MIPTV 2007 in Cannes April 16-20 seems to be off to a bright airy start, partly in thanks to the warm weather and the ever-increasing exhibition space for participants. If you are a MIP regular and think you pretty much know where to find everyone, look again. Many animation exhibitors have moved out of the crowded, yet easy access of the bottom floor of the Palis and are spread out to huge new exhibition halls and tents on the roof of the Riviera or across from the structure along the croisette. The Buyers' Club and Participants' Club have huge areas now, there is the Azur Exhibition Hall and increasingly popular Lerins Hall.
Participants were busy rescheduling appoints the first day when many Americans were unable to leave the eastern coast airports due to extreme weather conditions.
Why this is noteworthy to point out is that one must book far more time to get to meetings now the some sizeable distances to be covered, plus the extra elbow room gives the false impression of less activity. When exhibitors are crammed together and you overhear activity at other booths, it gives helps create a buzz. Each stand now seems more restful and communication is easier, yet exhibitors report plenty of traffic and meetings pre-booked. Media announcements, particularly for animation, are up at the start of the market compared to the start of MIPCOM in 2007, but there seems to be less marketing stunts, parties and exhibit area ads.
The lack of clutter enables those who had made the extra effort, such as Jetix Europe with its ice cream truck in front the Palis, to really stand out. Jetix is promoting its new show, URBAN VERMIN, a CGI series from Decode Ent., with human-sized replicas of the main characters at an ice cream van dispensing treats to attendees from branded ice cream tubs. Jetix Europe's new svp of programming, Marc Buhaj, who is located in London, is busy looking for new talent and acquisitions and meeting with journalists to broaden the broadcasters net.
This increases the marketing challenge to drive new visitors to find you or attract attendees to newcomers in new, unfamiliar locations. One such example to check out is newcomer Qualia & Co., a Japanese studio incorporating French and American influences, located far away at Azur.09. The company (www.qualia-international.com) has a large stand showing some impressive footage from its KAELOU & Co. and KG CHI-POW projects. KAELOU demonstrates impressive 3D squash-and-stretch, good character animation and design, executed in 3DS Max for kids 12+. French and American animation creatives from its units are on-hand along with execs to talk about these new offerings.
The word is animation buyers are mostly looking for comedy, short-form (one minute) content and features. Feature production is noticeably up amongst the European producers and the negative note so far seems to be less commissioning from British broadcasters (there are 26 kids channels in the U.K.).
While past markets featured animated shows featuring cows, penguins or dragons, this one seems to have many with ROCKET in the title and stubby characters with large horizontal-shaped heads.
Fortunately attendees will likely continue to have good weather as they get their extra exercise making the rounds to exhibitors in this spread out market.