MipTV 2023 is coming to an end, with many international execs and stars having jetted in for the 60th edition of the sales confab and Canneseries events. Despite large portions of the Croisette being dug up amidst reams of construction work before the Cannes Film Festival, there was a positive feel. That will please organizer RX France, which has faced down of ongoing talk of the event’s reduced status in the post-Covid-19 era. Footfall was notably lighter than pre-pandemic, but a less frenetic pace isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Read on for our key takeaways.
Scripted Slowdown Is Real
“The TV bubble has burst,” said Studiocanal boss Anna Marsh, who delivered the weighty proclamation during a keynote on Monday afternoon. Her refreshingly candid admission, a reference to the end of the high-end TV drama boom, was echoed by many of the execs Deadline chatted with throughout the week in Cannes. As WGA scribes were voting overwhelmingly to authorize a strike in the U.S., Mip delegates reflected on how TV drama buyers are being far choosier with their projects, due in the main to spiralling budgets, the cost-of-living crisis and chaos in the American market. “We were experiencing greenlights after very short development periods beforehand but now it feels like these decisions are stretching out,” added Marsh. Studiocanal is still in the TV game for the long haul, she added, but her comments were backed up by Jane Featherstone, boss at Chernobyl producer Sister.
Featherstone said a “painful” period is coming as the drama market corrects itself and inflation is brought back down. The drama vet called on scripted producers to “reclaim the ground for quality, elevated mainstream drama” but as unscripted experiences a revival, there will no doubt be painful commissioning decisions to come. Notably, many attendees were talking up a resurgence in scripted formats in these risk-averse times, with buyers opting to greenlight reworks of shows that have already achieved success in other countries. Expect news of these deals to be unveiled in the coming weeks as buyers double down on proven shows and choose to splash less cash on untested original ideas. As recessions around the world worsen, drama companies could be in for a rough ride.
Traitors, Traitors Everywhere
Things are far rosier in the world of unscripted formats and one show dominated the talk above all else. Deadline wrote about The Traitors leading a formats revival last week and revealed on Monday morning that there are now 20 local adaptations of the smash Dutch format around the world, all ordered in less than two years. It’s been a wild ride. Attendees at The Wit’s bi-annual formats presentation counted no fewer than a dozen Traitors copycat formats, badged within a revival of the ‘adventure reality’ genre. The BBC and NBC therefore picked a good time to unveil Destination X, having worked together to co-order versions of The Traitors in 2021. A black Destination X bus was parked mysteriously along the Croisette and journalists were treated to a tour of the vehicle, which takes 10 contestants on the road trip of a lifetime, but with no idea where they are. Whether it can come close to matching The Traitors’ success is up for debate but formats execs on the ground were in the main bullish, amid major deals closing for formats such as Red Arrow Studios’ Stranded on Honeymoon Island. While last year’s format conversations were dominated by talk of old reboots going back into production, a fresh wave of originality is being felt across the sector and, unlike in scripted, buyers are showing a propensity to gamble. Deadline moderated a Traitors panel yesterday morning and five of the key people involved in the paper format’s success around the world discussed its merits and finer details. Key nuggets included BBC unscripted exec Syeda Irtizaali saying she almost turned the show down and creator Jasper Hoogendorn revealing its working title was Treason: Marrakech — it was initially planned to film in a desert. Oh, what could have been? While those scripted woes mean buyers are being choosier over drama and comedy than ever, format execs are licking their lips at the upcoming opportunities.
FAST Is Growing, But Quickly Enough?
