MIP Preview 2012

With new technologies changing every aspect of the television business, keeping up is a job in and of itself.

That’s part of the inspiration for MipCube, a new tech-focused event that sets the stage for this year’s MipTV. Slated for March 30-31, MipCube aims to encourage interaction among producers, technology companies and other global video innovators through speakers, workshops, showcases, networking events and competitions.

The event is designed to connect the entire TV ecosystem: conventional Mip attendees and the established broadcast, cable and satellite spheres with the rapidly evolving world of online programming brands, social media companies, technology companies, interactive agencies and startups of all kinds.

“It’s very much about building the community,” says Laurine Garaude, director of the television division for event organizer Reed Midem (which is owned by Variety parent Reed Elsevier). “It’s really becoming involved in looking at innovation and discovering the new trends, and also discovering new talent and new people to be working with.”

Key speakers include advertising and brand-building expert Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld.com; Allen DeBevoise, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Machinima.com; Tony Wang, U.K. general manager of Twitter and Nuno Bernardo, co-founder and CEO of transmedia production company beActive.

No outlet better fits the MipCube template than Machinima.com, which says it recorded more than 1.3 billion video views in January and more than 149 million unique visitors. DeBevoise says he sees the current boundaries between online video and traditional broadcasting blurring, and there’s plenty to be gained by pooling resources and expertise.

“Monster platforms like YouTube and Facebook are driving 800 (million) to 850 million people” per month, he says, “and we’ve never seen numbers like that. It has some interesting implications for how all of that business works, or certainly how the online video brands will try to execute their business relative to the more traditional model.”

Another key ingredient in the MipCube mix is transmedia, a concept that beActive’s Bernardo says he wants to help clarify and help more companies embrace and make work for their brands.

“As audiences are consuming more and more entertainment on new digital platforms and devices, their habits are changing,” he says. “Repurposing content for these platforms will probably not work. There is a need for other formats, lengths and content offers — and that means new business opportunities.”

In addition to speakers, workshops, showcases and networking events, MipCube features several competitions, including MipCube Lab for “disruptive” TV startups; Content 360, a pitch competition for new ideas in cross-media content and next-generation audience engagement; and TV Hack Day, in which developers will have 48 hours to develop the next generation of TV-related apps. Innovation Alley will provide demos of new technologies and services likely to impact the TV environment.

While previous Mips have incorporated technology-oriented programming, such as last year’s Creative Connectivity event, Garaude says feedback from attendees revealed how difficult it was to build community during the hustle of Mip. That led to scheduling MipCube before the main show, with a “Super Sunday” offer to let new MipCube attendees attend the first day of Mip, which will include a strong digital focus, Garaude says.

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