Exclusive: BBC Studios to have no physical presence at MIPCOM

BBC Studios (BBCS) will have no physical presence at MIPCOM in October, TBI has learned.

The decision comes three weeks after MIPCOM organisers Reed Midem outlined their plans for what is normally the biggest TV event on the circuit, but which is facing major disruption as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

It is understood BBCS will have no execs on the ground in Cannes, while its striking aluminium stand – which was only launched a year ago – will not take up its usual position close to the Croisette for the annual event, which is slated for October 12-15.

Digital drive

The UK public broadcaster’s commercial arm instead has extensive plans to take its content to buyers via MIPCOM ONLINE+, Reed Midem’s rapidly expanding virtual service that was implemented at MIPTV earlier this year after that event was also cancelled as the pandemic spread.

TBI understands BBCS is working with Reed Midem on its offering to buyers and will be creating its own digital assets to support sales staff. The company’s slate is set to include Emily Mortimer’s The Pursuit Of Love, Steve McQueen’s Small Axe and short-form drama Cheaters from Clerkenwell Films.

“In order to give certainty to customers and colleagues, we have now confirmed that while BBC Studios will not have a physical presence at MIPCOM 2020, we will be fully supporting the event through digital delivery,” a BBCS spokesman told TBI. “We will share further details of our slate and activity in the weeks ahead. We look forward to returning to MIPCOM in 2021.”

Laurine Garaude, director of Reed Midem’s television division, added: “BBC Studios will be partnering with MIPCOM 2020 via the new digital MIPCOM Online+ that will extend the reach of the market to audiences around the globe in 2020. We look forward to sharing more details of the partnership in due course and to welcoming BBC Studios back to Cannes next year.”

Laurine Garaude

Industry awaits a ‘different’ MIPCOM

BBCS is the first major distributor to have confirmed it will not be attending MIPCOM this year, but TBI has spoken to numerous other companies that are monitoring their options. There have been no major physical events since February, when the industry’s global events calendar began to be thrown into disarray as travel restrictions were put in place amid the spread of Covid-19.

Reed Midem was among the first companies forced to cancel a major TV event, with the recently refreshed MIPTV postponed in early March as the severity of the pandemic became apparent.

Earlier this month, Reed Midem provided more details on how the 2020 edition of its sprawling content market would operate after the French government said that trade events in excess of 5,000 people would be allowed to take place after 1 September.

Garaude told the Tellycast podcast that delegates would find a “different” MIPCOM in Cannes this year, adding that “it’s now about getting ourselves back not to normal, but the new normal and defining what that is.” Event organisers are working with industry bodies, Cannes officials and the French government to deliver the event, with a hybrid of both physical and virtual elements being offered.

Different entrances and exits will be created to ensure social distancing, more club/lounge space is being introduced and conferences will be run at 50% capacity, while facemasks are likely to be mandatory for all attendees. Big parties and gatherings will not take place, Garaude said, but MIPCOM is looking at smaller formats and making the most of outdoor space.

The Reed Midem exec also said that organisers were preparing for those unable to travel – particularly from the US and those in Latin America – by expanding the scope of its MIPCOM ONLINE+ service. Conference programming will be available in parallel online, with world premieres, global upfronts and keynote speeches also accessible to virtual guests.

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