CANNES, France, Oct. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Jeffrey Katzenberg has seen the future of entertainment. And he's smiling.
The driving force behind boxoffice hits that include the 'Star Trek' franchise, 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'The Lion King,' 'Shrek' and 'Madagascar,' is fast-tracking DreamWorks Animation into television and online, signing first-run deals with digital powerhouse Netflix, providing thousands of hours of original and library TV content to Super RTL, producing shows for the Chinese market and acquiring one of the most subscribed-to teen networks on YouTube, AwesomenessTV.
In the new golden age of television, the DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Officer and MIPCOM 2013 Personality of the Year, epitomizes a growing dynamic in the entertainment world that was clear to be seen during MIPCOM this week, where some 13,500 delegates, from over 100 countries gathered to do business. International acquisition executives numbered 4,623, of which over 1,000 were digital buyers.
Put simply, more and more companies, executives and talent, traditionally associated with cinema, are getting involved in television. Digital heavyweights that include Netflix and Amazon, are stimulating the content creation community and an increasing number of international partnerships are being forged, as global broadcasters' appetites grow for accessing high-end series at their outset, rather than as part of an output agreement for completed work.
Word on the MIPCOM show floor was that the market is seeing an extraordinary quantity of quality content from around the world, with international partnerships such as Sky Atlantic HD, Canal+, Shine International, Kudos and Shine France Films' 'The Tunnel' being a case in point.
Speaking to a packed Grand Auditorium keynote audience October 9, Jeffrey Katzenberg was in an upbeat mood. "I don't think there's ever been a time filled with so much new and unique opportunity for the world of television." He argued that despite fears in the past that high-quality online video broadcasting and instant access would be detrimental to traditional television, "by almost every single measure, traditional television viewing has not only remained robust, but has continued to expand."
The DreamWorks Animation CEO insisted that mobile and digital will prove to be an asset rather than a threat to traditional television and there was plenty of online activity during MIPCOM.
Among a plethora of announcements, FremantleMedia unveiled a major multi-year digital agreement with Chinese-based portal YouKu for FremantleMedia to provide hundreds of hours of content per year to YouKu's VOD channels. Shows that are initially slated to be involved include 'The X Factor USA,' 'America's Got Talent' and 'American Idol.'
FremantleMedia CEO, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, is expanding the company internationally and in the digital market. She advised MIPCOM delegates not to delay in entering the digital space. "You want to make a play and you want to make a play quickly." One of Frot-Coutaz's first moves at the head of FremantleMedia has been to create a digital and branded entertainment division.
Disney Media Distribution reported during MIPCOM that 'Agents of SHIELD' will appear on several Chinese online platforms offering VOD services, including Tudou, 24 hours after the US airing and Amazon's LoveFilm VOD platform signed an agreement with German rights giant Tele Munchen Group giving LoveFilm Germany SVOD rights to such titles as 'Iron Man 3,' 'Magic Mike' and 'Midnight in Paris.'
French heavyweight broadcasters TF1 and pay-tv Canal+, became the latest groups to team up with Facebook in an agreement that will see the internet giant providing analysis tools to help the duo understand the online comments about their shows and better determine advertising targets. "When social media intersected with television a few years ago, it was considered a really big deal," noted Dan Rose, Facebook's VP of Partnerships during his MIPCOM keynote speech. "Now the intersection is taken as a given."
And it seems that web players have stimulated the creative juices of anyone with film and television aspirations. At his MIPCOM Media Mastermind keynote, Amazon Studios Director, Roy Price, told how Amazon's call for people to propose film scripts and television series pilots saw some 14,000 scripts and over 4,000 pilots sent in. Amazon has since reduced the number to 24 films and 30 TV series which are heading for development.
In a new development, MIPCOM organizer Reed MIDEM, this week announced that at MIPTV in April 2014, it will launch the first MIP Digital Fronts, the international screenings for original online video. "MIPTV and MIPCOM were built on the buying and selling of television programming. MIP Digital Fronts will be the first international marketplace where high-quality, original content for online web channels and app-based/OTT streaming video platforms will be traded," noted Reed MIDEM's Television Division Director, Laurine Garaude.
This year's MIPCOM confirmed that the film community is increasingly investing in television.
Alongside DreamWorks Animations development in TV, The Weinstein Company, returning to MIPCOM for the second time, announced during the event that it is now a production partner on the BBC's event series 'War and Peace.' And the exhibition halls welcomed first-time U.S. film distributors Music Box Films and Cohen Media Group.
