you're not familar with it, MIPTV is a huge international event
in Cannes, France. According to Reed MIDEMs TV Division
Director René Pérès it's "...where
international players from the TV industry make an appointment
with the TV world. Offering five days of non-stop business,
it is the place to do or prepare the maximum amount of decisive
deals in a few days. For those involved in TV broadcasting,
programme production & distribution for TV, video &
the Internet, advertising, licensing & merchandising, consultancy,
service companies, and new media
its the market where
programming policies are implemented and trends are spotted.
Opened in 1963, MIPTV has firmly established itself in the TV
executives calendar and has become a must-attend event.
Buying and selling, promoting, networking, learning, discovering
form part of the MIPTV working week. The Palais des Festivals
in Cannes provides the perfect backdrop for this flourish of
activity. And this year, well be celebrating forty years
of the MIPTV market, with a range of special events." Our
Mat Tombers hopped a plane to France for the event and has filed
several reports starting with one before actually heading to
A MIP EXPERIENCE
By Mat Tombers
Reporting from Cannes, France EXCLUSIVELY for HalEisner.com
The First Day of War, On the Way to MIP
While I write this, CNN is on in the background, as either
it or the BBC have been for much of the day. I have worked
from home today as I am preparing to leave for MIP on Saturday.
First of all, I assume, wrongly, that everyone in the world
knows what MIP and MIPCOM are.
There are three great television conventions. One of them
is NATPE, which is held here in the U.S., a gathering of all
who sell television programs and all of those who buy television
programs. For years, it was very domestically oriented and
then, about a decade ago, it began to attract buyers from
abroad. Cable networks began to use it to meet their suppliers
and the tone of the gathering changed from a gathering of
independent televisions stations to a full fledged television
market, attracting global buyers and sellers. It was also
held generally in either New Orleans or Las Vegas, which gave
everyone ample opportunity to indulge in the Seven Deadly
MIP and MIPCOM are the other two great markets. If you are
a serious buyer or a serious seller of television product,
you are at these two conferences, held at the Palais des Festival
in Cannes, France and buy and sell. MIP happens in the spring;
MIPCOM in the fall. The Cannes Film Festival gets the best
weather - other media are relegated to shoulder weather season.
It sounds glamorous but it's all business.
If you were at NATPE this year, you are painfully aware that
the markets are changing because television is changing. NATPE
was a diminished market, tiny in comparison to halcyon days
of only two years ago. Media consolidation and depressed markets
have taken their toll.
Rumor has it that the MIP market is beginning to show the
signs of change, also. It's that pesky media consolidation
and depressed markets having their way.
There is no doubt this year will be very different. How could
it not be? As I write this, the cavalry is charging into Iraq,
bombs are falling there though we haven't yet seen the campaign
of awe and confusion
yet. Thank god.
People are dropping out of MIP now that the bombs are really
falling. But I will still go. I will be covering it for haleisner.com,
giving the best insights into the market I can while the Iraq
war plays itself around us, shaping the world of tomorrow
as we go through today.
Friends even think I'll be safer there than in New York.
After all, the French have been the most vocal with their
disapproval of what we're doing. I'm flying a German airline
- they've been number two in disagreement with the U.S. [Though
I wonder how the French are feeling about the traces of ricin
found in Paris?]
But I've never traveled during a time of war. Like this.
It's a quiet war so far and being conducted, if any war can
be conducted so, with some restraint. May it stay that way.
New York is on high alert. Both the Governor and the Mayor
have spoken about the steps being taken to stop terrorism,
though they can't say much for obvious reasons.
I get on the subway at Wall Street, which is more heavily
guarded than at any time since 9/11. Barricades were being
put in place outside the U.S. Court of International Trade
to prevent a vehicle from having a run straight from the street
into the building.
A quiet, resigned fear is upon all of us. The die has been
cast. One Rubicon was crossed on 9/11; another was crossed
when we fired into Baghdad. There is no going back. We will
all now live in the world that we have created, from both
sides. The action has its reaction and so on and so on
How television responds to all the action and reaction will,
in part, be shaped by the conversations that happen at MIP
and the take on the industry and the world these professionals
will be having over the next week. That will shape their actions
So, this is how it is, tonight. I flew all night from JFK
to Munich, and I was prepared for anything. A friend of American
Public Television announced her decision to pull the plug
on their group coming to Cannes because of stories of long
and bitter delays.
