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MipTV Mart Hits 50 With a Modern Take on TV Biz

Digital is a growth area for the confab

CANNES — Content market MipTV is looking to show the world it can still be relevant at the age of 50 as some 15,000 execs converge on Cannes to do biz, and attend the ramped up numbers of red-carpet and digital-centric events.

Highlights of the mart, which kicks off Monday, include the world preem of writer-director David S. Goyer’s “Da Vinci’s Demons” and clips from producer Eli Roth’s “Hemlock Grove,” followed by on-stage conversations with the creative and exec team behind each show.

BSkyB’s Sophie Turner Laing and eOne’s Darren Throop are also among the high-profile talent and execs due at the event.

“It’s important to create a buzz and anticipation for new programs among buyers as well as consumers,” said Laurine Garaude, head of Reed Midem’s TV division, which organizes the confab.

Attending MipTV for the first time, The Weinstein Company’s slate including Shane Salerno’s “Salinger,” the buzzed-about documentary about reclusive author J.D. Salinger.

TWC is planning a U.S. theatrical premiere for “Salinger” on Sept. 6. but TWC’s COO David Glasser said it will likely unspool on the smallscreen in other countries. “The big TV networks will want to premiere it as a big TV event,” per Glasser.

Also on TWC’s roster is “Marco Polo,” a character-driven, martial arts epic that’s been picked up by Starz. TWC is negotiating deals with international networks on the series. “There’s still a tremendous appetite for event drama series with a theatrical quality,” he said.

Among other drama skeins being presented is AMC’s Detroit-set crime drama “Low Winter Sun,” starring Mark Strong (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Lennie James (“The Walking Dead”), with showrunner Chris Mundy (“Criminal Minds”) in Cannes to talk up the skein. It is repped by Endemol.

Christophe Riandee, vice-CEO of Gallic studio Gaumont and vice-chairman of Gaumont Intl. TV, the L.A.-based arm run by former NBC exec Katie O’Connell, said, “MipTV is a perfectly timed launchpad for us because ‘Hannibal’ premiered on NBC a few days ago and ‘Hemlock Grove’ will roll out on Netflix on April 19.

“At the same time, since we like to use Cannes as a platform for co-production, and Katie (O’Connell) is in France, we’ve organized meetings with the ‘Barbarella’ team and European broadcasters.”

Some 11,000 execs from 100 countries, including 4,000 buyers, have registered for MipTV, on a par with last year’s numbers.

A wide range of digital players and new opportunities from emerging markets have energized and diversified the TV content market, which is reflected in attendance and deals.

Reflecting the digital growth, MipTV is expecting 800 reps from VOD platforms to attend, up 30% on last year. The sector continues to broaden as new ventures stock up on content, such as the recent acquisition by Canuck kids’ start-up Kidoodle of 800 hours of content from DHX Media.

Mipcube, a mini-confab dedicated to the digital biz organized within MipTV, has driven this surge. The event will focus on audiences’ viewing habits, as well as creativity and monetization within the sector.

“Our goal with Mipcube has been to bring together a new community and create the right context for people to demo, pitch and exchange ideas,” Garaude said.

“TV is migrating from traditional broadcasters to new platforms and vice versa. What’s interesting is that the changing business model is allowing consumers to access content in different places.”

MipTV continues to build its online profile with the launch of an app, Mymip, alongside strengthened coverage of its panel discussions and conferences on its YouTube channel, with one highlight being the session with record-breaking skydiver Felix Baumgartner.

The biggest spikes in attendance at MipTV come from Ukraine (up 30%), the Emirates (up 28%), Russia (up 18%), Brazil (up 17%) and China (up 14%).

Deals inked in the run up to the mart have shown these countries buying muscle. For example, Russian broadcaster Ren TV acquired rights to cooking show “The Taste” from Red Arrow Intl., while its rival Channel One took celebrity diving contest format “Stars in Danger: High Diving” from Banijay Intl. And at Mip Formats, an event that runs before MipTV itself, speakers spoke of demand for foreign formats in China “exploding.” Turkey is also emerging as a keen shopper.

The traffic isn’t all in one direction. Remake rights to Turkish drama “The End,” repped by Eccho Rights, were picked up recently by U.S. shingle Sander/Moses Prods., for example.

Israel’s status as a leading producer of scripted and unscripted formats has been confirmed by the latest round of licensing agreements. Broadcaster Keshet — which established a global reputation as a drama producer with the original series that were remade as “Homeland” and “In Treatment” — has also moved into unscripted formats. It recently set up a London-base for its international sales operations, and is due to bring third-party product to MipTV for the first time this year.

Keshet will also be acquiring shows. “My schedule here at MipTV is selling and buying all the time. It’s easier when you do both because you know when you have a good show and you know when you recognize a good show that somebody else has,” said Ran Tellem, Keshet’s VP of programming.

Keshet’s slate includes drama series “The Gordin Cell,” about a family of spies, which is being remade in the U.S. by Film 44 for NBC as “M.I.C.E,” and “Tribes,” a sitcom being developed in the U.S. originally for ABC but now more likely to land at TNT, Tellem said.

The mart will also highlight new funding opportunities in emerging markets. For instance the Abu Dhabi Film Commission will be on hand to introduce the country’s new 30% tax rebate to lure shoots and encourage co-productions. A panel will discuss the Mideast’s booming TV market, where 33 channels have launched in the past six months.

Latin America is another rapidly growing market boasting opportunities. Brazil’s RioFilme will be at MipTV tubthumping its $34 million investment fund for international co-productions.

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