Milia drives new media to Croisette

Integrated market encourages mingling

This article was updated on April 2, 2005.

LONDON — This year’s Milia — the event dedicated to promoting emerging media technologies and the best in new digital content — has something of a first to boast about.

Launched in 1994, the world’s largest interactive content forum for TV, mobile and broadband has become, for the first time in its 11-year history, fully integrated with its bigger cousin, the Mip program market, with which it has run concurrently since 2003.

Milia has come a long way since it was run as an entirely separate event held at Cannes in February, initially devoted to the burgeoning CD-ROM industry.

While the dot-com boom saw it blossom into a much wider forum covering emerging media such as the Internet, interactive television, mobile and gaming, the dot-com crash saw it folded into Mip in 2003, a move driven more by economic necessity than high-minded strategy.

But on reflection it’s a move that makes plenty of sense. At least it does to director Ted Baracos, who points out that running the two markets as a single event mirrors the increasing convergence of the TV industry with the worlds of mobile, broadband Internet and interactivity.

“It’s clear that TV is changing and becoming a multidevice, multiplatform industry, and as it does Milia’s traditional base of Internet and mobile is beginning to meet with the TV companies. So bringing the two together is quite significant,” he declares.

For Baracos, the aim is to encourage as much mingling between this year’s forecasted 12,000 delegates, which will include broadcasters, content providers, and broadband and mobile operators, as possible.

The event promises to overflow with delegates from the mobile industry, given its focus on 3G — timed to coincide with the efforts of mobile operators to roll out their 3G platforms and cash in on new content-driven revenues.

“We’ve got a bigger focus than ever on 3G,” confirms Baracos, who adds that for the first time in the Palais there will be a dedicated pavilion called Mobile Marketplace featuring industry leaders such as Nokia, Vodaphone and Ericsson.

Plus there are a series of Made for Mobile content screenings, sponsored by Variety, designed to showcase cutting-edge content from animation to comedy, drama, music, news and sport, specifically designed for mobile platforms.

“We aim to bring together the entertainment and mobile industries at an unprecedented level,” says Baracos.

In addition to a series of networking events and breakfasts, and a focus on South Korea — a leading player in broadband and 3G — Milia will boast a series of keynotes.

Sky Networks’ Dawn Airey, Intel’s Kevin Corbett, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore and Nokia’s Anssi Vanjoki will all be giving their takes on the future of media, covering subjects from the impact of personal video recorders to the emergence of mobile TV.

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