MIPCOM 2012: Canadians Ramping Up Presence at TV Market Amid Dwindling Government Subsidies

2012-29 REV Copper H

Weston-Jones is a detective in 1864 New York's notorious Five Points district.

Canucks will be represented by such shows as Lionsgate’s "Nashville," Entertainment One’s "The Walking Dead" and Cineflix’s "Copper."

MIPCOM will be a must-attend launch-pad for the Canadians -- and not just because? of the global TV bazaar’s Focus on Canada during the four-day confab (Oct. 8-11) on the French Riviera.

Billboards soon to be erected along the Cannes Croisette for Lionsgate’s Nashville, Entertainment One’s Saving Hope and Cineflix’s Copper only underline how dwindling government subsidies at home have spurred Canadians to go out into the world to drum up business as never before.

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The high-end dramas and miniseries from the Great White North vying for the attention of?foreign buyers next week will mostly be international co-productions, often with? Hollywood stars and U.S. and U.K. partners, that help secure additional? financing and foreign markets for a particular show.

“We¹re becoming more global and opening our minds to different concepts and?different ways to finance and sell our shows,” Prentiss Fraser, senior vp worldwide sales and acquisitions at Entertainment One, said as the ?producer gets ready to showcase Primeval: New World, Saving Hope and The? Walking Dead series in Cannes.

New Canadian business models to help American and European partners? achieve budgets include U.S. networks paying modest license fees for? Canadian-made dramas.

The Canuck producers then trade that U.S. network participation in ?American-style series for higher license fees from foreign buyers --­ often ?after the shows bowed in the States with promising initial ratings.

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The U.S. networks see little downside if the Canadian shows fail.

And if Canadian-made series like Flashpoint and Rookie Blue connect with ?audiences, the American and other foreign broadcasters have a primetime hit? on their hands. 

While in Cannes for the trade show, Canadians will be carving out roles as intermediaries? between the Americans and the Europeans and throwing tax credits and other? soft money back home into the bargain.

“What they see is a country that really has a worldwide sensibility in?terms of producing content, and then they see a country that has a ?tremendous infrastructure in supporting growth, and all is supported by? government tax credits and subsidies,” Vince Commisso, president and CEO of?animation producer 9 Story Entertainment, said of his industry's ?increasing appeal globally.