Milia ’96 sees the new media market entering its third year and growing at an astonishing rate. With 500 exhibiting companies from 30 countries attending the market this year, organizers Reed Midem claim they, have achieved an event the size of last years 29th Midem market. Certainly Milia is the ‘leading event as far as multimedia publishing is concerned,’ they say. Not bad for an industry still in its infancy.
Reed Midem’s chief executive, Xavier Roy, developed the idea of a multimedia market from a three-year study of multimedia professionals across the publishing, television, computing and music industries. The aim of the event is to concentrate on multimedia content, hence the spin-off New Talent Pavilion which exhibits work from students in 15 countries, some of the best of whom leave Cannes with a contract from publishers Reed Interactive. The idea is ‘to reveal new talent and create a link between key market players and these new artists,’ says Roy. ‘Milia really plays the role of market catalyst and accelerator.’
Where the youth of the industry d’es tell is in the differentiation between genres present. Where an event the size of Mipcom is able to divide into sub-sections (witness Mipcom Junior), Milia is, says Reed’s Caroline Dattner, ‘too young a market to specialize. There are a few companies dedicated to entertainment and educational titles, but most have a variety.’ The company profile differs too from more traditional television markets. ‘Multimedia publishers don’t represent themselves in genres, it’s all too new,’ she adds.
The 900 participants this year will break down into 17 percent multimedia publishers, 13 percent multimedia producers, 18 percent book publishers, and 19 percent developers, says Daniel Segone who deals with the attendance figures. Many attendees last year felt that Milia’s definition of multimedia began and ended with CD-ROM, with more than 90 percent of companies demonstrating products or looking for deals in that area.
This year, as the industry has clarified, so has the market, and efforts have been made to examine the Internet and the World Wide Web in more detail. Indeed, Milia has set up its own Web site (http://www.club-media.fr/CP/ClubMedia). Sessions planned include ‘Producing for Interactive Television,’ ‘Strategies for Online Publishing’ and the ambitiously-titled ‘Cultural Collisions in the Digital World.’
Christopher Hales, who exhibited as a student in the New Talent Pavilion last year, says Milia was ‘the best conference I’ve ever been to. . . . The caliber of people they had there was unbelievable. I got so many contacts in L.A., San Francisco, Barcelona, Japan.’ Kathrin Burckhardt, of On Tap Productions, whose animated learn-to-read CD-ROM The Farmyard, which was snapped up by Reed, was on the whole impressed by the work on show. ‘Although, when we exhibited there, publishers approached us with, ‘we’ve got this book, would you be interested in developing a CD-ROM title?’ Which we were trying to stay away from doing.’ She feels that is endemic to the industry.
‘The media industry is merged anyway, but they just want to put all their assets books, film, programs straight onto CD-ROM.’ The deals that came out of last year’s Milia certainly tended to reinforce the ‘if it moves, shove it on to a CD-ROM approach.’