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MIPTV, the annual international television market that is about to roll out its 55th edition in Cannes, is at a crossroads. Or maybe even a dead end.
Originally set up as a market for U.S. networks and independent producers to pitch their shows to international buyers, MIP is struggling to find a new raison d'etre amid seismic disruptions in the global TV industry. "MIPTV is primarily an acquisitions market, and it's having trouble negotiating the shift in the TV industry toward production," notes one European executive who will not be heading to the Croisette this year.
Major international networks that used to stock their schedules with imported shows — mainly from the U.S. — have shifted budgets to in-house production, focusing on creating primetime events that will make them stand out. "U.S. series play no role anymore on the primetime schedules of the big networks in Europe," says Jan Mojto of German production/distribution group Beta Film. "Channels need shows that will brand them in the marketplace, and that's impossible to do with American series."
Many — perhaps most — of those production deals are done outside MIPTV, giving international executives less incentive to make the costly trip to Cannes.
The hope of discovering the next Game of Thrones or Walking Dead will ensure that some buyers keep coming, but for how much longer? For those who make the trip to MIP this year, THR picks the best new dramas on the market, from Asian horror to a reboot of The Twilight Zone to Oscar winner Emma Thompson's triumphant return to television.
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