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MIPTV/ MILIA: Business & convergence are Back

Signs of recovery in the television and interactive content industries, noted at MIPCOM 2003, were confirmed at MIPTV/MILIA 2004, which took place March 29 - April 2 in Cannes.

Strong overall attendance figures and a significant rise in the number of programme buyers at the markets underlined the renewed feeling of confidence and heralded an upswing in deal-making.

Final figures for MIPTV/MILIA showed the number of participants had hit 11,110, compared to 10,186 at MIPCOM last October. 3,891 companies were represented in Cannes, up from 2,741 at MIPCOM. At 2,882, the number of programme buyers at MIPTV rose by 23.96% compared to MIPTV 2003.

2004 saw MIPTV and MILIA brought together for the first time in the same place and on the same dates – a reflection of the increasing convergence between traditional television broadcasters/producers and mobile telephony specialists, interactive content providers and broadband distributors. A packed MILIA Hall, MILIA Conferences and the success of the ‘New TV Briefings’ programme – dedicated to interactive formats – underlined the strong demand for on-going discussions between the television and interactive sectors.

In a sign of the times, the opening keynote speech of MIPTV/MILIA was given by Jana Bennett, Director of Television, BBC and focussed on the future of interactive television. Other keynotes included Patrick Kennedy, Executive VP, Sony Pictures Digital Networks; Lucy Hood, Senior VP of Content & Marketing News Corp. and Joichi Ito, Founder & CEO, Neoteny.

MIPDOC, the two-day documentary screenings which precede MIPTV/MILIA, was particularly active. 366 companies were represented at the screenings, compared to 253 this time last year. Of the 1,031 programmes available for screening, 580 were making their first appearance at MIPDOC. The number of international buyers jumped to 350 from 217 companies – a marked increase on last year’s 296 acquisition executives from 173 companies. The number of programmes screened rose to 8,857 from 7,420 this time last year, reflecting renewed interest in factual programming.

March 31 was designated China Day at MIPTV, as the spotlight focussed on the largest ever Chinese television delegation (over 250 executives) to attend an international market. Co-hosted by China’s SARFT (State Administration for Radio, Film & Television) and in the presence of SARFT Vice Minister Hu Zhanfan, China Day included two heavyweight conferences. ‘Window on the Chinese Market’ gave leading Chinese television executives the chance to provide conference attendees with an overview of recent market developments in China. ‘Programming, Co-Production and Producers in China’ allowed international television experts to share their experiences of doing business with the Chinese.

MIPTV/MILIA 2004 saw Robert Halmi Sr., Chairman of Hallmark Entertainment and internationally-respected producer, receive the rare French cultural medal, ‘Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres.’ To mark his contribution to family entertainment, Robert Halmi Sr. was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Reed MIDEM Chief Executive Officer Paul Zilk, and Cannes Mayor and member of the French National Assembly, Bernard Brochand, honoured Mr. Halmi with a “Palme d’Or” (Golden Palm) trophy.

An ambitious conference programme in 2004 paid special attention to the relationship between the television industry and the advertising world. As television producers seek new sources of financing and advertisers try to maximise the efficiency of their investment, key debates on such subjects as the future of product placement within European programming, drew full houses.

The upcoming MIPCOM 2004 (Cannes, October 4-8) will pay tribute to France, with the first France Day. Market attendees will also be able to catch up on the latest in high definition programming thanks to the four-day HDTV Screenings, organised in partnership with Outside Broadcast of Belgium. MIPCOM JUNIOR will run from October 2-3.

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