The 2015 edition of MIPTV featured – among the glitz and glitter of TV- and movie stars, the genius and entrepreneurship of some of the most innovative people in the business and the vision and persuasiveness of the biggest brands around – a focus on one of the most interesting regions in the world – the Nordics.
Focus on the Nordics featured presentations, talks and networking events (which you can read and see more about in other places here on MIPBlog) and of course content from all over the North. “Content with a conscience” was a term people talked about, which was apparent in many of the shows and multimedia concepts emerging from the Nordics.
In the aftermath of MIPTV, I spoke to some key people in the Nordic TV setup – from the content side as well as from the technological side – so see how they experienced the spring week in Cannes and what they think the near future will bring from the Nordics.
Ole Hedemann, CCO, NRK
For me the highlight this year was the format screening, which I thought fully proved that the Nordics can supply the world with interesting creativity that stands out in the marketplace. There’s a lot of truly original, edgy, eye-catching formats to be found up north!
Right now, I see the Nordic region as a key region in getting new and original shows on air and in bringing them from paper to life. In my opinion we feature good economies and therefore maybe less risk-avoiding broadcasters than many other regions. In the production sector you find a lot of well-educated talent focusing on developing great new shows. Always look out for great new drama from our region, but also for new formats, in particular in the factual entertainment genre.
Johanna Karppinen, CEO, FAVEX Finnish Film & Audiovisual Export
First of all it was great to see such a big interest in the market from Finland – we had nearly 40 companies attending under the FAVEX umbrella. I also liked the idea of the Nordic indies getting together at the joint pavilion, and it is something I wish to explore also in the future. Also, it was lovely to be part of the documentary screening and present 12 fantastic projects, and the fact that the house was full – there as well as in all other Nordic sessions – was obviously very rewarding.
I am quite optimistic about the future, even though the times are not the easiest ones. This past MIPTV really showcased nicely how varied and versatile the Nordic content offering is at the moment – we obviously have internationally interesting content, ranging from drama to formats to documentaries.
Magnus Mandersson, Executive VP and Head of Business Unit Global Services, Ericsson
Ericsson has attended MIPTV in the past, but that was before we had a business line dedicated to providing broadcast and media services – as we do now. In the past it would also be unlikely for MIPTV to focus on the Nordics to any great extent, so that is also perhaps an indication of how far the region’s TV industry as a whole has come.
This year we were able to use the event to highlight the video on demand service that we are collaborating with Bonnier Broadcasting on. We have been working closely with the Swedish TV4 Group for many years, and it’s exciting to use our technical prowess to help them take the next step into the new age of TV. The Nordic countries already have the internet infrastructure required to support video on demand, so it makes perfect sense to leverage this to enable people to watch content on the screen of their choice.
Talking with people from the industry, it was clear that broadcasters are well aware that they face increased competition from companies that don’t necessarily have a history in broadcast TV but have a lot of technological expertise. We like to think that our technological expertise and global service organisation will help the traditional broadcasters thrive in the new multiscreen world.
I believe that video on demand services will continue to increase in popularity and that the more traditional linear broadcasters will continue to launch and refine services of this type to meet consumer demand. Video on demand is like any other useful innovation – once you experience it for yourself it is hard to go back to doing things the way you did before. It will require broadcasters to invest significantly in technology and to work with partners who are more familiar with this technology than themselves.
Although the combined population of the Nordics is only about 25 million people, there is a lot of competition for viewers. In addition to the public broadcasters in each country, private-sector broadcasters such as Modern Times Group, Bonnier Broadcasting and Discovery Communications are reaching across borders. This, and the availability of streaming services from Netflix and HBO, will ensure that broadcasters in the Nordics will be challenged to stay on top of their game: they don’t have the economies of scale that Netflix and HBO do, so to remain competitive they will have to turn to global partners.
If anything, competition between broadcasters is only going to increase as geographic boundaries become less relevant. For example, the European Commission announced 16 initiatives on May 6 to help create what they call a “Digital Single Market”. These included efforts to end unjustified geo-blocking; introduction of a modern, more European copyright law that reduces the differences between national copyright regimes; a review of the Satellite and Cable Directive, possible expansion of its scope to include broadcasters’ online transmissions and exploration of means of boosting cross-border access to broadcasters’ services in Europe; reviewing the audiovisual media framework; and analyzing the role of online platforms.
In other words, if the European Commission achieves its aims, the TV business in the European Union is going to get a lot more competitive than it already is – and this will also apply to the Nordic countries that are members of the EU.
Simon Staffans is a formats developer for MediaCity Finland, and a frequent contributor to MIPBlog. Read all of his posts – including a special pre-MIPTV Focus on the Nordics series – here!