an impact and be agents of changes as storytellers.”

Creative Deal-Making

Co-production and co-financing have been key discussion points at this week’s MIPCOM CANNES, with content creators seeking to drive growth through partnership. In the Seaview Producers’ Hub Creative Deal-Making session (pictured), three leading executives discussed their experience of pulling together finance around high-quality, predominantly scripted, series.

Emmanuelle Guilbart, co-CEO of APC Studios, used the example of The Light In The Hall, a Welsh drama that her company boarded during the development stage. “We were scouting for projects and came across a show from Triangle Pictures that we thought had good elements. We got involved and reworked the package to make it bigger. That enabled us to get Channel 4 in the UK and Sundance in the US as partners and now we are getting a good response at MIPCOM CANNES. The point of this story is that distributors like APC aren’t just about selling at the end, they can get involved early and help raise the budget and sales potential.”

Sharon Levi, CEO Yes Studios, discussed how Israeli producers are managing to make great series like Fauda at a fraction of the price of US scripted series. “Israelis are very creative when it comes to making shows cost-efficient. We’ve tended to focus on tape sales and formats, but one of the reasons I’m at MIPCOM CANNES is because we want to open up more to co-production. I have a lot of ideas going through development and am keen to find partners.”

As executive vice-president, distribution, at Newen Connect, Leona Connell is managing the sales side of an operation that now has 50 production labels in 10 countries. Asked about recent trends, she said: “I’m seeing more flexibility in the market from both linear broadcasters and streamers. We had one partner willing to take a second window even though they initiated the project. I’m seeing more examples of broadcasters being organised in a way to welcome pre-sales. We’re also becoming more agile on our side. We had one project where we went from reading scripts to a business proposal in just 15 days – which is a very fast turnaround.”

In addition to discussing co-pro and co-financing, the three execs discussed tax credits, private equity investment and the benefits of the format model. Levi warned, however, that any deal-making model needs to remember to keep the creative vision in the foreground. “Some co-pros don’t feel right. Deals have always got to make sense creatively.”

 

Fresh TV Fiction

Truth and lies was the overarching theme highlighted at the Fresh TV Fiction presentation by Virginia Mouseler, co-founder of The WIT as she guided the audience in the Grand Auditorium through emerging trends in TV drama. 

“True crime,” she said, “is probably the most powerful trend in fiction right now because true crime connects the past and present and highlights the shifts in society.” No surprise, then, that the story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is the Nº1 series in the world on Netflix. 

Examples of the trend include the UK series Maxine, about the school assistant Maxine Carr, imprisoned for the murder of two school girls in 2002 and Studiocanal’s 1985, about a series of violent assassinations that traumatised Belgium. 

And it seems entirely fictional crime series are being influenced by this genre, with Mouseler citing ITV’s cold-case series Karen Pirie, which she said “is not a true crime but it looks like a true crime”. 

Real-life events are also the inspiration for Banijay’s Bali, recounting how the island was shattered by a terrorist attack in 2002, and The Crash, about a Boeing 747 hitting two buildings in the suburbs of Amsterdam in 1992. 

On the theme of lies, Spanish production The Gypsy Bride features an undercover policewoman; Turkey’s The Father centres on a secret agent who has to fake his own death; and French deception drama Serial Lover is the story of a man living multiple lives.

Talent Behind The Screen

Adam Lewinson, chief content officer at Tubi, spoke in the Grand Auditorium about the international expansion of AVOD and its appeal to advertisers.

“They’re looking for scale, they’re looking for reach, they’re also looking to connect audiences that match demographically with the content,” he said. “So the same engine that fuels personalisation for the viewer, also fuels personalisation for ads.”

Having spent much of his career in ad-supported television, Lewinson explained how AVOD fits into the mix. “Some of the tools in the tool kit are the same but really it’s the ability to hyper-personalise for advertisers that you can’t do in linear but you can absolutely can do in AVOD — that’s been truly valuable on both sides.” 

But is there enough advertising demand to keep everybody happy? “I absolutely think there is,” he said. “It’s a shift from linear into digital in terms of advertising, but in a broadcast environment if you’ve got the right content – if you’ve got NFL, if you’ve got The Masked Singer – you can still drive a tremendous viewership, and you can still drive tremendous ad dollars. I think the pie is quite large. At the end of the day advertisers are very savvy and understand how to follow where the viewers are.”

Lewinson was presented with the World Screen Trendsetter Award at the event. 

The Unscripted Showcase

Documentary production and distribution is often fraught with problems, but at Tuesday’s Unscripted Showcase, MIPCOM CANNES delegates got not one, but three invaluable case studies on how to succeed in overcoming the hurdles

Insiders from productions selected because of their highly contemporary themes talked through how the shows evolved, from concept, through development to production, post-production and finally, distribution.

