MIPTV says “change means change” with new Palais-centered strategy

TBI can reveal that Mip organiser Reed Midem has confirmed plans to centralise the spring market across three floors within the Grand Palais while stressing that “change means change” for all involved.

The group is moving forward with plans first revealed last month to focus MIPTV across Palais -1 and Riviera 7 and 8 – where 80% of the exhibition takes place, according to Reed Midem – with all outside stands, including those of US studios and major distributors such as ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Banijay Rights, moved indoors.

Lucy Smith, newly installed deputy director of TV at Reed Midem, says all clients are now aware of the plan and they are beginning to iron out details individually with exhibitors.

“What’s key to understand is with the creation of an exhibition floor, and when you’re making a big change like this, change means change, which does mean that many exhibitors will need to change their spaces because our goal is to reinvent and transform everything,” she tells TBI.

Lucy Smith

Reed Midem has an eye on having all floor space across the three floors confirmed by September. The cost-effective strategy is intended to help both distributors and Reed Midem save on costs for the market, for which attendance has been dwindling in recent years.

However, major questions remain around the extent of the upheaval, and where exactly businesses will end up across the three floors.

While Smith would not confirm whether exhibitors with the largest stands, such as US studios, will have the first pick of space in the new floorplan, as discussed by Reed Midem in last month’s meeting with UK distributors, she suggested the studios were a high priority for Reed Midem.

“We want the US and UK studios to be a part of this in a big way,” she says. “It’s very important to the success, health and vibrancy of MIP moving forward. However, there is a lot of space in Riviera 7 and 8 where we hope to have space for many of the stands that are [already] in there today.”

The organisation is also close to finalising its contract with the single stand-building company that will construct all stands, for which there will be several options for clients to choose from.

Asked whether Reed Midem is confident that all stands can be planned and executed by one business in just seven months, Smith says the group has been brainstorming floor plans since April and is “not concerned”.

“We have designs, and we know how it works,” she assures. “The plan is really solid and we’re not concerned. There is nothing that just gets decided in September. It is being decided as we move forward.”

In addition, there is a possibility that more floor space will be added if there is enough demand from exhibitors, according to Smith.

We are absolutely confident we are making the right move to embrace the future of the industry, which is changing along with our clients.

“Today we are focusing on the three floors because that’s where the logical flow is, but if we get to a point where there won’t be enough space [for all interested exhibitors], we would absolutely open another hall,” she says, adding that the market isn’t simply a “cost-cutting exercise”.

TBI understands that Palais -1, known to delegates as ‘the bunker’, will also be redesigned with more communal networking space, of which there was a small area at this year’s market hosting such businesses as BBC Studios, which was otherwise absent from MIPTV.

“We want people to feel there are arteries of light that move through the exhibition, so we are working on the design element to bring a different feel to the exhibition hall,” says Smith.

She notes that the strategy is so far being received “in a positive way” with the “majority of clients pretty much on board”.

“We haven’t had specific companies saying, ‘In that case, we’re not coming.’ They’re embracing the new opportunity to have flexible, new ways of taking part in MIPTV.”

Overall, the exec is bullish about MIPTV’s future with a reduced floorplan and promises that more announcements are to come into the autumn regarding the format and schedule of the four-day market, set to run from 30 March to 2 April.

“We are absolutely confident we are making the right move to embrace the future of the industry, which is changing along with our clients,” she says. “By responding to their demands and requests, we are offering them new ways of taking part in MIPTV.”

Elsewhere, Reed Midem confirmed that MIP Formats and MIP Doc, which both take place over the weekend before MIPTV, will happen in 2020, though its future will be evaluated going forward.

Drama festival Cannes Series will also return for a third instalment.

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