Date shift slowed market's start

CANNES

MipTV wrapped under rainy skies Wednesday. But not even the dismal weather could dampen spirits at the end of a surprisingly upbeat market.

Yes, the economic outlook remains grim in many countries, and traditional broadcasters are feeling the heat from new digital players.

And Mip attendees who took the train back to Paris got stuck due to electrical problems stopped it inside a tunnel. About 800 passengers walked with their baggage out on the tracks and were transferred to Marseilles and thence on another train to Paris.

Organizers Reed Midem claimed attendance was a shade down on last April, with 11,000 execs, including 400 buyers, in Cannes to prime the pump of international TV.

Also, the Sunday start, forced on Reed due to the impending Easter holiday, was not to everyone’s liking. And come Sunday morning no one was beating down the doors of the Palais to get inside. “People have so little time as it is, so why force them to come to a market on a Sunday,” wondered Lionsgate’s prexy of international TV Jim Packer. “It’s been slow, but all the right buyers are here.”

“Quiet but focused” was how U.K. paybox BSkyB’s head of acquisitions Sarah Wright described the mart. Wright’s shopping list included documentaries and foreign-language skeins for Sky Arts, plus female-skewing fare for Sky Living.

“For core buyers and distributors the market was as busy as usual, but anyone relying on footfall might have had a quieter market,” said Jane Millichip, managing director of Zodiak Rights. “There definitely seemed to be fewer attendees.”

Jens Richter, SevenOne Intl.’s managing director, elaborated: “MipTV remains a good place to launch topnotch international projects like Rene Balcer’s ‘Le Grand’ with Jean Reno. For us, MipTV has been fantastic as we had the right properties in our bags: ‘Le Grand’ left a mark and created a huge buzz.”

Reed Midem said attendance from the U.S. was up overall and drew attention to the size of the Chinese delegation, more than 200 strong.

“When we first came to this market in 1991, we came to have a quick look and to see what was happening,” said Ma Runsheng, general manager of CCTV’s CPEC. “Now we are coming to do deals.”

BBC Worldwide inked a pact with CCTV-9, the docu web, for new science shows “Generation Earth” and “Wonders of Life.”

Chinese VOD service Joy.cn acquired a package of Brit drama from ITV Global Studios Entertainment, headed by “Titanic,” the Julian Fellowes-scripted four-parter.

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