Hey everyone it’s Thea here again! Apologies for the delay in following up last week’s Cannes Diary # 1 about the entertainment conference called MIPCOM.
While all those big, important individuals and companies spent time shmoozing, wheeling and dealing with each other, I spent much of my MIPCOM time in countless talks.
In many ways, apart from a few key contacts I made, and the weather, the talks were my favorite part of MIP. There was no pressure to “sell” myself or indeed my “content” – but rather the role was one of spectator or even sponge.
It was an amazing privilege to be in big and small rooms, gaining insights from visionaries and leaders of some of the biggest brands in the world, oh, and the odd celebrities too!
Below are some keynote and general talk highlights for me.
I thoroughly enjoyed the talk when Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos of (the rather controversial of late) Netflix took the stage with Mike Lang from Miramax.
Sarandos’ stand out quote for the talk for me personally was “If you want to see what people really want, look at what they’re stealing,” Then, the theory, I guess, is to give the legitimate, affordable and accessible (across different devices) content to them and they’ll opt for it rather than piracy.
In a slightly new direction, Netflix (most comparable thing to it in the UK is Lovefilm), is to create their own content. At this point Sarandos gives a friendly nod to his good friend Stevie Van Zandt (Soprano Actor and member of Springsteen’s E-Street band) – who’s starring in their newly announced show Lilyhammer. The trailer looks great and the show will be premiering on Netflix itself (and hopefully they’ll find a UK outlet to let us folks outside the US, Canada and Latin America view it too!)
Miramaxi’s Lang specifically discussed the company’s bold, revised future with its movie library of 700 motion pictures, has received 284 Academy Award nominations and 68 Oscars, including four Best Picture Awards.
What both men emphasised are the changes that are constantly taking place in terms of how, when, where content is being viewed, and the need to continually innovate and adapt. This actually was the theme for most talks at MIP. This, and personalization/customization, and collaboration.
Viacom’s Robert Bakish, gave an interesting talk about his company Viacom and its new channels like the female-oriented Blink, and its core channels like Comedy Central and of course not forgetting the erroneously named MTV (when was the last time you saw a music video on MTV? Sheesh don’t get me started…That’s a rant of mine best saved for a different time and place).
Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed the insights of Bakish and his take on the new demographics, new distribution models and new metrics stating his channel’s mission is to continually re-invent itself or risks facing irrelevancy.
It was his talk I first learned the term “millennials” (just another term for Generation Y), their key demographic at MTV. Millennials are ambitious, team-oriented, more self assured and my personal favorite – “pathologically social”. They crave “authentic reality” – hence their recently-launched UK hit TV show Geordie Shore. Check out the stats it boasts in the image above! Staggering.
Another fantastic talk was Fox network’s President of Entertainment, Kevin Reilly, who gave an interesting talk about things like creativity (citing a 2010 IBM poll of 1500 CEOs say “creativity” was the #1 “leadership competency to successfully navigate an increasingly complex world.”) as well as seeing failures as success (a favourite topic of mine)
“Success is often built on the shoulders of failure – from which new configurations emerge. There was an article in last week’s Wall Street Journal about some American companies rewarding employees for bold failures in an effort to spur innovation. It cites a study that shows the most successful people also tend to be those with the most failures. The rewards are meant to reinforce what was learned from the failure, rather than sending the message: ‘You screwed up’.”
He goes on to discuss how “social” (meaning tv, media et al) is changing our viewing habits (again a major theme throughout the entire week at MIPCOM).
“There is a reason that Facebook just kicked social TV into high gear. As one blogger said: ‘When people start consuming content through Facebook, it enables a new world of friend-to-friend discovery that is potentially worth more than any promo campaign on the planet.’ In other words, better than any network today can provide.”
Halfway through the session, Reilly brought out 24-star Kiefer Sutherland and Heroes creator Tim Kring to discuss the new Fox show Touch.
As geekish as this is to admit, that half hour (or whatever it was) being a mere yard or two from Sutherland was a definite highlight of my week in Cannes. His show Touch (trailer here) does look amazing, but sadly we’ll not get to see it until next Spring!
A definite one to watch out for!
One of the few woman speakers I saw at MIP, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed Disney’s CEO Anne Sweeney talk. Dubbed “the most powerful woman in entertainment”, Sweeney cited some amazing stats about social media – especially Twitter usage.
“According to a recent study by Deloitte, TV shows are the most common conversation topics around the world – and the subject of more than a billion tweets this year alone.“
(In fact of all my tweets at MIPCOM, my quoting that stat was probably my most retweeted tweet!)
Sweeney went on to describe television as the most powerful medium in the world predictingthat “Tomorrow it will also be the most personal. There is no one future for television. It will be defined differently for everyone.”
We’re starting to see that happen already, of course and that’s a good thing, I think.
A final highlight was seeing the World Premiere of another new ABC show called Missing (trailer here) which, like Touch, looks amazing! Even better though, after the pilot aired in the Grand Auditorium, it was a Q&A with with writer/creators, stars and so forth. Once that ended, we were bussed down the road to the “Red Carpet” event at a nearby hotel. That was the most glitzy moment of the week. I was able to take a bunch of photos and exchange a few words with stars Ashley Judd and Cliff Curtis (Left) (where I made just about the biggest fool of myself, and that’s all I’m saying about that!)
Anyway I think that is enough sharing for one day. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back to MIPCOM next year with a project of my own next year or simply to hear more killer keynotes! I know I said in my first Cannes Diary that there were three installments but maybe two’s enough? What do you think?