1. Here Comes Asia
Let’s imagine you could stroll along the Croisette during MIPCOM 1992, blink, and find yourself in the same spot during MIPCOM 2012.
What would you notice first?
- The amazing rise of the Asian delegations, particularly China and the other BRICs and Little BRICs
- And the end of total world domination by the ‘Anglo Saxons’.
China’s celebrated its big, noisy coming out as a major player on the Croisette during MIPTV and MIPDOC last April.
- It was an unforgettable statement!
- And capped by CCTV Documentary Channel’s announcement that its average primetime audience is 64+/- million.
Six months later at MIPCOM:
- China and the Asian delegates weren’t so noisy.
- But their expanding rosters sent a message about the business they are doing in Cannes.
- Here is my quick count of a sample of delegations listed in the big MIPCOM directories of 2006 and 2012.
Meanwhile, delegations from some of the old players actually contracted:
The Asian and most of the BRIC and Little BRIC economies:
- Enjoy booming and relatively youthful economies.
- Their combined scale far exceeds the old European and American population centers.
- They support expanding local video production centers.
- And they are extending their global footholds via branded channels and program sales
India is the exception:
- Always waiting for a long-promised growth spurt to match China’s.
- India’s regulatory missteps are acute right now during the trtansition to digital.
Malaysia Steps Out
Malaysia was the Asian nation that stepped out at this year’s MIPCOM:
- Not to put too much of a gloss on it, but Malaysia enjoys a vibrant, diverse society.
- Its population of 28+ million is backed by plentiful natural resources.
- Malaysia’s media regulators are determined to establish a viable TV production community linked by treaty to neighboring Singapore and other tax jurisdictions
2. China’s Documentary / Nonfiction Update
I met with Sunnyside’s Yves Jeanneau, who has spent a lot of time and effort visiting the region to better understand the Asian market.
- We agreed that China has the scale, wealth, and viewing preferences to support a rocketing nonfiction sector.
- An important factor is the national political commitment to docs as an alternative to ‘trashy’ reality TV.
- Yves says that China’s documentary sector is evolving rapidly, changing quarter by quarter.
- CICC continues to back major China-themed co-productions.
- Recent notable shifts:
- More nonfiction channels and blocks
- An emerging factual syndication market,
- And funding by regional and even municipal government authorities.
Corporate sponsorship is a proven path for individual productions and programming blocks.
- This particularly applies to Entertainment-driven nonfiction.
- The sponsorship model involves producers with agents and dealmakers.
- US and Western agents are established in the major media centers.
There are basic structural issues to be resolved:
- License fees are in the low $’000’s.
- CCTV is the major public TV player, but many Western distributors point to the lack of transparency.
- They ask: “Where is the rate card and standard contract?”
3. Takeaway: What Next?
For someone sitting in a very plush nonfiction television executive chair somewhere in New York or LA or Washington or even Toronto, the call could go like this:
- “Guess what?”
- “We’ve got a new boss?”
- “And you’re getting on the next plane to go see if you fit in!”
- “No! Where?”
- “Whaaaaaaat?!! Wheeeere!!!”
There is a precedent.
In September 1989, Sony stunned Hollywood and the US by acquiring Columbia Pictures for $3.4 billion in cash.
- Suddenly it was senior executive shopping on Ginza versus Rodeo Drive and Madison Ave.
There are dozens of Asian trading companies and private holdings with investments in media and who can execute an offer for a major North American nonfiction player.
And more of them with that kind of scale are emerging by the week.
It’s just a matter of time and strategic fit…
Distribution platform at the Cannes Market
- Should nonfiction producers attend MIPCOM or MIPTV?
- And much more