Special Report

Digital MIPTV 2021: a good twist vs. the other virtual events

The Covid-19 pandemic has reached this March one year of global effect, and MIPTV, the traditional content event in Cannes, wants to surpass it with a good twist vs. the other virtual events. What is it about? The organizer Reed Midem is taking the format of the one-to-one meeting of focused events as MIPCancun and MIPChina, to the global environment of MIPTV, running inside its MipDoc and MipFormats sub-events. Is it possible to have success with the one-to-one format in big events, and online? This is the big question for the April 12-16 week.

The participation at Digital MIPTV has three levels: Digital Pass, April 12-16, for all genres and activities, including the panels and conferences as traditional Fresh TV session, or events as MIPDrama Screenings and MIP SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Award. And then, One-to-One Distribution Market, for docs, formats and factual, including distributors and buyers, April 13-15; and One-to-One Coproduction & Development Forum, for the three same genres but including producers, distributors, buyers and commissioners, April 13-15.

So, there are two more specific markets for matchmaking, inside the general event. MIPTV is traditionally the Unscripted Week, so a very good volume is guaranteed. But the three levels of participation suggest three different costs, they will help to select people. And the ones who participate will be very specific and with steady intentions of going forward in projects.

The challenge of Digital MIPTV is the main thing because so far, most of the digital events have happened the same: they are good as a meeting point for conferences and content exhibitions, but for surpassing networking and one-to-one differential meetings, the picture is much harder. Many content titans use digital events for branding, awareness, but then they don’t work well on the platforms. There is something important to consider: many people of the content industry are in their 40s or more, so they don’t feel comfortable with online platforms. The events have to decide: to be simple or to be complete, and it is hard to find a good mid-point.

On the first day of Mipcom 2020, was announced that the event had 6000 participants and 2000 global buyers. ATF Asia in January launched a press release saying that during its last December event, 1200 companies took part in, plus 15 national pavilions. If you remember the figures of the physical events, you’d discover that the now online events don’t carry higher figures, and also you have to check who actively participates, beyond registration. So, the meetings and the interactions are very important to consider. Virtual Screenings, created by Prensario, had in its first 2020 event +7000 screenings and in the second, +9200. One virtue in the digital era is not intended to cover everything, is better instead to make focus on what works. This year, in alliance with Natpe, we’ll have LA Virtual Screenings, in May.

Market landscape

How the content market arrives at MPTV? On one hand, the industry is still not adapted to this digital-alone stage, and this stops a lot of business. But on the other hand, after a so long pandemic, there is a strong intention of pushing projects and initiatives. The challenge is to make them true, of course. Versus the old world, the new reality obliges every player to move more than in the past to reach the goals. In the past, many things just happened, in the events or in the day by day. Now nothing is watched if you don’t push and build.

The events crusade we described above, confirms oneself concept: it is upon every player to take profit from the events and reach the wanted results, more than in the past. There are many opinions of sellers and buyers saying that such event was successful for them when for others was a failure. But the formers stress that they dedicated good time to understand and navigate the platform.

Market trends were seen during the winter of the North Hemisphere? Undoubtedly, most of the highlights are taken by the OTTs, with Disney+ going forward while Netflix and Amazon react strongly. But it is important to repeat what Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBCUniversal Television & Streaming, said at Natpe Miami Virtual: ‘Though the group is fully evolving into the new digital era, our heart continues being U.S. network NBC, with its main shows catching most of the views in Peacock’. The broadcasters must evolve, but they don’t lose their strength and massive advantages.

Also, though most of the focus is on SVOD, the AVOD continues taking markets and followers quarter by quarter. Danny Fisher, CEO at FilmRise, resumed: ‘The AVOD is one of the models with more democracy about content, both for the provider and for the audience. The offering is in constant evolution due to the performance. If such content works, it continues. If not, it is put down.

Douglas-Carig 2

Douglas Craig, SVP, Content Strategy & Acquisitions, Streaming Division at ViacomCBS Network International, said too at Natpe Miami Virtual: ‘This is the right moment to launch Paramount+, because of the volume of original content and the alliances’ network we have. With the digital platforms, it will return the essential role of the programmer inside the content offering, because he understands well both the market and the audience’.

 So? We will have a very interesting 2021, with launches and positioning of big OTT in new regions, and with growing activity in spite of the pandemic. We will have new business combinations sometimes, and more traditional formulas in others. The ones who were waiting can’t continue stacked. There are players very damaged by the blackout, while others have taken advantage of the changing times. The same as with the events, for the content market as a whole, the twists are a great way to keep moving forward.

Nicolás Smirnoff / director