Mipcom Director Lucy Smith Says Cannes Market Will Place Co-Productions “Front And Centre”

EXCLUSIVE: This year’s Mipcom will place co-productions “front and centre” as the market moves with the times, according to Lucy Smith, who runs the annual RX France event.

The Cannes market is introducing a 1000 sqft Producers Hub for the first time – where producers with projects in the early stages can meet and discuss partnerships – and Smith told Deadline the move is reflective of how the TV industry is changing, pivoting towards co-productions and away from traditional distributor-to-buyer sales.

“If you look at the way sales have developed, co-productions have become more important to everyone,” added Smith. “Co-pros were already organically part of the market but we feel that they have taken on a hugely important part of the TV business and wanted to pivot Mipcom to make sure they are front and centre.”

Markets such as Series Mania already place intense focus on co-production opportunities and Smith said the move came after “listening to clients, taking on feedback and staying abreast of the latest research.”

She rejected the notion that straight distributor-to-buyer sales are no longer a big part of the market, although noted that less of these deals will likely be signed during the four-day event, which takes place Monday 17 October to Thursday 20 October.

“It’s different for different companies,” she added. “There are multiple ways of using a marketplace like Cannes and you can’t just nail it down to whether two parties sign a sales agreement.”

Returning in person after almost three years virtual (A smaller in-person Mipcom took place last October) will also allow for the “serendipity of meeting someone when you don’t know about the next big partnership,” added Smith.

Smith was speaking with Deadline in advance of a market where organizers are hopeful numbers will return to pre-pandemic levels of around 10,000, although they will be slightly below due to Russia no longer being allowed to attend, a lack of Chinese presence and some travel restrictions, according to the Director.

Attendees will be from around 100 countries and there will be about 3,000 buyers, with the U.S. sending the largest delegation.

That hefty delegation is testament to huge shifts in the TV landscape that have taken place since Mipcom 2019, added Smith.

She pointed to the “Americans coming back but in different ways,” with the likes of NBCUniversal and Paramount Global launching streamers, Amazon buying MGM and Warner Media merging with Discovery over the past three years.

“These companies bring in networks, buyers and distributors, so now we’ve got everyone back in a really big way,” she added.

Meanwhile, Fox Entertainment will unveil its return to the international distribution world with the launch of Fox Entertainment Global, which will be discussed in a keynote with key execs including new Fox Entertainment Global CEO Fernando Szew.

Other keynotes include BBC Director General Tim Davie and Studios CEO Tom Fussell, Fremantle bosses Jennifer Mullin and Andrea Scrosati, Amazon Studios boss Jennifer Salke and Banijay CEO Marco Bassetti.

Elsewhere, panels include a discussion between Lars Wingefors, CEO of Lord of the Rings IP buyer Embracer Group, with ACF Investment Bank CEO Thomas Dey, who helped push the deal through.

The market also launches with a new name, rebranding to Mipcom Cannes, and Smith said this move “felt like a way to bring home the message that Cannes is a global entertainment content Mecca.”

She was speaking with Deadline in the days that both Natpe and Edinburgh Film Festival brought in administrators, following a difficult Covid period in which many events companies have struggled.

“The pandemic was difficult for many industry events,” she added. “Natpe’s statement was quite clear that they are optimistic the 2023 event can go ahead as planned and we wish them very well.”

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