ITV Studios pulls out of MIPCOM as travel uncertainty affects planning

MIPCOM 2019

ITV Studios (ITVS) will not be appearing at this year’s MIPCOM, with the UK-based production and distribution giant becoming the latest major outfit to confirm its decision over the October market.

The news comes six weeks since TBI revealed that Green Planet distributor BBC Studios (BBCS) would have no physical presence at the annual event, becoming the first global operator to formally outline its plans.

Too uncertain to commit

ITVS has now confirmed its decision to TBI, adding: “Our long-term partnership with Reed Midem is important to us, but the current situation with international Covid restrictions means there is too much uncertainty to be able to commit to building our popular ITV Studios House at MIPCOM 2021 and we will not be exhibiting at this year’s event.”

MIPCOM organisers remain deep in preparation for the physical version of the event, however, which is slated to run 11-14 October. News of ITVS’s decision was broken by Variety.

TBI understands some ITVS execs may be on the ground in Cannes depending on the pandemic and restrictions, while the company will also launch new shows from its slate as part of an extended ITV Studios Fall Festival.

“More details will follow shortly but we are looking forward to building on last year’s hugely successful ITV Studios Fall Festival by meeting clients both virtually and face to face in territory, where possible,” ITVS added.

MIPCOM’s director Lucy Smith said: “We understand the challenges of planning a major exhibition in the current circumstances and expect that some of our partners may choose to participate differently this year.

“Companies are registering every day and we are moving forward with MIPCOM for everyone who is planning to be in Cannes this October,” she added.

Planning challenge

MIPCOM is normally the biggest gathering in the TV calendar but was cancelled last year as the pandemic spread, with ITVS joining BBCS and Banijay in confirming that they will not be heading to Cannes this year either.

Global distributors have been hamstrung in their preparations for the annual extravaganza because of the lead times required to plan for the event combined with the ongoing uncertainty around international travel.

There are tight restrictions at present around travel to France in a bid to control the spread of Covid-19 variants, although Cannes recently hosted its annual film festival.

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