Docs, formats and dramas into the MIPTV bowl

MIPTV 2019 starts today in a challenging scenario due to the cost & benefit equations and the deep changes of the industry. Yesterday, MIPDoc, MIPformats and MIPDrama drove the trend: buyers want fresh ideas or twists. If it is not possible, they prefer the classics.

FRAPA, the format protection association, organized its member meeting which this year included a presentation of recommended formats, a Pitch Doctor (with suggestions about making good pitchings) and opinions of buyers about what they want and what they don’t. David Ciaramella, K7 (UK): ‘We see more formats from different origins, more physical and more dysfunctional. Also, food formats continue exploding, and realities, game shows get supersized’.

The buyers were Lisette Van Diepen (for Talpa Network) and Hayley Babcock (A+E), who agreed about formats: ‘We want: concepts with broad appeal, light entertainment, factual entertainment, realities, transactional entertainment, strippable primetime. We don’t want: pure factual, ob-docs, follow-docs, crime’.

More buyer opinions? Fusako Nagashima, head of formats, Nippon TV, Japan: ‘Extreme physical game shows are in a great moment, from Asia to the US market’. A format head from BBC Studios: ‘In UK, the classics are on top: Bake off and Dancing with the stars perform huge, Got talent very well, but Factor X not so well. Florian Luke, head of international program planning, RTL Germany: ‘What’s new? To take a theme, for example guessing, and put it in different genres, inside one program: a game show, a date show, etc.’

MIPDrama? It had its third edition, with close to 300 international buyers and 10 titles shown, including dramas, comedies and suspense from Norway, Spain, Germany, France, UK and Italy. Dangerous Moms (Mediaset, Spain) won the ‘Buyers Coup de Coeur award’. Other dramas highlighted were The Gulf (ZDF, Germany) and I am (Sky Vision for Channel 4, UK).

Trends? Not only there more and more products from different origins, but also the bigger companies as Endemol Shine, Fremantle, ITV Studios, or leading broadcasters, are accepting to produce in new languages, to attract fresh people that bring fresh ideas and ways of shooting. Domingo Corral, head of fiction, Movistar+ (Spain): ‘The local touch gives personality, but this nearness must be told in a way that lets grow internationally’.

Though the one-hour series are the established model, the 90 minutes format is to come, due to OTTs and because creators consider it is good to tell better the stories. Spain is on focus for international titans, due to its very successful fictions. Many of them are taking local people to produce in the country. Jan Mojto, CEO, Beta Film: ‘Israel, CEE and Russia will be the next source for talent, they have strong broadcasters willing to produce TV series’.

MIPDoc? OTT platforms are giving fresh air to the documentary industry, especially to independent producers that can’t compete with giants and well-known brands like BBC, Nat Geo or Discovery. New players like DocuBay or Curiosity Stream are gaining ground, while others like BiliBili (China) are betting on genres like science and culture to reach younger audiences.

Their testimonies? Steve Burns, Curiosity Stream: ‘We look for shows where we can present new ways of doing science and new narratives’. Bo Zhang, BiliBili (China), Gen Z focused service: ‘We are open to coproduce both in an early stage, investing between 10-30% of the budget, or as a pre-buy. In 2016 we started to acquire international content and now we have over 8,000 hours, focusing especially on top notch content’.

Nicolás Smirnoff, Fabricio Ferrara and Rodrigo Cantisano

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