The three productions curated by factual programming consultant Peter Hamilton were Naked: Generation Gender, a six-part exploration featuring people who are challenging fixed ideas of ‘male’ and ‘female’ around the world; Casa Susanna, about a secret network of cross-dressers based in Catskill mountains in the US in the 1950s and 60s; and Space Mission Senegal, focusing on the story of Senegalese astronomer Maram Kaire, who is chosen by NASA to lead a team of African, European and US scientists on a vital data-collecting operation.

“In my practice, I always marvel at how producers get projects done,” Hamilton said. “The competition, the scarcity of great ideas and talent, the ever-changing market in the Netflix era — they are just a few obstacles to success,” he added.

“These are not roadmaps for you as producers,” he told delegates at the Seaview Producers’ Hub, “but by studying them you will get ideas that will help you make a success of your own projects.”

The MIPCOM CANNES Diversify TV Awards

The Centrepiece of MIPCOM CANNES’ commitment to diversity and inclusion is the prestigious Diversify TV Awards, now entering its sixth year. Dedicated to championing and promoting diversity and inclusion (D&I) in all its forms across the international television industry, the Awards took place in front of an enthusiastic audience on day three.

Introducing the proceedings, director of MIPCOM and MIPTV Lucy Smith described winning or being nominated for a Diversify TV Award as “an extraordinary and meaningful accolade”. She said the Awards are “central to our commitment to D&I” recognising those “who are already making an impact to inspire others today”.

Mark Garner, EVP content licensing and business development, A+E Networks, talked of his pride at his company’s status as founding partner of the Awards. “It has been an honour witnessing the growth of these Awards. D&I is core to our mission at A+E. We’ve learned that we get spectacular results when we commit to new authentic voices.”

Presenting the show was journalist and news presenter Femi Oke who immediately set an upbeat tone for what she called “a celebration of diversity. This year, we had a record number of entries - 191 from 27 countries.” A diversity advocate, Oke said: “From a business perspective, diversity is about new products, new services and appealing to a broader audience. Apply the principles of diversity and inclusion to the TV industry and the results can be transformative.”

Moving onto the real business of the Diversify TV Awards event, two awards were given in the disability category. In Representation of Disability – Scripted, the winner was Exceptional, produced by Eight Productions for Kan 11 Israel and distributed by Armoza Formats. As for Representation of Disability – Non Scripted, top prize went to Flicker Productions’ Ellie Simmonds: A World Without Dwarfism. The broadcaster was BBC1 UK and the distributor is Keshet International.

Representation of LGBTQIA+ – Scripted went to Sort Of, produced by Sphere Media Toronto for CBC and HBO Max. Distributors on this powerful series are Abacus Media Rights and Sphere Media Distribution. For LGBTQIA+ - Non Scripted, the winning entry was L.A. (A Queer History), produced for PBS by L.A. Queer History Inc x 4Mat Factory. PBS shared distribution duties with A+E on this project.

Representation of Race & Ethnicity also had two Awards up for grabs. The scripted gong went to Pour toi Flora, produced by Nish Media for Radio-Canada, with Attraction Distribution handling international sales. Meanwhile, Representation of Race & Ethnicity – Non Scripted went to Our African Roots, produced by Chemical Media for SBS Australia. Again, Abacus Media Rights is handling sales.

Another key element of the Awards is Representation of Diversity in Kids Programming. Here, the winner in the Pre-school Category was Proud To Be Me, produced, distributed and broadcast by CBC Canada. For Older Children, the winning entry was Jamie Johnson Series 6 - Episode 8 - 'The Right Thing'. Produced by Short Form Film Ltd, this show aired on the BBC and is distributed by BBC Studios.

The new Premio MIP Cancun went to Because Victoria, produced by VIS - Oficina Burman for Amazon Prime Video and distributed  by VIS. And another new prize, the  Behind The Scenes Impact Award, went to FWD-Doc – Documentary Filmmakers With Disabilities – a group of filmmakers with disabilities working in documentary film.

Entries to the Diversify TV Awards underwent a rigorous process to ensure they genuinely were best-in-class. In phase one, TV industry experts from around the world identified shows they believed were worthy of being on the shortlists. In phase two, these shortlists were reviewed by charities and publications with strong D&I credentials.

MIPCOM CANNES, which organises the Awards in partnership with Diversify TV, secured an illustrious line up of sponsors. These include founding partner A+E Networks; presenting partner Netflix; and Award partners the United Nations SDG; Telefilm Canada; All3Media International; D.I.M.E.S. and Trace Studios. D&I-facing organisations that select the winners included: GADIM, Scope, GLAAD, Stonewall, Moziak Foundation, APF France Handicap, Minority Rights Group and The Anne Frank Trust.

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By the MIPCOM CANNES News team