The Market's Success Underscores the Challenges Faced by Its Sister Event.

Position:MIPCOM Preview

During MIPCOM, the word on the Croisette and at the Palais has long been that the Reed MIDEM executives who organize the annual TV trade show could easily take a vacation during the event without MIPCOM suffering any repercussions--such is the appeal and success of the fall market.

This is in contrast with MIP-TV, the spring market that is said to need some divine intervention, as the weather often contributes to its problems, adding natural challenges like pouring rain and gusting winds, as was the case this past April.

Even though MIP-TV organizers put on brave faces in the face of adversity, they are well aware of the various challenges that the spring market is facing and regularly travel to Hollywood to seek advice from studios, producers, and independent content distributors.

However, it seems that organizers and exhibitors are at an impasse. While the sellers lobby for an enhanced focus on the exhibition floor with more (and better) program buyers, the organizers seem to prefer to shift toward conferences, seminars and workshops in the hope of bringing additional, as well as more varied, participants.

But the challenges facing MIP-TV organizers are not just the reduced number of buyers and the bad weather. Rumblings have also been heard from hotel operators, who find themselves with many empty rooms that, at past MIPs, were sold at premiums, compared to lower rates at pre-market dates. This downturn could put pressure on City Hall, which will in turn force the municipality to ask for improvements, or to replace it with an entirely different (and hopefully more successful) event.

More pressure on MIP-TV organizers is also expected from U.S. studios, who could refuse to pay for the large, often unused spaces at MIP-TV, which they pay for in order to retain those for MIPCOM. The space exhibition fees that studios pay are part of packages that also include some services at MIP-TV.

This is especially important to note considering that all the U. S. studios are currently going through their own challenges, including acquisitions, mergers, reorganizations, and/or preparing for more consolidation.

The only dark clouds in an otherwise stellar MIPCOM sky could come from the East in the form of Turkey's economic woes, and from the south in the form of LATAM's reduced participation due to changes in production business models.

Even though Turkish distribution companies sell international content rights in U.S. dollars, up to 60 percent of their...

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