Greetings, filmmakers! The number 36,000 sponsors today’s column, because that’s how many feet above the Atlantic Ocean right now. I just watched The Avengers, The Five Year Engagement and Moonrise Kingdom back to back to back. Since I’m stuck in this airline seat for a few more hours before I reach American soil, I’d like to make use of my time by giving you my review of MIPCOM 2012. The infectious creative energy here at Cannes is something I’ll never get tired of. While the weather and location are equally as magical, what I love most are the trends that emerge from the film and TV markets held there (MIPCOM, MIPTV and the Cannes Film Market, which coincides with the Cannes Film Festival). So, without further ado, here are a few observations from MIPCOM 2012, the world’s premiere television and entertainment technology market.
The Good Stuff:
More Sales Booths
For the first time in more than a few years, the number of sales booths seems to have increased. These booths cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000+, so the flurry of new booths signals that more money is being generated on film and TV product.
Buyers Are Making Offers During the Market
One of the most bitter trends to swallow over the last several years, is that buyers have been far less committal with regards to buying product during markets. Unless your product is littered with top talent, or unless it fits perfectly into the genre, length and price point that a buyer is looking for, most buyers would prefer to engage in contract talks after the market. That way they get to review everything presented to them before they decide what to spend their limited acquisition funds on.
However, MIPCOM 2012 was different. Several buyers were making direct offers during meetings, while others were guaranteeing they would make an offer by a specific date. Not since before the financial crisis of 2008 has there been so many buyers ready to spend.
A slew of animated TV and feature film projects bombarded MIPCOM this week. Ever since animation has become much more cost-effective to create, indie filmmakers from all over the world are entering “animation nation,” with hopes of branding their characters worldwide. Thus, a cascade of animated titles could be headed your way over the next few years. Then again, many of those titles are indie in nature, and an indie film by any other name is still and indie film – which means it’s not easy to sell. Either way, expect to see more animated films enter the marketplace as the cost of creating animation continues to shrink.
TV Series Are Capturing Buyers Attention
MIPCOM responded strongly to television series, especially ones with two or more seasons readily available to distribute. Buyers and sellers love doing deals on TV series, because selling 26 TV episodes is like selling 26 indie films all at the same time. With indie film prices still suffering from the 2008 financial crisis, TV series sales are a welcome infusion of cash in this rough market.
The Not So Good Stuff:
Documentaries Are Out Of Favor (Again)
Cover your eyes, documentarians, because feature docs are taking a hit (again). Not only have their prices failed to lift themselves up from the cellar’s cellar, now buyers are shying away from documentaries all together. Don’t worry, though. Buyers’ tastes are cyclical, so docs will be loved again sometime in the future.
American Content Blocked In Prime Time
The most depressing thing I discovered at MIPCOM is some European networks are blocking American content from their prime time hours in favor of their own country’s programming. For example, in Benelux (Belgium, Luxemburg and The Netherlands), many distributors are blocking American content from 6:30 to 10:30 PM. However, this tactic is backfiring, because the Euro is currently 30% stronger than the U.S. dollar. Thus, the European distributors are paying a lot more to program prime time hours with their own content, than they would be paying for American films. That’s why the most recent rumor is that the “American content prime time blockage” will be lifted in early 2013.
Okay, friends. That’s my two cents for today. Thanks again for lending me your eyes, and I look forward to borrowing them again next week!
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