Will try, against all the odds, to blog a little about Mip and Milia while I am on the ground in Cannes at the moment. I am already two days behind but I hope to give a feel of what is happening over here. (BTW: The pictures are grabs from my 3G mobile phone, even though I am carrying around a Digital SLR, convenience plays a big role in the confines of this conference)
cannes As is usual with effectively two conferences combined there are two types of people. We have the buyers and sellers of straightforward linear TV intermingled with the ‘enlightened’ emerging media crowd – just kidding TV folk. That said 90% of the conference/presentations are devoted to what I would call transmedia, content distribution across broadband tv/pc, mobile & lounge screens.

Further blogs will be specifically about highlights from some of the presentations and about the exhibition, although I seem to be spending 80% of my time in the conferences (TV reloaded) vs the stands – and asking a lot of questions to boot (one of my strategies to keep awake, not that I need too!). A little about the exhibition. Amongst the seemingly thousands of stands there is still a little sign of immaturity regarding emerging media in that there are sections on higher levels called 360, interactive zone, mobile village completely seperate from the linear main market on level 1. Roll-on the day when this is all integrated. For instance there are a few unique stands openly selling interactive formats, participation TV across mobile and broadband etc: yet in the main linear level there is nothing but the usual 26×30 mins brigade. OK the discussions on the stands are all about mobile and internet rights, sure, but that I believe in many of the minds of the traditional buyers and sellers is a ‘nest egg’ for the future, in terms of retaining rights to something most people do not know quite what it is! Bizarrely as you will see in further blogs the conference is all about the big internet TV and mobile TV changes coming up.
It has been a nice personal experience for me meeting up with many old BBC colleagues and several US contacts. Tom Williams (Creative Director, BBC Interactive) showed me a cool ‘Tardisode’ (yes a Dr. Who mobisode), had catch-up chats with Nic Cohen (Exec producer 24/7 digital services) and Marc Goodchild (Walking with Cavemen and the Emmy nominated “How to Sleep Better, iTV service”) – great to see that these folk are all involved in the 360 sessions beginning on Weds (today for me). Also that the BBC are looking now into a cross-media future in a major way, although there is some work internally to facilitate that.

Mark BurnettAlso caught up with several US folk from DirecTV, AFI (hi Nick!), other US labs. Also bumped into Ferhan Cook (at the Mark Burnett talk last night) who has been organising Milia events since my first conference in 1996. It is wonderful to see that her hard work (in the early days TV folk used to snigger at this internet thing) is now really reaching fruition and the quality of presentations and real business models have come of age in the emerging media space. William Cooper of informitv though, agreed with me that the there is still someway to go for before the integration of ip and mobile television into the normal business cycle is mature enough for presentations beyond, “this is the next big thing – but we are not quite sure what it is”. There are other folk I shall talk about later.
Overall as you will see in the next batch of blogs there is definitely a buzz about the 2nd and 3rd screens, the business models are starting to stack up, everyone is talking about cross-media entertainment, the power of user generated content and participatory services, the technology is finally taking a back-seat (a great sign) and personalization gets a mention at every presentation and is splattered over many of the mobile, ip tv stands. Many speakers are talking revolution not evolution and the producers are all about facilitating great ‘viewer’ contribution/participation programming. But as my old mate Brian Seth Hurst (from many milia’s ago) said as we were leaving the mobile TV content showcase, paraphrase “what we would give for truly ground breaking innovation, we are still waiting for really inspirational services”. We truly are coming out of the ‘linear’ woods into a bright new green field of ‘anything is possible media’ as content anywhere, anytime at high quality, two-way participation etc etc: soon to be available to all producers (especially users) – there is something really in the air here. Hope I can waft some of it to where you are.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006