Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., (www.intermat.tv)
a television company which executive produces programs and consults
with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc.
is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television
in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the
Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery
Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery
Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted
Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation
Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.
| A Dispatch From Cannes
MIPCOM, the great fall television selling fest with an emphasis
on home video/dvd, started out, like all selling fasts, with
a burst of hope amid the irrepressible sunshine of the south
On Tuesday, the skies grew cloudy and by Wednesday, rain was
falling in torrents -- so heavy in fact that the booths of
Hallmark, Granada and MTV Networks had to be relocated due
to flooding. Enormous vacuum cleaners couldn't keep up with
the water and pails were much too inadequate to hold the water
gushing into the Palais. Out came dumpsters which were strategically
placed throughout the Riviera section of the Palais.
The Scripps Networks booth barely escaped the floods and became
an lifeboat for people from surrounding booths. When last
seen Mary Ellen Iwata, Vice President of Development for HGTV,
was standing watch, looking for her noon appointment while
encouraging the staff who were attempting to strategically
locate waste bins to catch the smaller leaks while the dumpsters
filled the aisles across from the booth.
With the rain, there also came a falling of expectations and
It will be widely reported, I think, that sales were down
at this market, on the minimal side. As one independent film
producer said, "I may be paid for coming but I didn't
make any money."
Last year reports were that there was a burst of enthusiasm
and this market, which has more home video/dvd activity than
the spring market, was finding great enthusiasm for product
in dvd. It was a little bit like, I was told, the old good
days of home video where you could sell almost anything into
Not this year. Disappointing dvd returns on some major motion
pictures [think Shrek II] has caused the whole market to waver
and for prices to fall. Big disappointments abound and the
halls of the Palais de Festivals are full of consultants scuttling
between booths attempting to pick up assignments to help disappointed
sellers regain their dampened hopes.
I am here in Cannes for one of my clients, Lightworks Enterprises,
which came to market with a biography of C.S. Lewis just in
time for the release of the Disney flick, THE LION, THE WITCH
AND THE WARDROBE, the Mouse House answer to Harry Potter and
the Lord of the Rings Cardiology.
Their head of development had to have surgery on her leg and
thought she could be up and about in time to dance through
the Palais, a hope dashed by her surgeon who told her that
she wasn't getting on a plane much less traipsing through
an enormous facility in search of television deals.
When I was in Warsaw they phoned me and asked me how I felt
about a week in Cannes? Hey, didn't have anywhere else to
be! So here I am.
They've been doing brisk business as many would like to have
something on air to complement the opening of a mega budget
They've been lucky. Others have not been so. And now, as the
market winds down, disappointment is greater than anticipated
on Sunday evening as the sellers flocked to Cannes from all
points on the planet. [You can sit in any restaurant and enjoy
fine French food while listening to a dozen different languages
being spoken, all interspersed with English phrases here and
The rain keeps falling -- as do the prices of product. Co-pro
deals are fewer and the attempt to whip up industry hope through
flogging new technology has not gotten the market buzzing.
Oh, well, there is always next year.