Midem chief hails b’cast event

Citing record participation figures, Midem topper Xavier Roy termed this year’s 30th Mip-TV gathering on the French Riviera a mirror image of the changing broadcast industry — lively, dynamic and open.

The annual event drew more than 9,000 delegates from 103 countries representing 2,018 companies, according to figures collected by the organization 1 1/2 days before the market officially closes.

“All participation records have been broken, a sure sign of the vitality of the industry and the renewed confidence of the profession in the future,” Roy told a gathering of international journalists Tuesday at the Palais.

Roy told Daily Variety that the organization is considering turning the last ‘uncolonized’ area in the Palais, the VIP lounge, into an exhibition stand as more companies press to participate at Cannes or press to enlarge their stands.

Roy also offered several observations on the trends which are emerging as the international TV business grows more global and more varied.

Cinema and television are finding new links, with talents from the one getting more involved with the other. Mip, in fact, was graced with the presence of film stars and film directors like Werner Herzog, Ken Russell and Lina Wertmuller — helmers of a six-part docu series “Momentous Events — Russia in the ’90s.”

A little of the glamour associated with the Cannes Film Festival has rubbed off onto the normally staid buttoned-down TV market, with a scene of youngsters gathered to catch a glimpse of the likes of Cindy Crawford or a French child actress named Helene.

Commercialization and deregulation continue around the globe, with new broadcasters from territories hitherto unrepresented at Mip: broadcast buyers showed for the first time from Latvia, Puerto Rico, Ethiopia, Niger, Malta, Ecuador, Guinea Bissau, Panama and Slovakia.

Europe emerged more clearly as a true partner, both financial and creative, for American companies, with several key accords inked between parties on either side of the Atlantic.

The most high-profile involves a new agreement between CBS and TF-l and Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest to find properties to produce jointly.

In the year of the single European market, the new EC commissioner for audiovisual policy, Joao Pinheiro, significantly used Mip as the platform to spell out the Community’s latest views on issues such as HDTV and the cable and satellite copyright directive.

Europe’s commercial broadcasters also spoke out through their trade body ACT at Mip, calling for deregulation and an end to protectionist practices.

On the programming front, Roy pointed to several developing trends: the simultaneous evolution toward strictly national production and the growth of transnational projects. He also pointed to a plethora of ambitious documentaries involving many partners, like “Inside the Vatican with Peter Ustinov,””Seapower: A Global Journey,” and “Mission Top Secret.”

Because there is currently enormous interest in youth programming — both animation and live action — Mip’s sister market Mipcom will be the venue for a special Youth Programming Screenings, to be held on the eve of the fall market (Oct. 9-10).

Finally, the Midem topper pointed to the growing interest in and participation at Mip of companies involved in the latest technology, from pay-per-view to interactivity, to HDTV.

Midem, the organization that operates the Mip-TV market, is owned by Daily Variety parent Reed Intl.

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