Agenda grows at MIPCOM ’99

Montreal: As many as 150 Canadian companies are making the trek to mipcom, representing a 50% increase in the number of players in the past three years....

Montreal: As many as 150 Canadian companies are making the trek to mipcom, representing a 50% increase in the number of players in the past three years.

This year’s International Film and Programme Market for TV, Video, Cable and Satellite runs Oct. 4-8 in Cannes, France, with the conference program focusing on convergence and new media, and the growing program format market.

The new media agenda looks at cross-media branding, revenue potential for interactive tv, advertising and e-commerce, and redefining the tv experience, including creating new networks on the Internet.

The seventh edition of MIPCOM Junior runs Oct. 2-3, with attendance expected to surpass last year’s 650. mipcom itself attracts 10,500 industry professionals.

A popular feature at mipcom is the Bourses aux Co-Productions – Market Simulation, which again will be hosted by Banff Television Festival president and ceo Pat Ferns. Sponsors include trade mags Ecran Total, tbi and Canada’s RealScreen and KidScreen. This year, four projects are being pitched in four categories: children’s, documentary, fiction and educational.

With the growth of the Canadian contingent, Lise Corriveau, Telefilm Canada’s international markets officer, says Telefilm’s stand at mipcom has expanded to more than 202 square meters. The stand hosts 15 exporter and production companies, including several new ones – Blackwatch Releasing, Montreal; Distribution Netima, Loretteville, Que.; Octapixx Worldwide, Toronto; and Scintilla Entertainment, Vancouver.

Horizon Quebec and the Ontario Film Development Corporation also operate umbrella stands at the fall program market.

Kathy Avrich Johnson, ofdc director, skills development and marketing initiatives, says six companies will operate out of a redesigned ofdc stand: Buzz Media, new entry Exploration Productions, tvontario and long-established sellers Wm. F. Cooke, Rhombus Media and Ellis Releasing. Kelley Alexander is coordinator at mipcom.

‘We’ll be there to market Ontario to the rest of the world,’ says Johnson. ‘Secondly, I’ll be doing some preliminary work on an exchange with France for 2000 in computer animation, effects and new media.’

She says the cost of ‘just showing up [at mipcom] is easily $50,000 to $100,000.’

Horizon Quebec sales

Horizon Quebec executive director Jean Bouchard says, ‘People in general are saying there’s so much evolution in the market that it’s become difficult following everything.’ He cites the extraordinary multiplication of channels and the consolidation of large international media groups.

Horizon Quebec member companies sold $7.8-million worth of programs last year, 40% documentaries, but also animation and youth programs. Most of the sales were to Western Europe and North America, including the English-language market in Canada.

Horizon Quebec chair Michel Rodrique of Distraction Format will be a panelist for one of the program format sessions. The group is composed of 45 companies, including program exporters, producers, Chaines Tele-Astral and service providers.

Licensing branded


ChumCity International will pitch its format licensing and fully branded channel franchises. ChumCity vp Stephen Tapp is targeting both licensees of new local channels and existing stations looking to reposition.

‘This mip represents a much more advanced level of business development for ChumCity,’ says Tapp. ‘All our pitching and searching for partners around the world, all the development, is starting to come together.’

More particularly, ChumCity is aiming to bring the MuchMusic format into South America. Earlier this year ChumCity inked a deal with the Cisneros TV Group (an investor in Galaxy Latin America) and the partners are now looking to start up MuchMusic franchises in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries.

ChumCity will also be seeking out cable operators and station owners in South East Asia, with a pilot project with Singapore in the works.

Canamedia Productions president Les Harris says library sales for lifestyle and outdoor programming keep growing, particularly in the u.s., France, Spain, Italy and Asian countries, and will be a big part of business this mipcom.

‘Eastern European markets are opening up,’ says Harris. ‘From Hungary to Poland, the proliferation of cable and satellite channels in the last few years is finally paying off for distributors that have the programming to satisfy the thousands of hours needed.’

Presales will be a big push for Canamedia this market, with veteran Harris looking to close negotiations with German, French, u.s. and Latin American broadcasters on the $6.5-million coproduced kids series The Way Things Work.

Bill Wyman’s Blues Odyssey, a two-part, two-hour history of the blues, has been presold to History Television and will be launched internationally at the market.

Upstart distributor Critical Mass Releasing of Toronto, helmed by former Alliance head of tv sales William Alexander, will launch its international sales catalogue at mipcom.

Projects looking for business include Summer Love, a behind-the-scenes look at the rave scene, created by Simon Collins and Joely Collins and licensed to MuchMusic; and Sing Out Freedom Train, a one-hour musical drama starring Deborah Cox.

Another catalogue highlight is Witness to Yesterday, 12 half-hours based on the original program created in the 1970s in which stars portray their favorite historical personality in a 20th century debate with host Patrick Watson. The revamped show, produced by Toronto’s The Film Works and Critical Mass, will be looking for partners and presales for further cycles.

The big hitters among Canadian players with individual stands at mipcom include Sullivan Entertainment, Cine-Groupe, Salter Street Films, ChumCity, Alliance Atlantis Communications, Cinar Corp., Nelvana, Catalyst Entertainment, Motion International, Telescene Film Group, Decode Entertainment and cbc/Radio-Canada.