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MIPCOM 2007/Interview with Paul Johnson

Moonves, who was also chosen as MipCom’s Person of the Year 2007, will be followed on 8th October by other top level speakers such as Emilio Azcarraga, President and CEO of Grupo Televisa; Subhash Chandra, Founder and President of Th e Zee Network and Essel Group of Companies; Ronnie Screwvala, Founder and CEO of UTV Group; Ben Silverman, Co-President of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios; Mike Volpi, CEO of Joost and Paula Wagner, CEO of United Artists.

“This is the first time that our Personality Of The Year will give a keynote at MipCom,” explains Paul Johnson, director of the television division.
“And it is a great privilege to welcome him to Cannes this October.” Furthermore, India is the country of honour at this MIPCOM.
“In around ten years’ time, India will be one of the world’s top entertainment markets.”
Johnson continues: “Today, India is not yet in the Top Ten, but things are going to change. This MIPCOM will give everyone an opportunity to explore how their business can grow in this Asian tiger market. If you don’t already have an “˜Indian’ strategy for your company, now it is time to start thinking about one.”
The Director of MIPCOM stresses the analogy between the India of today and the golden years of Hollywood.
“In a certain sense, it is as though the Indian market is structurally dominated by the studio system like Hollywood of yesterday: the Jack Warners, Walt Disneys and Louis B. Mayers. Today there are over a half a dozen major companies, each run by a President who is also the founder and owner. Most of these companies have a market size in the billions of euros. All the key figures in the Indian audiovisual market understand the potential of digital technology and are actively exploring creating special content for mobile “˜phones, internet and VOD.”

There will be also a much awaited speech by Emilio Azcarraga, President and CEO of Grupo Televisa, who has been running the South American TV giant for the last ten years.
“Azcarraga has literally transformed this company, which has been the biggest South American producer of Latin American Telenovela content. He is starting to experiment with the mobile “˜phone market as well as with the Internet, and is also positioning his company to the Latin American market in the USA and has just opened up a office in Beijing.” explains Johnson.

Branded entertainment, product integration and product placement is slowly being integrated into MIPCOM.
Kicking off with the participation of Ben Silverman, co-President of NBC and already a successful Hollywood producer in this field and now running the Peacock network’s entertainment content division: “Silverman’s understanding of the relationship between brands and entertainment has been visionary particularly with respect to how this plays outside the US market. In the future, advertising and brands will become more regular participants at both our markets,” notes Paul Johnson.
“There is a growing trend within advertising agencies and brands themselves to attend MIPTV and MIPCOM. They are trying to explore out how best to find their audiences and the content producers and distributors hold the keys.
Partnerships between the content producers are essential in delivering a solution to find an audience “” particularly within digital media spectrums.
They want to be seen as partners and some even buyers of content, opening up another potential revenue model for our clients.
We expect at least one major announcement on this subject to be released during MIPCOM.”

Once again MipCom will try to highlight the various market trends.
The three figure growth of the advertising segment, the growth of India and TV’s continual evolution are just some of the subjects which will be discussed at MipCom 2007.
MIPCOM is also supporting Pangea Day which will take place on May 10, 2008.
The goal is to bring the world’s cultures closer together through film.
It is based on the Live Aid model created by Bob Geldof in 1985 by broadcasting these films and messages from a variety of cultures and countries around the world across all platforms’ – live.
“This is an interesting worldwide event that we hope will unite the audiovisual industry,” concludes Johnson.

Cinema&Video International      n. 10-11 October/November 2007

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