I just landed back from a week of TV, online, second screen, contentcontentcontent and all the other things that a regular MIP week in Cannes consists of. This year one of the main strands of talks and discussions was on ”The Golden Age of Television”, which we apparently are living in right now.
And yes, I can’t but agree – looking at some of the brilliant storytelling going on over on television right now, I do believe there has been a shift towards television when it comes to people looking for content to engage and immerse themselves in. Increasingly – in my opinion – movies are being viewed as the ”less serious” medium, something that might have a lot to do with the fear of commitment we’re experiencing right now. Hooking your time up to a five season long TV series such as ”Breaking Bad” is a very serious commitment, much more so than going to the movie theater to see ”The Avengers II” or suchlike. This has given TV a more serious role in people’s lives, and TV has responded magnificently.
What I noticed very clearly at this years market is that, while there still is a lot of money sloshing around in television, there is also an ever-expanding market to be filled with content and paid for by that same amount of money. So even though there is a lot of €€ available, these funds are being stretched more and more. This means producers need to get into a start-up mode, and that the ”fail fast and fail forward” principle has never been as important as now.
With regards to genius content, I will readily say that this time around I saw nothing to really get me excited. There were interesting formats, but nothing new or groundbreaking. There was beautifully shot drama series (including one set in Aberystwyth, the Welsh town where I spent the best part of a year back in the 90s) but nothing that in any way could be said to ”revolutionize” storytelling or ”disrupting” the TV industry. All in all, much of MIPCOM was about ”same same but different”. I would have liked to see the people behind the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, for instance, tell the industry how they’ve used audience engagement and transmedia storytelling methods to get hundreds of millions of views. Perhaps in the spring!
All in all I noticed a TV industry that is being drawn out of it’s shell, quicker and quicker. And to be fair, there are quite a few parts of the industry that are quite happy and actively assisting in this. There’s still hope for this old dinosaur! :)