A round-up of the MIPTV 2023 international TV market in Cannes, France.

Omdia view

Summary

MIPTV celebrated its 60th anniversary at MIPTV 2023 with a large firework display on the opening night. Despite the festivities, there was an air of nervousness at the Grand Palais, given the slowdown of on-demand streaming growth and skyrocketing costs of production. Question marks also hung over the event itself, as attendance did not manage to reach pre-COVID-19 levels.

FAST continues to dominate the conversation, though some confusion remains regarding its definition

Free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) was the main talking point at MIPCOM last year, with many European delegates getting to grips with the concept for the first time. The buzz continued at MIPTV, although the conversation was slightly more focused, with attendees asking what they needed to launch their channels, and how they could maximize their channel growth and revenue.

FAST took center stage on Tuesday, with the FAST & Global summit scheduled as the main conference session. There were several key takeaways: Samsung TV Plus admitted that it is aiming for greater exclusivity of content on its FAST offering; some channel owners must pay for prominence on the EPGs of major FAST services; and Omdia revealed the top ten markets for FAST outside the US.

Figure 1: Top-ten FAST-channel markets outside the US by revenue, $m, 2019–27 Figure 1: Top-ten FAST-channel markets outside the US by revenue, $m, 2019–27 Source: Omdia

Bright and early the next morning, the FAST networking breakfast also saw over 300 delegates force themselves out of their beds to discuss the topic around 23 randomly allocated tables.

However, what was apparent throughout the market was that there is still some confusion around the exact definition of a FAST channel. Should YouTube count as FAST? And are the linear channels that appear behind a paywall on Paramount+ FAST? In Omdia’s view, a FAST channel is a preprogrammed, linear video channel with scheduled ad breaks that is delivered over the open internet through a FAST service. FAST should not be confused with AVOD, and FAST channels are always free.

The TV bubble bursts but independent productions provide solutions

StudioCanal CEO Anna Marsh dramatically declared in her keynote speech on Monday that the (drama) TV bubble “has burst,” with increased costs of production coinciding with broadcasters and streamers slashing their commissioning budgets. She complained that shows are taking much longer to get out of development and are often not greenlit at all.

Accordingly, event organizers RX laid on several conference sessions to address this concern. At Facing The End of Cheap Money, How is the Future of Financing TV Series Production? producer David Flynn suggested that instead of relying on a single global streamer to front the costs of an expensive show, series could be financed like an independent movie, where the cost is split between a local network and with equity from international sales.

At How to Make Your Production Budgets Stretch, panelists discussed how smaller productions can capitalize on tax credits in areas like the Nordics and Canary Islands. Another suggestion was to use virtual production stages, which save on costs as they facilitate the creation of photorealistic 3D worlds without having to transport the cast and crew to a given location.

The success of The Traitors reinvigorates reality formats

The Traitors is the hugely successful Dutch reality competition format that was picked up by several broadcasters, including the creative partnership of NBCUniversal and BBC in 2021. According to the UK ratings agency, 20% of television viewers tuned in to the final of the UK version, which aired on the BBC at the end of 2022.

The impact of the show was clear at MIPTV. It had its own conference session—The Traitors - A case study from the faithful... or are they?—in which the creators and buyers discussed the reasons for its success. All3Media (the distributor responsible for the format’s international sales) also managed to sign five more deals for it over the course of the event, with buyers from Greece, Hungary, Israel, Sweden, and one other country yet to be announced.

Other new formats were vying to follow suit. The Fresh TV Formats session presented consecutive showreels of dozens of new concepts to a packed auditorium. Perhaps the standout was Belgian production company Geronimo’s Destination X, which is distributed by Be-Entertainment. The series sees contestants board a blacked-out bus that takes them to random destinations across Europe with their continuation on the show decided by their ability to guess where they have ended up. Be-Entertainment drove the bus down to Cannes and took their meetings on board, setting itself up in a choice location just outside the Grand Palais, on the edge of Croisette Beach. The strategy clearly worked, as it secured several deals for the show, including one with the creative partnership of NBCUniversal and BBC.

A quieter festival, as Anglophones wait for MIPCOM

Organizers, RX, reported that attendance for the 2023 event was up 22% from the previous year, with 5,650 participants from 86 countries. However, the feeling on the ground was the opposite, with many people remarking on how quiet and intimate things felt.

Even before the pandemic, MIPTV attendance was declining. In 2019, there were 9,500 attendees and 10,000 in 2018. Recently, the US studios have preferred MIPCOM, as its slot at the end of October comes just after their first run of TV shows in the autumn, meaning that they can come to the market with ratings data to help drive sales. A few of the studios attended MIPTV: Warner Bros. Discovery occupied its usual slot on the corner of the Grand Palais and Paramount had a large booth inside, but their presence was much less conspicuous than in October. The major British broadcasters were mostly absent, as were the Australians.

Gossipers speculated that the reduced attendance might mean that the writing is on the wall for MIPTV and that it could be fully folded into its accompanying television festival, Cannes Series, from next year. The more seasoned delegates reminded us that this chatter has surrounded the market for some time, and the smaller, more relaxed atmosphere can be better for negotiations. Director of MIPCOM and MIPTV, Lucy Smith, remained bullish, putting a positive spin on the event in the press on the final day: “MIPTV is here to stay (…) We have found the right format and scale for MIPTV, and it is working.”

Appendix

Further reading

FAST Channels Status Report: Content and Key Players (January 2022)

Author

Edmund Ludlow, Senior Data Analyst, Digital Content & Channels

askananalyst@omdia.com