This is the first in a series of posts by the MIPTV News team, summarising the highlights of an action-packed week in Cannes.
MIPTV, in line with changing trends in the TV industry, is placing more emphasis on early-stage content development. But this hasn’t diminished the market’s status as a powerful platform for sales. During a busy week of trading, deals were done across all genres, ranging from volume tapes sales to format deals. Buyers were a mix of traditional broadcasters and fast-growing streaming platforms.
In drama, the growing taste for non-English-language drama was illustrated by strong sales for Keshet International (KI), which sold titles including Stockholm, Sleeping Bears, Commandments, 7 Faces, False Flag Season 2 and When Heroes Fly. Globosat acquired rights to several Hebrew language dramas while KI also secured its first sale for Turkish drama 7 Faces to SBS in Australia. Keren Shahar, KI’s chief operating officer, said, “It’s an exciting time to be a distributor of quality foreign language drama. The market is becoming more language agnostic and really opening up to content from all countries and continent.”
Elsewhere there was a strong debut for Sky Vision legal drama The Victim, which sold to France 2 and YLE Finland, and An Ordinary Woman, a Russian drama sold by Cineflix to broadcasters including SBS Australia and TVNZ New Zealand. Bridget Ryan, acquisitions manager, scripted, SBS said: “With a captivating central performance from Anna Mikhalkova as Marina, we’re delighted that An Ordinary Woman is the first Russian drama series to be acquired for SBS On Demand”.
ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) also had a strong market in terms of drama sales, with crime series The Bay and thriller Gold Digger. ITVS GE sold The Bay to France Televisions and Seven Network among others. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video picked up Russian drama Gogol for its subscribers in the US, Canada and the UK; and All3Media International sold 60 hours including Mrs Wilson to Yes in Israel.
Viacom International Studios also had a good market, which included selling Comedy Central scripted series The Other Two to E4 in the UK. Continued interest in Nordic content saw RTL-owned streaming network TVNOW in Germany pick up Swedish thriller Heder (Honour). On the format front, French production outfit Incognita picked up two drama formats from Japanese commercial broadcaster Nippon TV. In another deal Nippon TV and Red Arrow Studios are to co-produce game show Beat The Rooms under their development partnership, which launched in 2015.
MIPTV was also used as a forum to discuss new strategic partnerships between Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) and Studiocanal on the one hand and Movistar+ and Beta Film on the other. On the former deal Studiocanal TV’s Rola Bauer said: “In order to push boundaries we need to work better together.” The latter deal will see “a substantial, annual number of productions from a variety of genres, budgets and settings” co-produced by the two and sold by Beta. Elsewhere, distributor Wild Bunch TV came on boarded Michael Hirst’s planned adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago.
A lot of the buzz in recent months has been the resurgence of interest in factual content, and this was evident throughout MIPTV. Autentic Distribution reported sales to Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, Foxtel Australia, RTL Germany’s Geo TV and France 5 among others, the latter picking up Raising Wildlife. Banijay Rights, meanwhile, celebrated the sale of Saving Lives At Sea and The Operatives to Canadian public broadcaster CBC. Banijay Rights’ Andreas Lemos said, “Both shows combine great educational take-out with fantastic entertainment and a message celebrating environmental and life-saving work.”
Other factual deals saw DCD Rights license Secret Nazi Bases to SBS Australia while Drive sold Lost Worlds: Deeper Into The Black Sea to Channel 4 UK. Elsewhere Discovery-owned TLC and Dutch broadcaster RTL Netherlands were among the channels to pick up factual content from GRB Studios. In Norway, TV2 acquired MTV’s reality docu-series Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club, for SVOD platform, TV2 Sumo. Meanwhile, Ovation acquired a series of documentaries about remarkable women from UK distributor 3DD Entertainment and US and Canadian broadcasters bought shows from Beyond Distribution, including key titles Chasing Monsters and Highway Thru Hell.
