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Monte Carlo TV Fest On Board to Host Second Industry Confab

Monte Carlo TV Festival, which hosted the inaugural edition of the Content and Multimedia Experience confab in June, is on board to organize a second edition with an expanded scope.

The festival’s CEO Laurent Puons told Variety that his team will likely be introducing workshops to highlight innovation for content creators.

“Next year, we will also be seeing more integration of the series, content, experiences and trends discussed in the CME featured throughout the festival programming, bringing them to reality for the public (screenings, meet and greets, etc.),” said Puons.

While the first edition wasn’t quite packed, the CME program nevertheless drew major players such as Jens Richter, FremantleMedia International CEO, and Christophe Riandee, Gaumont’s vice CEO, as well as wide-ranging media industry execs such as Alison Norrington, CEO of Story Central; Rebecca Denton, digital content exec producer; Jody Smith, commissioning editor of Channel 4’s multiplatform and online video; Jeff Pope, ITV’s producer and screenwriter; and Chris Marques, an independent producer best known as jury member and artistic director of “Dancing With the Stars” on TF1.

During a panel discussing the changing landscape of TV consumption through new platforms, Smith spoke about Channel 4’s digital outreach to source factual content for its VOD platform. The U.K. network group is also increasingly collaborating with writers and producers who have never worked in broadcast and broadcasters, per Smith.

Denton, meanwhile, shared her experience working with YouTubers and noted that there was very little they needed to learn from traditional producers since they were highly responsive to their audiences and swift to adapt. Norrington discussed new platforms for storytellers such as SnapChat and Periscope.

Marques, who has been tapped by TF1 to source and create exclusive content for TF1’s upcoming 4K digital channel, said second screens have now become the primary screen for young audiences under 20.

“Millennials consume most TV content on the Web, tablets and mobiles. So we need to adapt, both in terms of editorial content and production models for first and second screens to reach these new demos,” said Marques.

Addressing a question about China, Riandee said the company was developing two “Asia-originated” projects with Justin Lin (“Furious 6,” “Community”). Riandee also announced during his keynote speech that Gaumont Europe Television was developing “Crosshair,” an English-language procedural penned by Ken Sanzel, whose credits include “Numb3rs.”

One of the CME’s recurring topics was the impact of Netflix and other streaming services on viewing habits and TV ratings. “Powerful stakeholders such as Netflix, on the one hand may be seen as a threat to traditional television, but they also offer tremendous new opportunities for content creators, allowing local as well as larger productions to reach a wider global audience,” noted Puons.

Indeed, digital platforms have opened the door for upscale foreign series in the U.S., a market traditionally tough to penetrate for foreign-language drama, and have introduced auds around the world to a wider diversity of shows. Hulu, for instance, picked up the first two seasons of French series “Braquo” while Netflix acquired another Gallic crime skein “Spiral.”

Richter pointed out that global audiences are finally warming up to foreign shows, citing the success of “Deutschland 83” (pictured above), a German spy thriller set in the 1980s that has sold worldwide. Co-produced by Canal Plus, the series just premiered in the U.S. on SundanceTV. “The Sundance Channel had a great experience with ‘The Returned’ (the French supernatural drama) and it encouraged them (to follow their guts) on ‘Deutschland 83,'” said Richter during his keynote about “the rules of a great drama.” Richter also argued remakes of drama formats were commercially viable only for shows that are already ratings hits in their home countries.

The CME confab participants gave an overall upbeat feedback on the program’s content and speakers.

“I gained a lot from the sessions while attracting a new network of contacts to share my business interests and dove-tail into others at the conference, with prospects of bringing about new opportunities and business relationships,” said Larry Keating, topper of New Zealand-based Media Wave.

Kim Bodnia, the star of hit Scandi drama “The Bridge,” said the “CME led us to discover and develop the way of telling/frame our stories to touch (people) all over the world. The panels connected us all (…) so it was like being one big family.”

“Nowadays even established festivals need to propose original content and target the public as well as professionals as we all need to anticipate trends rather than follow them,” said Michel Merkt, the co-producer of Miguel Gomes’ “1001 Nights” and David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars.”

As Emmanuel Cuénod, the topper of Geneva International Film Festival, summed it up, “Smooth organization and great international speakers in the most picturesque Monaco: What more could we ask for?”

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