Anne-Marie Meissonnier describes The International Content Market for Interactive Media's (MILIA) main topics in "MILIA 1998: The Key Points," available in French and English.
"There is more and more television in the web and more and more computer in television," said Alain Le Diberder, Director of New Programs for Canal + and President of Canal + Multimèdia.
That's why, I, a representative from France 3's Children's Programs Department, went to Cannes to explore the multimedia jungle. After five years, let's discuss the general trends we can notice at MILIA.
Everyone Has A Specialty
Each interactive program creator has chosen his own field and specializes in it. Those who create cultural products do it exclusively and constantly improve their know-how and the way to make production efficient and fruitful. This also applies to encyclopedia and language teaching products, games, educational programs and children's programs.
Everybody Is Imitating
There is an incredible number of cultural programs, games and educational programs on Egypt, the Middle Ages, discovery trips and the Second World War. Everyone is convinced that he has found an outstanding idea...
Poor Children, I Mean Those Under Eight
Since parents buy most programs, and even keeping in mind that they are mostly games for their children, they usually seek games which are educational. If children are faced with educational programs even out of school...I wish they could just go for a bicycle ride outside. Fortunately, there are a few exceptions, because some houses have a good editorial policy. Dorling Kindersley, for example, edits programs which are interesting for their content, as well as for their general presentation.
Can an Animation Program Be a Successful CD-Rom?
There are numerous adaptations between the mediums which are more or less successful. Some CD-Rom programs come from animation programs which are themselves taken from comics. Most of the well known adaptations to CD-Rom have met with success because they feature famous animated characters. At MILIA, animation producers and CD-Rom producers met together and it became clear that they do not understand each other. It is understandable since both of their professions and knowledge are distinct. Why should a CD-Rom producer pay for the rights to exploit one or several cartoon heroes, especially if they are not notorious yet? However, there is a mutual fascination that opens the way to future collaboration. In fact, someone who has an understanding of both medias will be a potential leader in this market.
On the Internet
Groups of web surfers will meet on sites with similar content. Others will continue to surf freely to satisfy their curiosity. Those who do not want to waste time will subscribe to specialized sites. A web site such as Info Kids has an exhaustive program schedule and is like a daily newspaper with regular columns and discussion groups where kids can talk about their hobbies and shared interests.
The Evolution of Web Graphics
Young independent creators are exploring alternative textures, graphics and page configurations. During the "Zapping the Web and New Media" evening, I was attracted by an original web page concept which offered multiple images. At the bottom of the screen, an image which looked like a 35mm film was rolling by offering even more images, while at the center of the screen another group of icons increased our choices even further.
Digital and Interactive Television
Every digital channel (CANAL + SATELLITE and TPS) is developing interactivity in a specific way.
The public can easily be identified because he is a subscriber, thus: He can ask for more information about an advertisement by pressing a button on his remote control.
He can compare how information is broadcasted simultaneously on different channels. For example, reports on the Olympic Games or late breaking news can be compared and viewed at the same time. He can be offered services like banking or stock exchange data, games, cybershopping - all by pressing his remote control! All of these opportunities offer new perspectives about the relationships between a channel and its' subscribers.
Attending MILIA is an opportunity for television professionals to learn about the trends of the future. I was very interested by the new possibilities of dialogue between channels and their audience. The development of new technologies will deeply change the traditional relationships between broadcasters and their audiences and generate new kinds of communication that we cannot completely forecast yet.
Anne-Marie Meissonnier is artistic consultant of the Children's Programs Department of FRANCE 3. There she is specifically in charge of the co-productions and supervises the entire production process of the predominately animated programs initiated by the Department.