The continued disruption from global streaming services was clearly apparent at this year’s Mip TV, which took place in Cannes 8-11 April. The challenges presented by online video services, notably Netflix and Amazon, were a theme through a number of the announcements and stories from the programming market.
France, this year’s country of honour, provided several perspectives on the impact of onine video. France Televisions CEO Delphine Ernotte Cunci highlighted two initiatives designed to meet the challenges of Netflix and other global providers. First, the new SVoD platform Salto which the public broadcaster is launching with rival broadcasters TF1 And M6. Second, the European Alliance with fellow public broadcasters RAI (Italy) and ZDF (Germany): pooling resources to co-commission new series.
Federation Entertainment, another French keynote at MIPTV, is producing the upcoming scripted co-production Around The World In Eighty Days with the European Alliance. The €30 million budget would normally be beyond the reach of many broadcasters, but their strategic alliance enables these public broadcasters to finance big budget drama content to rival the high-end series frequently associated with Netflix and Amazon.
Banijay Group, the French headquarter global production group, also acknowledged during their keynote session that gaining scale for producers was important as it gave them greater leverage when negotiating rights retention with global platforms. The question of scale has particular resonance for Banijay as it has been considered one of the leading potential buyers for fellow global producer Endemol Shine Group (ESG). The fate of ESG was a topic of much speculation at last year’s Mipcom but the potential sale was called off towards the end of 2018. There are reports that Banijay were still interested is the acquisition of ESG but when pressed on the topic at Mip TV, Stephane Courbit, Banijay chairman, responded 'We have nothing to say'.
Upcoming SVoD launches from Disney, WarnerMedia and NBC were also noted in several sessions as significant challenges for national and regional broadcasters as the global streaming market will become increasingly crowded and competitive.
Other major US entertainment groups speaking at Mip TV revealed different approaches to the SVoD challenge. Viacom’s David Lyle revealed that Viacom’s production units will focus on producing for all platforms regardless of ownership, as opposed to producing only for Viacom platforms and TV channels.
Also speaking at Mip TV, CBS senior executive Alberto Nunez commented that it was unlikely that CBS would soon 'flick the switch' on a global roll out of its CBS All Access service beyond its current US, Canada and Australia footprint. From CBS’ perspective, he felt the traditional business is still strong and this was a counterpoint to other sessions where concerns for the health of traditional TV distribution were frequently mentioned.
One measure of the health of the programming and distribution market is the level of activity at Mip TV itself. Mip TV was a relatively quiet market this year. A number of areas did not contain stands and the main venue was noticeably less crowded, especially in comparison to sister event Mipcom (held every October). Reed Midem reported that this year’s Mip TV attracted 9,500 participants of which approximately 3,300 were buyers and commissioners. The 2018 attendance figures were 10,000 participants and 3,600 commissioners and buyers. (Mipcom last year registered around 13,800 participants and 4,000 buyers.)
One factor contributing to this attendee downturn may be the trend towards global rights deals by the online platforms. With new series being tied down in worldwide deals there is less choice in certain genres (drama for example) for buyers from national or regional platforms and channels. With less choice, there is less of a reason to attend Mip TV as there is the option of focusing efforts at the larger Mipcom and other screening events.
The evolution of the programming market is therefore also potentially changing the configuration of Mip TV itself. Reed Midem is reported to be exploring shrinking the floorspace of future markets by moving all the stands into the main venue, the Palais de Festivals, for future Mip TVs.