MIPCOM 2012 - Global Industry Growing Up Fast


MIPCOM’S sold out success is a reflection of a new global industry more willing than ever before to move across national, regional, gender-based, ethnic, linguistic and cultural barriers. Considering what the future holds and the rapid push of technology, the global industry is in toddling stages. But if the trends shown at MIPCOM to co-produce, partner up and make deals internationally, if the cumulative largesse of the conferences tackling content, rights, technical, and other issues are any predicator, it is an industry that is growing up fast.

At MIPCOM 2012, here’s what happened:

*STORYTELLING – The industry once again underscored storytelling as the prime mover for the content industry, the explosion of technology a secondary driver. “The story should always come first, technology second,” noted Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) president and CEO Hong Sang-pyo. Production wunderkind Mark Burnett, president of US-based One Three Media, told delegates at a keynoter, that producers need to focus on any narrative as if it were a $100 million movie, adding what audiences care about is “the character story arcs and emotional connection.”  

*WOMEN at the top. Women comprised more than 25% of the line-up of speakers at MIPCOM, and the impact of their input is causing major changes in the industry. On occasion they still hold the titles of “chairman” but tired clichés such as “content is king” are rapidly falling by the wayside. Nancy Dubuc, newly appointed president of entertainment and media A+E Networks, spoke of empowerment, mantras, and teamwork and told delegates attending a keynote, “The hallmark of our company is to ask ‘Why not?’ rather than ‘Why?’” Said Dawn Ostroff, president Conde Naste Entertainment, “It is a time when we are writing the script and participating in a new industry that is being born before our very eyes.” Adriana Cisneros de Griffin, vice chairman and vice president of strategy for the Cisneros Group of Companies, said that at the time she was growing up, Venezuela had the highest number of women CEO’s in Latin America.

*ASIAN deal making was more energetic than ever before. South Korea’s Sunwoo Entertainment kicked off the market by inking a  co-production deal with France’s Planet Nemo Animation pre- school HDTV animation series Ted & Dory Detectives.  KOCCA  signed an MOU with Reed Midem to continue cooperation through 2013. China’s Ciwen Media Group agreed a major content acquisitions pact with Canada’s Nelvana Enterprises that gives Ciwen rights to market around 1000 half hours of classic cartoon and live action content from Nelvana to Chinese broadcasters and digital platforms. China’s Versatile Media and Argentina’s Smilehood signed to work together on some licencing and project development. Japanese public broadcaster NHK and New Zealand’s NHNZ gave the green light to a new blue chip science and natural history series Life Force II. Partners include the Science Channel, Discovery Network and Arte with NHK and NHNZ producing, and Off The Fence distributing. Life Force I was a major global success. DQ Entertainment and with Foothill Europe forged a co-production deal over the buddy comedy and CGI animated series Raz & Benny.

Malaysia racked up $30 million in deals on the first day of MIPCOM, including a pact between Hasbro Studios and Malaysia’s Vision Animation and Australia’s Moody Street Kid for the animated TV series Transformers –Rescue Bots (Season 2). The Malaysian government’s FINAS and Singapore’s Media Development Authority, in a ground-breaking move, co-hosted a cocktail and agreed to work together to help promote the content of both territories to the global market. Also on the Malaysian front, Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios announced its $120 million studio complex will be built jointly by Pinewood Shepparton Studios UK and the Malaysian government’s Investment arm Khazanah Holdings.

*CROSS Media, Interactive, direct to digital and Social Media – Digital development and cross media have gone from being purely a support function to becoming crucial to the research and development process. Marvel Worldwide senior vice president and general manager, digital media group, Peter Phillips noted at a conference titled Super Heroes Of Digital Development. Major companies at MIPCOM unveiled strategies clearly aimed at bringing cross media, interactive, and social media into the mix at the pre-development or development stage. The Korean Internet & Security Agency (KISA), sponsor of the What’s Hot In Korea? Cross Media Content Formats conference, has made development of cross media and interactive content based on Korea’s cutting edge technology a top priority for the company. Noted KISA’s general manager Nae-Nyoung Huh, “We’ve tapped cloud, LBS, even augmented reality, to help companies come up with workable interactive and cross media formats as well as TV advertisements.”

 Financiers are also paying serious attention to the new digital consciousness as it is reflected in the business plans of companies hoping to borrow money. In meetings at MIPCOM, David Grover, head of media finance, Structured Finance department, ING Bank, Amsterdam, said, “The most interesting content-production business plan I saw was from a company with a CEO that built his product to exploit social media from the outset – it wasn’t a “bolt-on” afterthought. He actually cut his teeth developing direct-to-digital content, and now he is in the big leagues. His initial less-successful forays didn’t sink him because he didn’t bet too big while he was still coming up the learning curve.”

*GAMING continued to push into traditional media with Rovio Entertainment and Lucasfilm, two of the most talked about franchises in pop culture history, linking up to collaborate on a new mobile game Angry Birds Star Wars.being cannes

*STEREO 3D evangelists struggled to prevent the technology from being seen as a flash in the pan at MIPCOM. IEC In Sports chief operating officer Peter Angell summed up the angst in one of a raft of conferences touching on 3D. “There is just not enough content to create proper supply chains to broadcasters.”

And despite all the wardrobe tips and hurrah about chic specs, the glasses are still a problem. ZDF commissioning editor Jens Monath added, “As soon as we can watch 3D without glasses we will make big shows.“ Masaru Ikeo, executive producer at NHK Media Technology, said his 3D engineers are working at all angles to find a glasses free TV content.

But the industry at MIPCOM 2012 was in no way in the mood to buy into disaster scenarios on any front. To the contrary. It is just a bit, if anything, high on confidence in the power of new formats and new technology to give increased value to content.  News, for example, like NHK’s announcement that its Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV) or Super Hi-Vision is now set to become the next generation global television format, was greeted with ebullience. And why not? It is after all a business built on dreams and like journeys into deep space, those dreams, when they come from fantastic story telling backed up by amazing technological promise, will continue to inspire.




(Right) Being Cannes In Front Of The Carlton MIPCOM 2012

(at left) With NHK's Fumio Narashima MIPCOM 2012 NHK Cocktail