Published on October 10th, 20110
Blog: Mipcom 2011 – TV in the downturn
For those of you unfamiliar with the name Mipcom, it’s a week-long international TV and entertainment market which takes place annually in Cannes around this time of year. It’s where execs pitch, buy, sell, and sign programming deals. It’s also the place where TV heavyweights catch up after some time apart do some serious imbibing.
Well, that’s how it used to be. The global economic problems of recent years have led to significant drop in attendees, as broadcasters, producers and dealmakers alike tightened the purse strings and prioritised what to spend their money on.
However, this year the UK industry has seen an improvement in fortunes as it continues to claw back some of the budgets made available in 2008. So with confidence starting to return to most sections of the industry, was Mipcom 2011 a throwback to the pre-recession era?
Not quite. Although official numbers show attendees were up a modest 100 year-on-year, the fact many execs now only attend for a couple of days means many believe there has been a sea change in the industry, according to David Green, CEO of super indie DCD Media.
David Green, CEO of super indie DCD Media
“For the first time ever, I flew out on the Sunday and came back on the Tuesday,” Green told Boom! “I was better off packing meetings in two 16-hour days than staying for the usual four. I think 2008 was a watershed and I doubt we you will ever see such high attendances or high budgets again.”
Green added that although budgets have not gone down per se, the industry is not seeing the usual annual increases of previous years. “The good news is there is money again, but what people were spending pre-2008 is what they are spending now. Broadcasters keep saying that 100% budgets are a thing of the past and so they want you to bring cash to the table, be it advertising or sponsorship etc.”
Danny Fenton, the CEO and executive chairman of Zig Zag Productions – an independent with offices in both the UK and US – concurred and said another reason many attendees were conspicuous by their absence could be down to other networking opportunities now afforded them.
“Either people were too busy or they think Mipcom is less valuable these days, because there are other markets such as Realscreen or NATPE which they find more cost-effective,” he said. “Americans are the biggest exhibitors and we used to see the big networks like CBS and Fox, but none of them go now.”
However, Fenton said there were plenty of positives to be taken from the event and believes that those intent on signing deals will always go.
“I can only speak for us, but there were people who were there solely looking to buy so it was actually more proactive than in previous years.”