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Simon Staffans: Why wild horses wouldn’t keep me from MIPTV

Which of MIPTV, MIPDoc & MIPFormats' groundbreaking sessions are utterly unmissable? MIPBlog regular Staffans takes his pick...

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Wild horses © Shutterstock

Photo © Shutterstock

 

Up here in Finland, the sea is still frozen over. But it’s not for the change of scenery and the chance to dip my toes in the unfrozen Mediterranean that I can’t wait to jump on a plane and head to Cannes for MIPTV 2014. I’ve got far better reasons than that!

 

1. It’s all coming together

I vividly remember MIPs from years gone by, with the focus almost solidly on pure television content. In that context, it’s astonishing where we are now. Looking at the conference sessions on offer this spring, it’s all “on-demand”, “VOD”, “audience engagement”, “big data”, YouTube and so on. Music to my ears, as a creator of multiplatform content. “Fishing where the fish are” is a sensible approach for any content creator hoping to reach an audience today, and this year’s MIP might just be the place to find out how to accomplish that in the best possible way.

It’s not only content- and strategy-wise that this applies either. One bane of successful implementation of  multiplatform or crossmedia projects is the difficulty of getting different departments working together efficiently and in a way that enhances the value of the end product. This year more than ever I feel that the right people are coming together in Cannes – marketing, online, production, talent and so on. It’s only by learning from each other and supporting each other professionally we can achieve truly great results contentwise.

 
 

2. Heralding the new age

This year’s MIPTV theme is A New Age of Storytelling. This is a thread that not only runs through MIPTV itself and the different strands during the week – MIP Digital Fronts and MIPCube – but also through the weekend’s happenings, MIPDoc and MIPFormats. The need to reach and engage with an audience and incorporate them in the narrative in one way or another is a prevalent one, no matter if you talk about dating shows from the Nordic countries or documentaries from the Far East.
 
Picking out favourites is always tricky, but if I would want to get a grasp of the latest in interactive, multiplatform storytelling, here are three things I wouldn’t miss:

 

-       MIPDoc’s Digital Sunday focus on Fort McMoney, April 6, 10.10 (full session details). Described as “game documentary that engages players with the petroleum industry”, Fort McMoney is a very interesting project, beautifully executed and thoroughly captivating. This is a chance to hear firsthand from director David Dufresne and collaborators from ARTE and SODEC about the project. Meanwhile, watch the trailer here

 

-       How does digital provide the keys to the next hit formats? This MIPFormats session (April 6, 18.00; full session details) sees some of the most effective companies in the content and entertainment world – Fremantlemedia, Talpa, Screenz and all3media – get together on a stage to talk about how today’s possibilities and challenges impact format creation, development and production.

 

-       The rules of engagement: Strategies for an on-demand generation; this MIPCube Talks session at MIPTV (April 7, 14.15; full session details) promises an interesting debate about how to actually create content that isn’t just good enough to attract an audience, but is interesting and engaging enough to be shared onwards. Yes, with back-to-back meetings, finding time for conferences at MIPTV can be a challenge. But I definitely want to find the time for this one!

 
 

3. Brains on display

Well, not actual brains of course, but some seriously interesting creators, producers and financiers. Amy Poehler will talk comedy; Deb Roy, chief media scientist at Twitter, will talk about Twitter as a force multiplier for television; Yoni Bloch from Interlude will talk interactive videos (ingeniously done!); Alex Carloss, YouTube’s head of entertainment, will talk about the Power of Choice… even Ben Huh from Cheezburger will be there! (click on each speaker for full session details).

And these are just the heavy hitters – the pitching sessions, the Agora presentations, the competitions, the business meetings, lunches and cocktails… they all offer a multitude of opportunities to meet and talk to genuinely interesting people.

 

Jeez, I feel exhausted just from writing this :). Thoroughly looking forward to the first week in April – if you see me in Cannes, do come over and say hi!

 

Simon Staffans is a format developer for MediaCity Finland, and a frequent contributor to MIPBlog. Be sure to follow him on Twitter, especially in Cannes, when he’ll be tweeting like a madman!

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