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Buyers enthused as Mipcom opens

Record number of animation houses make trek to Cannes

When TV buyers were in Cannes for the Mip market in April, volcanic ash blowing in from an Icelandic volcano left many attendees stranded, leaving them to wonder why they’d made the journey in the first place.

Six months later not even fears of a double-dip recession can dampen the mood on the Croisette as more than 12,000 participants from 100 countries, including 4,000 buyers, are expected for the 26th edition of Mipcom, running today through Friday.

Among an estimated 80 Mipcom exhibitors making their debut at the Palais des Festival are YouTube, Skechers Entertainment, Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom and Red Bull Media.

“All the key players and all the new players are here,” said Laurine Garaude, director of Mipcom organizer Reed Midem’s TV division. Reed Midem is a division of Variety parent company Reed Elsevier.

Organizers said a record number of animation companies would be looking to license their fare, including Saban, returning to Mipcom with “Power Rangers,” distributed by MarVista. One reason for the large number of toons seeking to be traded over the course of the mart is the ever-expanding number of children’s channels broadcast in international TV markets.

“In times of economic uncertainty, I think we all need cheering up, which is one reason we’ve been able to put together a co-production package for our new animation ‘Pet Squad,’ which is made with U.K., Canadian and Malaysian partners and is being distributed by Sony,” said Billy Macqueen, who runs London-based tyke producer Darrall Macqueen.

Meanwhile Fremantle Media Enterprises is talking up Brit drama “Kidnap and Ransom,” factual skein “March of the Dinosaurs” and the latest, as yet unspecified, show from crusading celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

“Generally speaking, it has been a difficult couple of years, and no one is completely out of the woods,” said FME global CEO David Ellender. “However, things are picking up a little, and the mood is much more positive. I think it’ll be a very productive market.”

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