MIPCOM—It's a People Thing

Deals get made and relationships are forged during the show in Cannes. In many ways, MIPCOM is evolving from a pure "tape and format" market to embrace many new disciplines of value to the licensing professional. Bu

April 6, 2018

MIPCOM—It's a People Thing

Deals get made and relationships are forged during the show in Cannes.

In many ways, MIPCOM is evolving from a pure "tape and format" market to embrace many new disciplines of value to the licensing professional. But, at its heart, it remains a place to network.

Leigh Anne Brodsky, president, Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products, has no doubt of MIPCOM's value. "MIPCOM," she asserts, "is extremely important to us. It allows us to meet agents as well as FTAs and other channel partners so as to understand their planning for various properties, allowing us to construct a proper licensing campaign around those plans."

But for Brodsky and her team, the value of the show is much greater than just organizing the details and timing of new licensing campaigns with Nick/Viacom's partners. "MIPCOM," says Brodsky, "is also a great place for us to get together with partners and discuss what we have coming along in the pipeline, from new product ranges on existing properties such as the NPower range we have just launched in the U.S. in partnership with Imation, which,

among other lines, includes a new SpongeBob SquarePants digital camera, and the soon-to-launch Naked Brothers Band pre-loaded MP3 player. And also to discuss new shows such as 'iCarly,' the first-ever scripted series to incorporate kid-created original content into a live-action tween show that debuted in the U.S. with 13 million viewers."

Another firm believer in the value of MIPCOM for licensing executives is Keith Hindle, FremantleMedia's executive vice president, licensing, Americas. "It is very important to us," he says. Like Brodsky, Hindle sees a value "not just in terms of what you might describe as traditional consumer products, but increasingly MIPCOM has a value in terms of general brand extension.

"At Fremantle, we are always looking for ways of brand extension that go well beyond traditional consumer products. We look at opportunities in all the digital applications as well as brand integration, mobile, live shows, and a whole range of activities. I see MIPCOM as a market that is evolving and becoming a forum for a broad range of people with widely differing content interests to meet and do business."

Acquisition of new properties is also an opportunity afforded by MIPCOM that is valued by Nick/Viacom's Brodsky. "It is a market that allows us to see nascent properties and decide whether or not we want to weigh in and maybe find a new hit property of the future," she says.

Collaborative Environment

MIPCOM's part in facilitating companies with matching needs to meet and see if there is scope for collaboration is well illustrated by John Morris, president, distribution, at Germany's EM Entertainment. While Brodsky and her colleagues are looking for the next hot property, Morris thinks EM has two, and he was in Cannes looking to find finance partners for "Jonny Pops" and "Billy's Blocks."

However, for Southern Star licensing and brand management executive Benn Watson, "MIPCOM has a limited appeal from a licensing perspective as many licensees and agents are reluctant to take on new properties without firm broadcast support." But, he adds, "MIPCOM is a market we use to launch new broadcast properties and to continue the brand development of existing properties. It is also an excellent opportunity to develop new global relationships as well as cementing those that we have already developed. MIPCOM is an integral part of our business from a broadcasting perspective, but markets such as the Licensing International and Brand Licensing Europe are generally more productive from a licensing perspective."

EM TV's Morris agrees that there are markets more focused on licensing and less on broadcast and production, but says, "I believe the truth is that you need both."

Very few would deny that, but perhaps the crux of the matter is best summed up by Nick/Viacom's Brodsky. "I honestly believe," she says, "that nothing ever can or ever will replace the face-to-face meeting, and for so many categories, especially toys, the drivers are all here. MIPCOM is where it all starts."

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