Relativity Media's Founder and CEO, Ryan Kavanaugh, who has financed over 200 theatrical films, was in Cannes to promote two new TV series, 'Limitless' and 'Act of Valor,' both based on Relativity theatrical films. And Kavanaugh told his keynote audience that the newly-launched film sales division, Relativity Foreign, will handle the company's growing slate of television series. Kavanaugh said that audience data, garnered from theatrical releases, would prove invaluable to developing TV series as Relativity harnessed input from passionate online communities.
Throughout MIPCOM, media and delegates alike commented on the unprecedented array of talent in Cannes to support shows – a clear indication of the convergence of film and television and the increasing role international is playing in financing television series.
"The number of great stars attending MIPCOM reflects a commitment from sales companies to the acquisition community. It sends a very strong message about a show. It says 'we're serious about this series and we've lined up international talent to prove it,'" noted Reed MIDEM's Television Division Director Laurine Garaude.
Among the high-profile names, Andie MacDowell set the MIPCOM red carpet alight alongside co-star Dylan Neal, as she promoted Hallmark Channel's 'Cedar Cove,' being sold by Beta Film. Sky Atlantic HD, Canal + and Shine International brought over the cast of MIPCOM's World Premiere TV Screening series 'The Tunnel,' including Clemence Poesy and Stephane Dillane and CBS Global Distribution Group made a splash with Dean Norris and Rachelle Lefevre, co-stars of sci-fi hit 'Under the Dome.'
Starz Worldwide flew in the cast of pirate epic 'Black Sails,' led by Toby Stephens and Hannah New. Starz treated delegates to a premiere screening of the show during MIPCOM and immediately closed deals in Germany, France, Canada, Israel and Latin America.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell hosted a private screening of 'The Face,' which she executive produces and the British contingent was out in force during MIPCOM, with 'Midsomer Murders' lead Neil Dudgeon defying damp conditions on the red carpet and ITV Studios jetting in Jack Davenport and Zoe Boyle as part of their 'Breathless' promotion.
British actresses Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells represented their co-creation series 'Doll & Em.' Emily Mortimer, who is producing the show for Sky Vision, joined women executives from around the world at the Women in Global Entertainment Power Lunch where wide-ranging discussions included the creative opportunities offered by limited series.
MIPCOM's international credentials were evident throughout the week with new exhibition pavilions from China, Russia, India, Nigeria and South Africa. Country of Honour, Argentina, sent a record 98 exhibiting companies and a delegation of 283 executives who reported a host of deals.
New distribution company Federal Distribucion was unveiled during MIPCOM. The new company closed deals with Olympusat for 50 hours of programming destined for the US Hispanic market and with Canadian Hispanic network Nuevo Mundo TV. Animation specialist Astrolab Motion inked a first co-production agreement with South Korea for 'Mind-Blowing Breakthrough,' destined for Korea's EBS network and Mulata Films completed an international film co-production pact with Brazilian and French partners on feature 'Esteros 1998.'
"Latin America is currently the world's fourth largest TV market and there is a real push towards international export within the Spanish-speaking world and beyond," reported Laurine Garaude. "The LATAM Global Dealmakers Lunch brought together over 150 of the top executives from Latin America and highlighted the extraordinary developments in the region's entertainment industry, particularly in Argentina."
Malaysia's Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, heading a national delegation of over 60 Malaysian companies, reported first day sales totaling US$50 million. The Malaysian government has been active in its support for growing the country's entertainment industry both domestically and on the international scene.
International deals with China were prevalent in Cannes. Alongside FremantleMedia's content agreements with Chinese internet platforms, Canada's Nelvana Enterprises licensed animated kids series 'Franklin and Friends' to public broadcaster CCTV Kids Channel. Shine International sold crime series 'Broadchurch' to Chinese portal YouKu, bringing the number of territories that have acquired the show to over 100.
"Increasing links between film and television and the new opportunities provided by the online platforms and channels and the great names who have been in Cannes this week have made for a memorable MIPCOM," concluded Laurine Garaude.
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About MIPCOM – MIPCOM is the year's most anticipated global market for entertainment content across all platforms. Each Autumn, the industry's international heavy hitters – from TV and film – converge in Cannes to create a new world of entertainment. MIPCOM turns every moment into an opportunity, transforming four days of meetings, screenings and conferences into deals – from blockbuster programming to ground-breaking partnerships. And the children's entertainment industry gets an early start at MIPJunior, where key international buyers, sellers and producers gather to present, discover and screen content at the world's showcase for kids programming.
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SOURCE Reed MIDEM