MIPCOM Take-Aways: The Comeback Edition
Hope you all had a great week!
After my previous dispatch last week Enticing Financiers At AFM I received several questions and a few Distribution Consulting applications around Series development and distribution.
Which is timely because the first in-person MIPCOM just wrapped after a 3 year hiatus… and what a comeback it was!
As many of you may know, I’m working as much on Series these days as I am feature films. I’ve been intentional about diversifying my slate for the last few years and have leveraged all my indie film experience to the max to develop the right kind of series projects. At this point, I’m fully immersed in it.
I’m giving you this context so you can appreciate why I have so much to say about the Series business right now and why the take-away’s I’m presenting below, are just the tip of the iceberg of discussion points that I hope to unpack over the coming weeks/months. So please - comment below with your questions so I can be guided by what you all are itching to know more about.
• Star power wins the day! I didn’t think I’d see the likes of Emily Blunt and Julianne Moore promoting series at MIP but we’ve arrived. Don’t underestimate the power of your connections to film talent (and their reps) when packaging a series.
• Which brings me to… you must develop and package your Series longer and with more care than you probably think is necessary before bringing to market. Half baked ideas without some combination of writer/showrunner/director/stars just won’t cut through the noise. Oh, and add ‘meaningful’ IP to that list too.
• Private equity is finally becoming part of the Series financing plan and economic model. It’s mostly being utilized in the very early stages of securing IP and development, but I’m also seeing it combined in the traditional indie film financing model sense of pairing it with tax credits and co-productions for production financing too.
• Co-Productions were all the buzz this year because with the rising cost of production coupled with inflation and all the rest, budgets are unsustainable at current levels and not one broadcaster or streamer can finance a series alone (well with a few exceptions). So a BIG trend we’re seeing is streamers getting more ‘relaxed’ on their rights positions and agreeing to partner up with local broadcasters to get coveted properties over the line.
• FAST Channels are another huge trend this year. Witness the mega distributors like Banijay and All3 mining the depths of their enormous catalogues to launch genre-oriented FAST channels (ex: Horror, Drama, etc.) and in the process, create all new and much needed revenue streams for their companies. We’ve seen this in the film world for a number of years but it’s about to get supercharged.
• In terms of genre trends, I’m seeing a never-ending appetite for Crime, Thrillers, and Star-Led big historical dramas. As in, buyers can’t get enough of it but not any old material will do, it should be backed by meaningful IP, be well developed and packaged, and be elevated enough to ‘cut through’ the noise.
• Finally, all is not lost if you’re shaking your head saying you don’t have anything that ‘big’ because the market is bifurcated between all this big stuff you see being announced, and then another side of the business quietly chugging along with more low budget series since let’s face it, not every new streamer/AVOD or broadcaster can afford to make these huge shows, so a low budget strata of the Series business is being born… and by the way, is where I think many of us can make the most impact.
Whew, that’s a lot to take in I know. So feel free to process and let me know if you have any questions by commenting below.
I’ll wrap this up for today right here…. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and speak to you again soon.