Takeaways From MIPCOM 2016:  Newcomers and New Technology Surge

By Matt Gould

It wouldn’t be Autumn without Mipcom – and since it was later in the year than usual, I felt an occasional cool breeze sweeping in from the sea.  The locals, and the visiting Angelenos, were bundled up in their down parkas, while everyone else put on a light sweater.

2016’s version of Mipcom was as frenzied as ever. True, some of the broadcasters have packed up and left.  Discovery’s former space now just has a few sad chairs scattered about it.

But there was a surge in newcomers and new technology.  Virtual Reality had serious buzz.  It turns out, for instance, that Nokia has risen up again as a VR camera company.  They’re looking to partner with American production companies to make sure their OZO VR camera becomes the gold standard.  PactUS is setting up a training and discussion day with Nokia for New York and Los Angeles in the near future – don’t miss it!

Probably the showiest new technology player was Insight TV, who must have more money than anyone else judging from the size of their billboards and ubiquity of their red carpet.

The format market was brisk.  The dating and social experiment categories were red hot. Lucky 8’s 60 Days In was heavily discussed.  CJ E&M’s Grandpas Over Flowers did huge business, and it looked to me like their stand had quadrupled in size as a result. Small World IFT’s excellent American version of GOF, Better Late than Never, also created a huge amount of buzz – and from what I could tell, deals.

At the market, I strengthened the foundation of three PactUS initiatives:

  1. Creating a two-way pipeline between PactUS members and independent production companies in other countries.  US Indies can partner with their counterparts in France, Germany Scandinavia and elsewhere to sell their formats and factual content outside of the US first, enabling rights retention.  And, the international companies can feed their projects into US buyers by partnering with US Indies. It’s a win-win situation.
  2. Building an easy path for US producers to sell directly into foreign networks and digital buyers. (More to come here!)
  3. Allying with international distribution companies in the quest for US producers to hold onto rights.  Distributors are hungry for the excellent content US producers make, so they are willing to use their capital and muscle to help get those projects out onto the open market.  

My personal highlight of the market was the afternoon I spent grilling Pact CEO John McVay about his successful campaign for producers to hold onto their rights commonly known as the Terms of Trade in 2003.  While the US market is very, very different from London in the Aughts, I was inspired by Mr. McVay’s playbook and I truly believe that we can achieve that kind of success here too!

See you all soon!