As Mip TV attempts to carve itself more of a niche in the ever-growing world of TV markets, the confab could do worse than doubling down on its Free Ad-supported Streaming TV (FAST) Summit, which ran for the first time yesterday. While many of the Mip TV keynotes barely reached half capacity, the FAST event was packed out for a string of talks and panels overseen by former NBCU and Sundance TV exec and media vet Evan Shapiro, featuring FAST execs from the likes of Banijay and Sony. In a world where multiple revenue streams are necessary to keep media outfits afloat, big players are licking their lips at the revenue opportunities afforded by FAST, and the chatter dominated Mip. FAST channels — streamed services with linear-like schedules that usually focus on a single show or genre — can build brands or breathe life into existing ones. They’ve allowed super-indies to cut out the middle person and partner on direct-to-consumer channels with TV manufacturers, who are increasingly becoming more important in the global TV revenue game. Execs stressed their popularity in multiple conversations with Deadline across three days. Intriguingly, one producer veteran of the market told us that rather than having meetings in the diary with the traditional players, he would be sitting down with execs from the likes of Samsung, Google and LG to discuss FAST opportunities. Meanwhile, with the high-profile Westworld Roku/Tubi deal earlier this year having placed FAST firmly on the map, ad-supported platforms such as Amazon Freevee and Pluto are becoming more central to the buying conversation, handing producers and sellers another outlet for their shows. Shapiro and ITV Studios distribution boss Ruth Berry were also talking up IP opportunities across other sectors such as gaming and audio, with Berry pointing to the likes of an I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! bushtucker trial on Fortnite. Mip delegates were split on just how much of the pie is taken up by FAST: Some believe it to be right up there with traditional streaming, while others remain sceptical, seeing it as remaining on the fringes when compared to the traditional big bucks deals that can still be made. Industry eyes will be trained on where FAST goes next and which side of the argument wins out, with FAST set to be spotlighted again at Mipcom Cannes in October.
U.S. Shows Hit Canneseries
There was a notably bigger presence of U.S. series at the Mip TV-adjacent Canneseries screenings event. Paramount+’s Fatal Attraction adaptation with Lizzy Caplan and Joshua Jackson, Prime Video’s Rachel Weisz sci-fi vehicle Dead Ringers and Apple TV+’s Rebecca Ferguson-starrer Silo were among the buzziest titles as the streamers showcased their latest wares. Masterclasses from Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar and Transparent creator Joey Soloway, who was in town to collect the Konbini Commitment Award, happen today, while the International Competition pitted Dead Ringers against shows from Korea (Bargain), Canada (Good Morning Chuck [Or the Art of Harm Reduction]), Israel (Carthago and Corduroy), the Netherlands (Childhood Dreams), Norway (Power Play), Denmark (Prisoner, starring The Killing‘s Sofie Grabol) South Africa/France (Spinners) and France (Tapie). Spinners, a Showmax-Canal+ co-production about the dangerous pastime of motor car spinning, is the first South African title to make the Canneseries competition line-up. While many execs swerved Canneseries, preferring instead to attend Series Mania 500 miles up the road in Lille last month, the pink carpet hosted world premieres and global stars, showing it might have a place in the increasingly congested international TV festival calendar.
Still A Place For Mip TV
Rumors of the demise of Mip TV have long been in the ether but have they been greatly exaggerated? While the market felt a bit smaller and less attended this year than previous, attendees generally felt positive about having that little bit more time to network and catch up with contacts. Ironically, in being a bit smaller, Mip might have found itself a nice little niche. The larger Mipcom confab in October involves much running around and producers tend to be locked in back-to-back meetings. For the past few days, delegates reported to Deadline how much they have been enjoying the slightly slower pace. Mip organizers will be hoping that the keynotes are better attended next year but with the potential to double down on successes such as the FAST Summit, there may still be some life in this old market yet.
By The Numbers
Here are a few statistical takeaways emerging this morning from the south of France. RX claimed participation was up 22% on 2022’s edition of what is now known as the MIPTV Spring International Content and Co-Production Market. Attendance figures were 5,650 (5,510 who attended in person), with delegates coming from 86 countries. This was up by 1,000 on last year, as the world edged clear of the coronavirus pandemic. “We have found the right format and scale for MIPTV and its working,” said Lucy Smith, Director of RX France’s Entertainment Division and Director of MIPTV and Mipcom Cannes today. “The increased attendance and robust exhibition confirm that the design and focus is paying off for all.” Dates for next year’s MIPTV were also unveiled: April 15-17 2024. Details of October’s Mipcom gathering also emerged, with FAST channels — a key MIPTV theme, as you’ll read below — taking a central role at the bigger Cannes confab. “The benefits to all of having the international industry in one place to discover, connect and acquire is magnified by trends such as increased licensing to third parties, the pace of growth for FAST channels internationally, and the ongoing hunger for, and necessity of, co-production partnerships — themes we will further build on at Mipcom Cannes in October,” added Smith.