CANNES – THURSDAY, APRIL 15 – 11:00 PM
MIPTV 2010 will no doubt go down in history as the one in which Icelandic volcanic ash marooned all of the EU’s kids’ TV business at the bar at The Grand with nothing to do but drink Rose and eat peanuts. Apparently the only UK citizen to fly through the ash and make it back to London on time was Michael Carrington, leading many to conclude that his influence extends even higher up than had originally been thought. And rumor has it that our friends at RDF Media, lacking their own connection to the divine, were forced to charter an airplane to carry all 26 staffers back to London. (Apparently they just couldn’t bear another night on the yacht). Others, like Jules Grant of C21 who had a wedding to attend, struggled to take trains, cars and ferries to get themselves back home. Jules posted, “DISASTER :(” on her Facebook page which pretty much summed up the ordeal.
As for Little Airplane, Sharon and I will be taking a rowboat to New York with a few stops in Turks & Caicos to try to sell them “Small Potatoes.” (Assuming, of course that they have televisions.) And, yes, Sharon will be rowing.
This was undoubtedly a more upbeat MIP TV than last year and, according to Reed MIDEM who runs the show, the number of buyers was up 5% from last year to a total of 4,000. Those who attended from the kids’ space seemed prepared to do business so, from Little Airplane’s perspective, this MIP was well worth the trip. There were fewer meetings but they were longer meetings and therefore far more productive.
But I know I’m not alone in believing that MIPTV may be withering on the vine as a kids’ TV market. The consensus is that KidScreen Summit in February is stealing much of MIPTV’s thunder and that attending both has become a bit redundant. It does feel like we all just saw one another in New York a few weeks ago and, well, we kind of did. In fact, I feel like I see this guy more than my own staff.
I think it’s very likely that the two really important global kids’ markets will soon be KidScreen Summit in New York and MIP Jr. in Cannes. And that’s okay by me. As much as I like walking along the Croisette at sunset, these trips are expensive and exhausting and I do miss my couch.
Among the more positive announcements that came out of MIP between volcano eruptions was the news that Nickelodeon has done some restructuring and will now be grouping its international channels into “clusters.” There will be one point person for each cluster and the group will meet each week to review submissions collectively and determine which ones are best suited for Nickelodeon’s channels globally.
In this way, producers will get a speedy reaction to their pitches and whatever communication issues might have existed between the various Nick channels will disappear like the chocolate in my chocolate croissant. So, in short, if you or I hope to get a show on Nickelodeon this year we will first need to pass muster with the cluster.
The best-dressed attendee of MIPTV 2010 was my adopted brother Keith Chapman who proved once again that fashion and preschool TV need not be mutually exclusive. I am thrilled to report that Keith is making what appears to be a very successful foray into the 5+ market. It goes without saying that nothing would make me happier than to have Keith migrate out of the preschool TV market altogether, thus clearing the way for Little Airplane’s global domination of the genre. Good luck, Keith, and I hear there are some excellent opportunities in the tween market as well!
My favorite line from MIP this week came from my friend Jan Erik Wieselberg who heads up acquisitions for SVT Sweden. When I asked Jan what it’s like for him to be a buyer at the market, he said: “It’s like picking mushrooms. Some are good, some are okay, some are dangerous.”
This got me thinking about how to describe being a seller at the market and here is what I came up with: “It’s like being a mushroom. Some people want to sniff, some people want to pluck, some people want to eat you for lunch.”
NEW YORK – FRIDAY, APRIL 16 – 6:00 PM
I finally made it home today to Mary and my red couch. We got a coffee and took our daily walk by the Hudson River. I told her all about the “Jersey Shore” guys in front of the Palais (we both love that show) and about my attempts to order a cheeseburger off the children’s menu in French. I gave her a hug and kiss and I was glad to be back home.
Thanks to everyone who made time in Cannes for a drink, a meeting, a meal, a handshake or a smile.