We talk to Deputy Director Lucy Smith about MIPTV ONLINE+ and how it is helping to inform the digital strategy of Reed MIDEM’s MIP events going forward.
Q. Taking MIPTV online was a brave decision. What were the key factors which influenced it?
A. As the second biggest global TV market, MIPTV is uniquely positioned to deliver an online platform that will facilitate and support the industry. We also believed that MIPTV needed to be doing everything possible to connect our communities at such a difficult time, and help the industry continue to do business. Obviously, the fact that we had to cancel MIPTV just four weeks before the show meant that we had already prepared a huge amount. Clients were registered and a really strong programme of screenings, showcases and conferences was planned. We have some incredible teams here at Reed MIDEM who are used to taking on challenges, and I knew that we had the right team to deliver this. We were also lucky to have the RX Global’ Global Digital and Data Innovation team immediately on hand to help us!
Q. What specific resources did MIPTV Online+ offer?
A. MIPTV ONLINE+ launched on March 30th at 9.30am for one week, and was extended for a second. The platform offered free access for all registered MIPTV participants to a selection of premium content originally programmed for MIPTV, MIPDoc and MIPFormats, including the MIPTV Drama Buyers’ Summit, MIPDoc Screenings, project pitches and market intelligence conference sessions. The MIPTV Online Database was live throughout, allowing users to connect and interact with the MIPTV community. Preview Magazines and daily editions produced and published on Day 2 and Day 3 included news from clients looking to promote their content. We also curated lists of “Producers to Watch” and Buyers explaining their needs.
Q. What were the key challenges you faced in delivering MIPTV Online+?
A. We were attempting to launch something we have never done before, on a huge scale, in in timelines that usually would be considered impossible. And all while everyone is working remotely. It was a massive challenge. But it has also been a huge learning opportunity for us. Whatever happens, digital is going to play a more important part going forward and this process – challenging though it is ‒ is giving us vital feedback and knowledge that we can apply in the future. We only lost a handful of speakers who were just not able to produce or contribute their content – everyone else managed to, even from the confinement of their homes.
Q. Which technology partner did you work with, and why?
A. We chose ON24, a tried a tested platform used by several other major organisations as well as within the RELX Group. ON24 is not primarily a Screenings platform and does not offer the video quality that we would normally expect, so it was important to manage expectations. We explained to our audience that we would limit the bandwidth used for video in order to both ensure a good quality of service for our participants and limit the bandwidth shortage. As most people were viewing from home office networks we believe that was the right decision.
Q. How has the market responded?
A. Prior to the launch, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Our clients kept telling us that, now more than ever, they need to promote what they are doing and showcase their content to the widest possible audience. And we know that at the same time buyers are looking for even more acquired content as original productions are delayed due to the crisis. That early support has now been confirmed ‒ the first 7 days of MIPTV ONLINE+, brought together over 4,800 unique visitors who watched over 2,700 hours of content!
Q. Looking to the future do you see future opportunities for MIPTV around 365 connectivity and new digital revenue streams?
A. Digital has always been an important part of our longer term strategy for all of the MIP markets. Adversity often fosters innovation and creativity in a way that day to day business doesn’t and the current situation has pushed into us into creating a new online solution much faster than we would have thought possible. We will have gathered a lot of learnings and valuable insights from this experience, and I’d like to hope that we’re able to move forward with our digital strategy more quickly and efficiently as a result. At the same time, although the digital solutions we develop will play an increasingly significant role in the future, they will always be complementary to our onsite shows. What the current situation is showing us is that nothing truly replaces the benefits of face to face interactions.
As we emerge from this crisis our industry will need more than ever to come together and regroup, and our MIP markets will have a huge role to play in delivering that opportunity. For now, we are focussed on delivering MIPTV Online+ and supporting our clients as much as we can so that they are still open for business, even if they can’t meet face to face.
Lucy Smith is Deputy Director, Television Division, Reed MIDEM.