I experienced one of the easiest check-ins I have for a long
time. I got to JFK long before it was time for my flight and
my check-in went very smoothly, much more smoothly any other
flight Ive had for a long time. But then, the airport
was distinctly less populated than it has been.
Mileage put me into Business Class, which was only half full.
There were only three or four people in First Class and Economy
was a little less than 2/3 full. But it all went smoothly.
We took off from JFK on time and we landed in Munich early.
The only odd thing was the armored vehicles parked on the
tarmac at Munich. The transfer to Nice was easy; I did Passport
Control in Munich and it was easier than almost any Ive
been through for a long time.
I took a taxi in from Nice Airport and I was ripped off, but
only mildly, by a taxi driver who spoke English and was very
pleasant. So I wasnt all that upset about being ripped
off. When I left, I wasnt so worried about Al Qaeda
but I was bit concerned about the French.
Were NOT on good terms with them and I know how difficult
the French can be, because Ive been in France a number
of times and witnessed both their best and their worst. This
has been okay. And I didnt think it was going to be
I know this isnt a normal MIP. I was able to get, at
the last minute, a hotel room within walking distance of the
Palais. And that isnt what should be, though, selfishly
At 7:00 I went to the Terrace Bar at the Majestic to meet
someone from NRD but we never connected. May be I wasnt
obvious enough about looking for someone; may be he didnt
see me being obvious enough about looking for him but the
Terrace Bar on the Sunday night before MIP should be completely
impossible. It was crowded but not impossible.
The feel is a little bit, so far, of NATPE this year. Diminished
but not dead. But this conference is not as diminished as
NATPE was this year but it doesnt quite feel the way
However, the people that are missing are the ones from the
Coalition of the Willing. The Americans, the Aussies but not
the Brits. They seem, as they always seem, to be everywhere.
MIP Days 2, 3, 4
I am sitting in my hotel room tonight; the war is going on
in the background. MIP is happening around me.
The conference is going on, despite the war. As an American
who is here, I am considered a bit of a wonder. The joke is
that I am one of the five Yanks here. Its not quite
that bad. There are more than five of us but the most obvious
absences are the Americans.
This afternoon, as I was nibbling on my sandwich in the area
between the Espace Riviera and the 01s, I felt particularly
badly for the Australians who were sitting at the table with
me and who had come all this way which is a LONG way
if youre coming from Australia, to meet people who arent
The Japanese are not here. The question is whether it was
the war or was it the SARS flu that is going on. The rumor
is it that they didnt come because they didnt
want to be on a plane so long that they would contract the
flu that is now flu to be feared.
But it might be the war and the flu was a good excuse.
But all around me the business of television is going on.
The people who are staying in apartments rather than hotels
are always eager in the morning from updates from those who
are in hotels. Whats happening in Basra? Is there an
But no one has real answers. The war is going on longer than
some people expected. The Gulf War gave us an expectation
that war went on for seventy-two hours. Thats not whats
going on here.
Whats going on here is that war is going to go on now
as long as I am alive and as long as anyone who reads this
is alive. And we will be doing business against this backdrop
of war as long as we are doing business. Business is the life
blood of commerce and it is commerce that pays the taxes that
pays for war so we will be at war and we will be paying for
war as we do everything we need to do to keep alive.
This is the choice that George W. Bush has made for us. We
may win this round but we will be forced to fight round after
round to not lose what we might have gained.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the backdrop against which
we will be doing business for the rest of our lives. Everyone
who is here knows that but they dont want to admit it.
But it is what everyone knows in their heart and soul.
We have changed the tapestry which is the backdrop against
which we will do business. It wont be the same for the
rest of my life; it probably wont be the same for any
Tonight I had dinner with a new friend of the last year. We
had a meeting one day a few months ago and he looked at me
and said then: it just didnt seem right that we, Americans,
would be invading a country and I totally understood. The
internal image of America we grew up with was that of a country
which does not invade any other country unless they have thrown
the first stone.
Right now I am talking about the psychology of what is going
on. In my next report I will talk about what I learned about
the specifics of the business while here.