NOW IN its third year and getting bigger and more representative with every incarnation, MIPFormats has clearly got its own format right.
“It’s become the global event for the formats community,” says Laurine Garaude, Reed MIDEM’s director of television and one of the architects of the super-gathering of format producers, commissioners, buyers, distributors and aspiring format creators, which takes place on March 30-31, on the eve of the MITPV content bazaar in Cannes, France.
This year, more than 500 format executives are heading to the Riviera for the two-day event —12% more than in 2011 — culled from 54 countries and every nook and cranny of the formats industry. What’s more, Garaude reports, some 50% of this year’s MIPFormats’ participants are buyers, indicating that the event’s branding — ‘The discovery showcase for the formats community’ — has a bottom-line as well as a creative and educational value.
“We wanted to provide the formats industry with a genuine community experience,” Garaude says. “At MIPFormats, they can come together to discuss the latest trends, exchange know-how and discover new shows, talent, partners and opportunities.” She adds that the event’s timing is also pivotal, in that it arms format players with targeted knowledge and insight before they head into the rough and tumble of MIPTV deal-making.
This year’s MIPFormats programme is the most ambitious yet, with more screenings, market analysis, networking opportunities, conference sessions, workshops and master classes than ever before. There will be knowledge and insight aplenty, from a keenly anticipated keynote from Roy Ackerman, managing director of Jamie Oliver’s Fresh One Production, to FRAPA’s inaugural Format Boot Camp, a series of four live-learning sessions focussing on the practical skills needed to protect, produce, promote and trade formats in today’s complex marketplace. Other centrepiece seminars include Creativity & The Art Of Formats, featuring heavyweights from FremantleMedia, Endemol and Shine; and an analysis of the French market, presented by C21’s David Jenkinson and featuring senior execs from TF1, France Televisions and M6.
But it’s not all chat — there’s also cash at stake at the MIPFormats Pitch, which is sponsored for the first time this year by Warner Bros International Television Production (WBITP). Designed to identify the successful formats of tomorrow, the pitching event features six fresh-from-the-wrapper concepts, selected for their creativity, originality, innovation and ability to return for multiple series. In addition to the warm glow of peer approval, this year’s winner will also receive €25,000 in development funding from WBITP.
“At the buyers’ request, we have also increased the number of screenings,” Garaude adds. These include The WIT-curated Fresh Format Screenings for entertainment and game shows; Nordic World’s showcase of the best content from the Nordic region’s innovative community of indie producers; and a KOCCA-sponsored session on Korea’s latest crop of formats. Another new feature this year is the MIPFormats Digital Screenings Library, designed to offer increased visibility for a range of game-show, reality and factual entertainment formats.
Being at the helm of MIPFormats has given Garaude a rare view of the formats industry as it hurtles into its second decade at the forefront of global entertainment. But while there have been many changes in recent years — consolidation, the rise and rise of the super-indies, the challenge of carving up digital rights, the explosion of social media and two-screen TV, the dawn of constructed reality, the upsurge of creativity from the non-core format territories, the emergence of Asia and Latin American as format power players — some things remain constant.
“The quest for the Next Big Thing in talent and game shows continues,” Garaude says. “People still want what they have always wanted: great entertainment that works well internationally. In the end, that’s what MIPFormats is all about.”
FRAPA is a partner in MIPFormats.