I’ve been home for a few days now, so time is long overdue for the second part of my festival report. The MIFA market was interesting as every year, and I had time to take in roughly one screening per day for the whole festival. My favourites were ‘Barnacle Lou’ & ‘Yes Virginia’ in the screening TV3 and almost all films in CMHC1. Also the ‘making of’ talk & world premiere of Pixar’s ‘Day and Night’ was an interesting (and packed) event.
Thursday’s highlight was, of course, a MIFA institution: The Finnanimation picnic. We had lots of friends, old and new come to our event. The greatest thing though was that a lot of them also showed up for the sauna later in the evening. Here’s a small taste of how great if was:
On Wednesday I attended the round table discussion on the topic ‘Does licesing drive programming’ and on Friday I checked the cross-media pitches in the Creative Focus. The discussion was interesting and you can find my notes on it below. The pitches were a mixed bunch, just as last year. It seems the French come there to show their projects and talk about them and the few non-French projects come with a real agenda like finding coproducers or broadcasters. The problem for them is that no-one knows who’s going to attend so it can be a big waste of time.
Anyhow, the festival was again a great place to meet the small family that is the European animation scene and I’m sure I’ll be there next year as well. Until then, au revoir!
Notes on the round table discussion ‘Does licensing drive programming’
Here are some rough notes I took during the round table. If you have any questions just post them in the comments!
Media consultant Johanna Karsenty from Médiamétrie-Eurodata TV Worlwide, France talked a bit about different trends in adapted programming. Her presentation included these figures:
In 2009 the top 20 of youth programming was based on the following original materials:
Manga adaptations 7% (particularly strong in Italy)
Live action films 4%
That leaves 64% of the top 20 that were original formats, which according to Karsenty means there’s still room for creativity and licensing can’t be said to hold the reins over programming.
Philippe Alessandri, president of Tele Image Kids, talked about the different viewpoints that producers and broadcasters have on licensing.
– With the fragmented audiences nowadays pre-financing is difficutl for producers
– Launching new IP’s is risky and difficult for broadcasters, they prefer IP’s that have a track record
1. Licensing contributes to the success of a programme
Kids are conservative viewers, they like what they know
Kids who like the licensed toys are more likely to watch the show
Tele Image makes sure all their projects have all fringe features in place before launching a property
Broadcasters benefit from the buzz created by the licensing strategy
Licensing generates more ad spent for the broadcaster as licensees run ads during the show
2. But viewers cannot be seen only as consumers
IP’s that do well in licensing don’t always translate well to tv-shows
Toy driven shows mean narrow audiences because you can usually only target boys or girls
Genre neutral shows have less licensing potential, but can attract larger audiences
Broadcasters’ priority should remain to look after the editorial policy and programming consostency
Broadcasters also have to follow regulations and be sure they don’t get mixed up in licensing that conflicts laws etc
Programming strategy should take licensing into account but not let it be the main guideline
-> In his view licensing does drive programming, as the market is tough and financing shows isn’t easy.
Tom van Waveren, creative director of Cake Entertainment UK:
When Cake look at a new project they first want to see if it makes them sit up and smile, if they are touched. Whether the IP is previously well known is only secondary.
TV is sill the strongest launch platform for something new. Still there’s new competition for the prime media position all the time. We need to be smart to get our audiences to attache to our stories. Licensing is only one tool in this. As producer or broadcaster you need to reach audiences through many different ways.
Sylvia Schmoeller, Super RTL Germany
Licensing is important for pre-school IP’s. There’s a misconception with some producers that even if you have strong licensing etc lined up a show would be better off, but if you don’t deliver on the ratings it will still be pulled off the air. Sure licensing helps but entertaining the audience is key. Schmoeller understands that produrers need that 2nd leg of cash flow to make money. But just banking on the licensing succes doesn’t guarantee a good show.
Moderator’s question: What’s the biggest difficulties with adapting existing properties?
Tom: You want to analyse what people conect with in the IP. Is it the tone or the characters, the setting or what?
If the original works as a book but not as a script you need to tweak and play around with it. You need to take risks and sometimes you miss. Can you communicate the core idea? You have to communicate it to all the licensing players, the game designers, directors, comic book artists etc everyone who works on different parts of license.