Evolution is around the corner – but when will we turn it?

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Being a futurologist over at MIPTV 2016.

I’ve spent the last few days on the sunny Riviera, immersing myself in MIPFormats, MIPDigital and MIPTV, the biggest market places around when it comes to TV content and, nowadays, increasingly online and mobile and social content as well. I was even invited to take part in a panel, which was interesting – I’ve never been labeled a ”futurologist” before, but now I have.

The market was chock-full of content, of all shapes and forms. There were also a focus on a lot of forward-pointing phenomenons, like VR or AR or UHD (Ultra HD). The MCN:s were out in force, from Maker Studios to Machinima and so on. And there were the usual star-studded cocktails and receptions, of course.

My overwhelming feeling after having attended the MIPs this spring is, however, a feeling of misguided anticipation. There is a strong current and strong feeling of a shift in how the market is and behaves being just around the corner. There is disruption left and right, with online producers and companies eating into the previously untouchable audiences of the broadcasters. There is a question of broadcasters themselves moving increasingly into the online sphere themselves. There is a definite acceptance of the audience no longer being anything like the audiences of yesterday, and a growing belief in there being a narrative worth exploring beyond that of the traditional media industry.

I wonder, though, how much time it will be allowed to take. Those formerly known as the audience will not stand still and wait for content creators and producers to catch up with them – they will, as always, and of late increasingly so, forge their own way and find their own tribes. Much of what was offered up at MIP this year could be better described as standing in the way of this audience movement.

At MIPFormats over the weekend a great many TV formats were on display. Just like last year, and the year before that, there was precious little that could be lauded at the Next Big Thing. Many were riffs off of older formats – seriously, how many twists on dating shows can there be? – and others were just weird or uninteresting (Let’s find out if dogs can learn to fly a plane? Or what if we host a quiz show where everyone competing needs to dress and sound like animals? Or for that matter, what if we made a behind-the-scenes reality series on the animals of a zoo?) .

What will the Next Big Thing be? Will it be one smashing TV format? Or will it – as I believe – be something that is perhaps not considered a Next Big Thing if you look at its different parts (on all media platforms) but where the total is greater than the sum of its parts? In an interconnected, socially and creatively driven world, such a proposition would make the most sense. If we can turn the corner soon, we might be able to find this necessary evolution of the media industry before it’s too late.

 

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In other news, and as some might have noticed, I’ve embarked on some new adventures. I currently hold the position of CEO and Co-founder at ReThink – New Media Solutions, a production and innovation company in Finland. Feel free to explore what we’re on about here. Exciting doesn’t even begin to describe it!

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