Mipcom, the largest international TV market, reiterated earlier this week that it would take place as a physical event from Oct. 11-14, having skipped 2020 due to the pandemic. Hamstrung by the crisis, organizers Reed Midem haven’t managed to run any of their biannual TV markets in person (MipTV in spring and Mipcom in the fall) since October 2019, instead launching virtual offerings.
However, this fall still holds too much uncertainty for major companies such as Banijay, which became the largest global production outfit outside of the U.S. studio system, and the world’s biggest non-scripted player, following its acquisition of Endemol Shine Group. Banijay normally has a sizeable outpost in Cannes with prime positioning directly in front of the Grand Palais. The business has yet to be on the ground in Cannes since its acquisition of Endemol Shine completed last summer.
“As ever, the health and safety of our teams remains paramount. Given the continuing uncertainty around border and social restrictions, we have taken the decision not to exhibit at this year’s Mipcom,” the company told Variety in a statement.
“While we’re disappointed not to be attending, we look forward to being back in Cannes next year, and in the meantime, we’re fortunate to have a hugely talented sales team with a great screening platform, and innovative marketing support, who will continue to prosper and champion our brands virtually.”
Variety understands that while a physical Mipcom may still go ahead — marking a hugely anticipated regroup for the global TV industry, which hasn’t enjoyed a major in-person event since NATPE and Realscreen 2020 — a curb on travellers from countries like India, Australia, China and even the U.S. makes it tough for multi-national firms like Banijay to justify attendance.
Even though vaccination roll-outs continue apace, some companies are still limiting international travel in 2020. Further, as the film community will know from its plans to attend the Cannes Film Festival in July, France’s restrictions for inbound travel from certain countries include a seven-day quarantine period, making it tricky to plan logistics in advance.
Elsewhere, there’s also a question mark around ITV Studios’ presence in Cannes. Variety understands the company isn’t yet confirmed for Mipcom. The “Love Island” distributor has a flashy container-built stand in the Palais courtyard, where it hosts meetings and parties.
Sources tell Variety that a decision hasn’t yet been made either way, and that it boils down to COVID-19 conditions and government guidance. Discussions with Reed Midem are still ongoing.
Fremantle declined to comment on their participation at this year’s event, while All3Media could not be reached by press time.
Lucy Smith, the newly elevated director of Mipcom, told Variety that more than 150 exhibitors from 34 countries are confirmed for Cannes in October.
“For many of us, Mipcom will be the first big step forward as an industry. But we understand the challenges in the current environment and that the journey back to in-person conventions will be different for each company. Banijay is a longstanding and valuable partner of Mipcom and we look forward to welcoming them back to Cannes in 2022.”
One annual highlight at Mipcom, the Diversify TV Excellence Awards, revealed earlier this week that they plan to go ahead in person at the Grand Palais on Oct. 13.
Last month, BBC Studios became the first distributor to drop out of Mipcom, citing a need to “give certainty” to customers. The company will instead lean on its virtual offering, BBC Connect, to continue conversations with clients.