TBI Weekly: MIPTV – The one that got away

MIPTV 2024 (Source: RX France)

MIPTV wrapped its 61st and final edition this week, capping a tumultuous recent few years for the Cannes-based market. TBI’s resident format expert Siobhan Crawford reflects on what the event’s demise says about the industry and what needs to take its place.

Where to begin.

I love MIP. When the taxi driver dropped me off he asked if this was my first time in Cannes.

MIPTV 2024 (Source: RX France)

No, my friend, this is my 35+ time in Cannes. I have walked the streets, stayed in a lot of shitty places with a lot of bugs, hiked the old town, know servers in Plage Goelands by name and can pinpoint where the best ice cream is.

Cannes is a home from home that you would never choose but somehow brings comfort and joy because it has become a regular part of our lives.

And MIPTV will be our first love, the one that got away and the one that we romantically reminisce about for years to come. The one we compare future prospects against. But how did this final MIPTV go?

Highs & lows

Brown Sugar was closed. Enough said.

No? OK… there was a mystery food poisoning/stomach bug that affected many and if you did not catch that then it was a sore throat. The rain came, but only for half a day, thankfully.

Siobhan Crawford

The badges and barriers worked flawlessly but the diversions around the building – necessary because only two floors were open – meant accidentally entering security checks multiple times.

La Californie was as rude as you remember, Global Agency kindly provided the glamour and the Producers Lounge delightfully offered free refreshments to make up for the shortfall in seating.

There are still constant talks about “grass-shoots” appearing but let’s be honest, only if Banijay or Fremantle is the gardener!

Paper – if you come and see me, I promise I will look at paper+ (my new category) but as for the market, it’s still a ‘no’. You would have more luck with magic beans!

Cannes we talk content

Let’s be clear, there has been no content at any market in the past 12 months, so this is just a continuation.

The format making the most noise was The Power from M6/Dreamspark. It was on everyone’s lips on Sunday and likely will be the one everyone options during this dry spell – “Love Island contestants play Traitors in a deliciously trashy way,” was a phrase heard many times.

MIPTV 2024’s The Wit session (Source: RX France)

Destination X was finally commissioned for NBC a year after the announcement of a commission; Fortune Hotel and The Summit were applauded repeatedly by many for their smart gameplay; and then there was talk of ChessMasters from Curve that is in a Piano situation currently with ITV, Banijay and Fremantle circling… four years after the Queens Gambit.

There was no mention anywhere of The Chosen Ten – perhaps the BBC don’t know how to time press announcements as well as NBC!

The Wit was at it again bringing us an almost 70-minute long session of content and statistics. The fact that only 26.6% of industry international revenues come from formats was a stat that saw this distributor visibly wince.

There was also a seamless blend of commissioned and paper (sometimes difficult to distinguish), not an Asian format launch in sight but sadly the reality of the times is that group content was the majority and few of us can touch it!

London, Barcelona… Cancun?

Everyone had something to say about MIP London. Everyone. And the truth: London won’t work.

There I said it. And why… because there is no possibility to feel like a community in London. Regardless of any good intentions to right the representation of the indies and try to be opportunistic to the times, it honestly will not fit the pre-established shape of the screenings.

MIPTV 2024’s MIPLondon preview (Source: RX France)

There is no Brown Sugar, there is no walking down a street and bumping into two (or 20) people.

London Screenings’ big groups’ aim is to exclusively keep buyers in one place for as many hours as possible (even if you have no new formats to launch).

And The Savoy? Could we have picked a more expensive place to host? The idea of Barcelona is popular – the Spanish are, after all, the current number one buyer of formats… you just have to leave the Rolex at home. Or if all our families believe we live the glamorous life (and none of us have any Lat Am offices anymore), shall we just meet again in Cancun?!

The MIP London info session in Cannes discussed the structure of the new event – a place for the independents to be present, with throwbacks to Discop Istanbul there will be suites available to hire and a market floor with tables.

There is said to be no conference element and badges will be required, with the burden most likely falling to sellers only as buyers and press will be walked in for free to get the count up.

The Formatland Circadian rhythm

We are now in flux as a market. We have six months till we are back in Cannes but honestly the pipelines don’t seem to warming up and to me that means attendance will be lower, independent prodcos will be focused on squeezing whatever they can out of the final part of the year and may not attend.

MIPTV 2024 (Source: RX France)

If the groups focus on London and hold their line-ups until February each year, then MIPCOM will be the next to be depleted of content and then people. When and where do we launch formats, people?!

Will London dictate the releases? Can London Screenings be pushed back to April if MIPTV no longer exists and then our six-month recovery window will be re-established? Timings and how we operate is under review, so I am very curious to see when group and broadcast pre-mip pitches will be scheduled now we have no anchor in the schedule.

There is a phrase that resonated with me during a Californie coffee: “Apres moi, le deluge”. Basically, “after me, let the flood come as I don’t care.” And as nostalgic and melancholy as we are about losing MIPTV and the final market, is this what’s happening to the Formatland schedule?

Beyonce says it best in Flamenco: “I hope you know once it’s over, realise that you don’t know what you got until it’s gone, right about now.” I think there is a reason I had this on loop this MIPTV – this is one love we will regret losing.

For now, Cannes is over, all in the blink of an eye. The one that got away… I am hoping for a second chance.

Siobhan Crawford is co-founder of Glow Media and has worked in the format business for almost two decades at firms including DRG, Zodiak, Banijay and Primitives

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