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Tight security for Cannes ‘bunker’

Mipcom head promises show to go on

PARIS — Reed Midem topper Xavier Roy wasn’t exaggerating when, in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the U.S., he predicted: “Mipcom will be different this year.”

But just how different has been a matter of guesswork these past weeks, as harried organizers reassess the chief components of the TV mart.

They’ve had to take a hard look at everything, from security measures in and around Cannes to the appropriate tone for an event taking place when the wound caused by last month’s horrors is still raw.

On the security front, at least, Reed has been able to take concrete steps to increase safety. Cannes will be crawling with cops, it appears, and getting in and out of the Palais will be a time-consuming process as security guards, equipped with metal detectors, go about their jobs.

In a letter to participants, a couple of weeks ago, Roy apologized: “This could cause some inconvenience and we will be grateful for your cooperation and understanding.”

Moderate fallout

As to fears that anxious TV execs would stay away from the mart, the Reed topper took heart from MTV chief Tom Freston’s prompt words that he did not intend to miss being Mipcom’s Personality of the Year.

Other events are going ahead as planned, kicking off with Mipcom Junior, which this year will feature a live interview with “Teletubbies” inventor Anne Wood.

Despite the decimation of the dot-coms, the annual Mipnet conferences promise to be as relevant to delegates as ever with a focus this year on digital television. Robert Friedman, America Online’s prexy of worldwide interactive marketing for TV, will be giving the keynote speech.

China focus

Mipcom also will be putting a spotlight on China this year. Several Oct. 10 events devoted to the world’s most populous country will include top-level Chinese officials and broadcasting chiefs.

While the shocking events of recent times are bound to be “a cloud hanging over” Mipcom, as he put it, Reed Midem’s TV topper Michael Weatherseed’s sounding out of television execs points to a determination to go forward.

“Everybody’s still in a state of shock but the message I’m getting is that people still want to come here and carry on with their lives and businesses.”

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