Usually at this time of year, inboxes and calendars are flooded with meeting requests as the TV industry prepares to take over the French Riviera for MIPCOM. But as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the annual market will look a little different again this year.
Kidscreen touched base with producers and broadcasters to see who’s planning to go to the event in person. The majority of our inquiries were declined or went unanswered, but here’s a sampling of the responses we did get that outlines how people are approaching MIPCOM 2021.
Frank Dietz, head of acquisitions and co-productions and deputy program director, Super RTL (Germany): We are planning on participating at MIPCOM, but we will closely monitor the COVID situation. A better control of the pandemic and a solid list of confirmed participating companies at events will affect our decision to travel for work again.
Massimo Bruno, head of TV channels, De Agostini Editore/CEO, KidsMe (Italy): We are actually planning to attend this year. We think it’s important to go back to “normality,” especially now that the rules to travel around Europe are more flexible.
Jo Daris, CCO and producer, Toon2Tango (Germany): Yes, we are planning to go to MIPCOM because there is a desperate need to see and meet people from the industry. We have been working with our network over the past two years, but no new contacts were made.
Colin Williams, creative director, Sixteen South Studios (Ireland): We’re planning to be there, and we cannot wait to see everyone again. Our industry is built on relationships, and while it has been great to keep in touch both socially and professionally over Zoom, it’s really no substitute for actual face time.
Pierre Sissmann, president and CEO, Cyber Group Studios (France): We will be going this year with a limited crew, due to the fact that many of our international clients will not be going—especially those from [outside of] Europe.
Corinne Kouper, SVP of development and production & co-founder, TeamTO (France): It is easier for us to travel to events in Europe because we are in France, so we will be attending. Hopefully the silver lining is that we will have more leisurely and extended meetings, with deeper discussions in a calmer market.
Alison Warner, managing director, Blue Zoo Rights (UK): I’ve decided not to attend this year because I’m not sure how many will travel to Cannes, [and] do think that it’s still early days with the pandemic not yet under control. I miss face-to-face meetings, and while virtual meetings can be very efficient, it’s just not the same.
Sean Gorman, president, Cloudco Entertainment (US): Cloudco won’t be attending MIPCOM this year. With the Delta variant on the rise, we don’t believe it’s safe yet or practical for us to travel, particularly on an intercontinental basis. However, our goal is to return to work events as soon as possible with the threshold being that we feel good about the health of colleagues in relation to the standing COVID-19 risks. It’s difficult to justify the expense and time without a broad return by broadcasters and significant co-production partners.
Lindsey Adams, founder, Daily Madness Productions (Ireland): MIPCOM was never really on the Daily Madness conference roster, so it’s not a high priority for us. For the most part, my business plan for the next five years won’t rely as heavily on conferences anymore. We are very much looking to build our relationships outside of events and keep a strong digital approach to our business development overall.
Lucy Murphy, director of kids content for UK and Ireland, Sky (London): I’m not [going] in person, but we will register online. We don’t yet have corporate clearance for overseas events and [we won't be travelling] before 2022.
Devdatta Potnis, SVP of revenue and corporate strategy, Cosmos-Maya (India): We shall be attending the event virtually from home. We might not resume travelling for work and networking before 2022. The situation in India is improving, but gradually. We are exercising absolute caution and putting off any travel plans into the future.
Pam Westman, president, Nelvana (Canada): Nelvana is not currently planning on attending MIPCOM in person because of ongoing health and safety concerns around traveling due to COVID-19, [but] we are preparing for a virtual event. It’s our hope that we’ll begin travelling internationally again in 2022.