Indies, ad firms hip to MIP


MIPTV might be taking off officially today, but premarket positioning during the weekend was dominated by scores of ambitious companies from around the world who set dinners and announcements to position themselves against the usual barrage of news from U.S. and European majors.

On Sunday, the Croissette sported a long red carpet that pointed the way via embedded arrows to registration for the thousands of attendees who found themselves working through layers of tight security on their way to pick up their badges.

Classic French songs, including Edith Piaf's "Je ne regrette rien," were broadcast across the Croissette under a stifling Mediterranean sun that scorched the bustling hoards.

The big picture at MIPTV is, as always, the U.S.-led majors and the dominating European entities, but the bow over the preceding weekend in terms of hustling was taken by companies like Chaio Film, out of Thailand, which boasted a deal to sell the cartoon character Ultraman to the world market. Telewizja Polska also is at MIP with a large range of programming, including the wartime drama "The Secret of the Cipher."

Out of Germany, Schwartz & Co. and Kotch Entertainment announced a deal to distribute worldwide the documentary "Operation Valkyrie: The Plot to Kill Hitler."

The Alchemy Television Group also was front and center in premarket activity, announcing a number of high-profile miniseries to be unveiled today at the market, including a biopic of Coco Chanel starring Shirley MacLaine.

Veteran MIP attendees said Sunday that the market is changing noticeably from just a few years ago, when the Hollywood majors dominated MIPTV and sister market MIPCOM. Now, they say, smaller indies are finding a foothold amid a rapidly evolving TV environment.

Given that hundreds of advertising executives are attending, many for the first time, market attendees say the opportunities for advertising-related productions now play a major part in their budgeting in terms of MIP.

While the traditional arena of TV product sales continues to be the dominant feature, the presence of major advertisers, mobile content providers and producers, Internet and new-media executives will be notable at this year's market, a MIP spokesman.