MIPTV 2011 Review: Branded Content, 3D & IP Protection

At the Heart of Digital Content Business: MIPTV in Cannes (France)

For us, April and October always means visiting the City of Cannes in southern France in order to attend the MIP markets, which happen to be among the largest digital content markets worldwide. Accordingly, we again spent a few days at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes to check what’s new and to take part in various presentations as well as panel sessions that are offered in parallel to the buying and selling activities of broadcasters, production companies, studios and other media companies. This year’s MIPTV, which took place from 4 to 7 April, essentially focused on 3D TV, branded content and the protection of IP rights in the digital multiplatform era.

Is 3D really here to stay?

I can imagine you’ve heard that question before! Already in 2010, the dawn of 3D capable connected TV’s and devices resulted in people talking about 3D all over the place. Everybody was excited back then and the message was clear and obvious: after the transition to HD, the introduction of 3D is, technically speaking, not a big issue. The devices will be there, the costs for manufacturers and distributors will be minor compared to the expected long-term revenues. Well, today and roughly one year later, the topic was again back on the agenda and various company representatives (manufacturers, content producers, distributors etc.) looked at 3D with a mixed bag of feelings. Almost everyone is certain that 3D is here to stay (one way or the other) and that a full year of development has resulted in a considerable amount of movies and other applications (eg. also the Nintendo 3DS), as highlighted in the session Update on Latest 3D Technologies. Yet, the 3D breakthrough has not yet occured. And it also becomes clear that the different kinds of 3D content out there hugely vary in terms of quality. A number of experienced producers in panel sessions and presentations mentioned that you cannot go from 2D straight to 3D production. Scenes and memorable 3D effects need to be carefully planned and it takes much more time beforehand to implement this in production planning, storyboards etc.  Also, there is a technical aspect to successful 3D production: different formats for small, mid-sized and large screens (eg. Cinema, IMAX etc.) need to be taken into account: on each of these screens 3D effects unfold differently, this became particularly clear in the presentation Spotlight 3D Production Overview. Accordingly, there is a need for high quality content before 3D really has a chance to take off. In summary, distributors and broadcasters are still seeking exactly this kind of content for their special 3D offers and new channels are indeed planned to launch. As for the future: it’s conceivable that, sooner or later, the majority of new TV sets will, by default, have a 3D capability anyway. Unless another new and groundbreaking visual technology comes along, it indeed seems likely that 3D will not go away.

Digital Content Protection

I will keep short on this topic, but just like last year, the desire of the industry for some sort of virtual digital rights locker was omnipresent. The problem to be tackled by such a “locker” is that of how to access the content you bought across multiple platforms and channels without having to pay for it over and over again. It’s essentially a cross platform DRM management system for digital content. A proposed solution for this could be a system called UltraViolet, which I also heard about already last year. Since it apparently still is a topic for various companies on this year’s MIPTV, I could imagine some kind of consolidation going on regarding a specific cross platform DRM standard.

Adam Hillyer (Barcadi Global Brands) and Cliff Fluet (Lewis Silkin LLP) present the Branded Content Roadmap

Branded entertainment becomes “branded content”

It was Miles Young, CEO of Ogilvy Worldwide, who revealed in his branded entertainment keynote: “It’s the role of brands to bridge the ‘meaning gap’ in today’s information chaos”. This suggests that brands increasingly want to be associated with certain forms of content and are ready to invest in production if the “belief system” of the brand is supported. In that case, it apparently doesn’t matter anymore whether we are talking about branded entertainment or, more generally, about branded content, eg. documentaries. In the Content 360 Supersession, Gary Carter (Chief Creative Officer at FreemantleMedia) highlighted that, in today’s multiplatform era,  “broadcasters & producers need to get audiences to interact with eachother, not ‘just’ with the content”.  Then again, this could become even more interesting for brands to engage. It’s not just about the content and extended storylines but about the conversation that you can trigger. The potential for creating traffic on different platforms involving various communities increasingly becomes an essential part of a true 360 degree approach in digital media.

Some Typical Side Effects of MIP

Well, we have to be honest at this point and mention the few other things we always do as well on each and every MIP market: for example using it as a platform for our own marketing and promotion. I mean, people just need to know we’re around and Cannes is a good place to wander about and introduce etma. Accordingly, we also used the occasion to introduce our academy (incl. our activities and the programmes on offer) via a small presentation in the Mediadesk area of the Palais. Further on, we frequently use the MIP market in order to get in touch with potential specialist lecturers, participants and, more generally speaking, to stay informed about what’s going on in the media industry. All of the aforementioned had been achieved, once again. Accordingly, it was definitely worth our while to visit MIPTV and we’re certainly looking forward to returning to Cannes in October for the upcoming MIPCOM market.

For an excellent full coverage of MIPTV 2011 incl. transcripts and videos of all sessions please also visit http://blog.mipworld.com/

(JW)

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