Mip TV market winds down

CANNES — As the 46th Mip TV begins to market wind down, NBC Universal Global Networks Italy has acquired more than 100 hours of classic drama from ITV Global Entertainment for broadcast on its Hallmark Channel.

The deal encompasses “Agatha Christie’s Poirot,” “Agatha Christie’s Marple,” crime drama “Rosemary & Thyme,” and the 1981 adaptation of “Brideshead Revisited.”

ITV Global has also sold 500 hours of programming to South East Asia, predominantly to pay TV operators.

The sales, announced Wednesday, underscore an upside to Mip TV — the continuing vibrancy of cable, satellite and IPTV pay TV worldwide.

Recession-dominated, Mip TV was inevitably far more downbeat.

Participants dropped 14% to 11,500, Laurine Garaude, Reed Midem Television Division acting director, announced Thursday.

Buyers were down 15% to 3,800, though exhibiting companies decreased just 8%.

The major mood at Mip TV was uncertainty, as execs at advertising-driven broadcasters try to work out just what budgets they can expect to work with in 2009.

Trading was cautious with fewer sales announcements.

Event highlights included a keynote from Martin Sorrell, chief exec at giant ad agency WPP, who said that recession and digital media would change the TV business “forever.”

“If I was a media owner, and in particular if I were in one medium in one country, such as ITV in the U.K., I’d be very nervous,” Sorrell warned.

Big player new media deals continued to roll at Mip.

In one landmark deal, Paramount Digital Entertainment teamed with France’s Gaumont to produce “Section 8,” a made-for-Internet thriller, distributed worldwide by Endemol, aimed at theatrical release.

Disney-ABC-ESPN TV announced a video-on-demand agreement with Dutch cabler Ziggo.

Many Mip TV panels discussed the rise in online ad-supported services.

“We’ve got past the crawling stage and now we’re in the walking stage,” said Joe Michaels, senior director of business development for MSN Entertainment, Video and Sports.

The same could be said for Western TV ventures in China.

Tian Jan, the vice minister for the powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, led a delegation of 300 Chinese execs to Mip TV.

FremantleMedia Enterprises inked with China’s Asian Union to create Vision Ventures media, a joint production and distribution venture for factual content, largely documentaries.

Mexico’s Televisa announced that production had begun on Shanghai Media Group’s Chinese redo of telenovela “Dumb Girls Don’t Go to Heaven.”

China’s CCTV and Los Angeles’ Porchlight Entertainment unveiled a co-development deal on pre-school TV toon series “Snap! Let’s Go.”

Mip TV ends Friday. Mipcom’s 25th edition takes place Oct. 5-9, said Garaude. Organizer Reed Midem is studying how to help indie producers attend the event, she added.

Reed Midem is owned by Daily Variety parent Reed Elsevier.

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