Planet Preschool

MIP Junior: Survivor Meets Sesame Street

I can't wait for MIP. I've had enough of summer and all the "out-of-office" messages. I'm restless. I want to get back into the thick of it, the steady volley of e-mails across the planet, the belly of the beast that is Cannes.
August 28, 2012

I can’t wait for MIP.  I’ve had enough of summer and all the “out-of-office” messages.  I’m restless.  I want to get back into the thick of it, the steady volley of e-mails across the planet, the belly of the beast that is Cannes.  If there is a God – and I suspect there is – He or She did not design me for barbecues or strawberry mojitos or for napping on a beach.  He or She designed me for pitching my preschool shows.  And, without that, I go a little nuts.

Yesterday I met with Sharon Thomas, our Head of Production, to talk materials for MIP.  How many DVDs do we burn?  PAL or NTSC?  How many bibles do we print?  Typically, Sharon arranges everything for both of us and also joins me at MIP where she covers all of Asia while I cover Europe.  In Cannes, we will often pass one another on the Croisette or outside the Grand and communicate in our own MIP shorthand:

“Potato bibles?”

“I’m good.  My battery is dying.”

“Take my charger.  Malaysia loves us.”

“Nice.  Indonesia?”

“Working on them.  Did you eat something?”

“Mini bar nuts.  How much is 10 Euros?”

“Thirteen bucks.”

“Ouch.  Why is there no Starbucks in Cannes?”

“I know right.”

“Which way do I walk?

“That way.”

Increasingly, MIP Junior has become like an annual episode of  Survivor in which we all learn who remains on the ever shrinking island that is the children’s media industry.  In the old days, when a company dropped out they were usually replaced by another.  Not so much anymore.  When a company leaves these days all that remains is their booth in a storage locker outside Cannes and some old photos of their team drinking Rosé.  Their properties, if they had any, have already been ingested by some larger company leaving our industry with fewer and fewer players which is very bad (and also very sad) news for all of us.

I had lunch last week with a friend from one of the bigger indies and he said, “I’m always happy when anyone new comes into the kids’ business, particularly if they bring money.”  In the current environment, I think that we all feel this way.  For the most part, we’ve come to see one another not so much as competitors but, rather, as necessary allies.  The smaller our island, the more interdependent we all are for survival.  No one can go it alone in this business.  We all need creative partners, financial partners, multiple broadcasters and, maybe most importantly, friends.

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