Factual also lends itself to volume deals, as evidenced by Canal+’s decision to pick up 280 episodes of factual from Prime Entertainment Group for its African services. Hungarian commercial broadcaster TV2 and South Korea’s Berry Entertainment & Media (BEM) also signed volume deals with Canadian group Gusto Worldwide Media (GWM). Viasat World in CEE and the Nordics picked up 32 hours of factual content from Kew Media-owned UK distributor TCB Media Rights.
Similarly, Blue Ant International sold 435 hours of premium content to five French broadcasters (Mediawan Thematics, Ushuaia TV, France TV, ARTE and RMC Decouverte). “France is a prestigious and lucrative market,” says Solange Attwood, executive vice-president, Blue Ant International. “The diversity and volume of sales to French platforms is a testament to the quality of our programming and our relationships with buyers.”
It was a dynamic market in terms of format sales with Talpa reporting no less than 10 pick ups in Spain and Portugal — including renewal business for The Voice franchise. Dori Media Group, meanwhile, sold reality show format Power Couple to Televisa Mexico. Eduardo Clemesha, vice-president of entertainment, Televisa, said: “Power Couple fits perfectly with the content profile that Televisa Channel 5. The international success of this format assures us of its relevance.”
Others classic franchises to do well at MIPTV included Banijay’s The Crystal Maze, which looks set for a US version, and Shipwrecked (also Banijay), which is to be adapted in Germany following its reboot on UK youth-skewing network E4. Canadian format Smartest Person is also making a comeback on Spanish public broadcaster TVE.
Among newer formats, Fremantle formed a partnership with Mediaset Spain on Game Of Talents, a show that combines the play-along aspects of a classic game show and the excitement of a talent show. Other new formats creating a big buzz at MIPTV were The Masked Singer, picked up in Mexico, and makeover format Naked Beach, licensed by Magnify Media to Germany, the Netherlands and France.
In terms of ground-breaking formats news, Endemol Shine Group (ESG) revealed details of the first format to come from its co-production deal with Chinese producer and broadcaster Hunan TV. Acting Up is a talent format where up-and-coming actors vie for roles in real Chinese drama films. The pilot is currently in pre-production with a targeted release planned for the second half of 2019.
At a market where France was celebrated as Country Of Honour, French animation houses continued their excellent sales track record, as Discovery Kids Latin America acquired pay-TV and SVOD rights for Cyber Group Studios and Brown Bag Films’ Sadie Sparks.
Among other animation stories, Australian pubcaster ABC and SVT Sweden picked up School Of Roars from ZDF Enterprises while US kids broadcaster Nickelodeon greenlit a new season of Rainbow Rangers from Genius Brands International. Leading Russian animation company Riki Group, has signed a deal with Lagardere Studios Distribution for exclusive digital distribution of two seasons of animated TV series Sonic Boom in Russia and CIS territories.
Amazon Prime Video had a busy market on the kids front, picking up a package of shows from Mondo TV for Latin America. It also acquired a large package of kids’ shows from the Jim Henson Company.
Still in kids, there has been a resurgence of interest in kids live action — an example at MIPTV being RAI Italy’s decision to pick up three seasons of DHX Media’s Dance Academy (65 episodes). The market also saw confirmation that there will be a third season of Federation Entertainment’s Find Me In Paris. Elsewhere, French-Canadian public TV broadcaster Radio Canada picked up the remake rights to Dutch European teen drama format The First Years for local adaptation.
MIPTV saw co-pro and strategic alliances across all genres. In drama, Turner Asia Pacific unveiled its first Taiwanese drama co-production, a supernatural adventure series called The Haunted Heart. In factual, US cablenet Smithsonian Channel agreed a major co-pro deal with wildlife and factual entertainment producer Earth Touch. ITV Studios Global Entertainment and producer Oxford Scientific Films, meanwhile, teamed up with Japanese public broadcaster NHK to make Wild Tokyo, a 4K natural history documentary. Finally in kids, Cyber Group Studios and kids’ content producer and digital media company YoBoHo, joined forces to co-produce and distribute original content, across digital and traditional media.