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Harassment scandal deepens as MIPCOM ends

MIPCOM_DuskIt’s difficult to write about the health of an industry in the context of an all-encompassing scandal, and the soul-searching in entertainment that has followed the Harvey Weinstein allegations was obvious to those at MIPCOM this week.

In the various beach front restaurants and at the plethora of networking events many were furious, some nervously attempted jokes to lighten the mood, while others sought to understand what this new environment will mean for deal making. There was certainly no shortage of opinions as the scandal deepened throughout the week.

Just today, reports are emerging that the LAPD is investigating Weinstein on rape charges, while sexual harassment claims are impacting other parts of the TV and film. Nickelodeon has fired the creator of popular new toon The Loud House, Chris Savino, over a number of allegations and production on France’s Got Talent shut down completely after claims were made against judge Gilbert Rozon. Amazon Studios chief Roy Price resigned at the start of the week after stories pointed to inappropriate behaviour.

In that context, it also seems incorrect to focus on the business, but the fact is MIPCOM, international TV’s biggest market, ran this week and was, for the large part, a big success. Here is the official breakdown of the week, according to event organiser Reed MIDEM.

The firm is claiming some 13,900 delegates attended overall (some sources claimed footfall around stands was noticeably lighter than in the past, while others believe just the opposite and tell TBI it was the most vibrant in a handful of years).

The near 14,000-strong attendees came from 110 territories, with new companies such as Tencent, Huace Film & TV, AwesomenessTV and Endeavor Content (WME/IMG) exhibiting for the first time.

Last year Reed MIDEM claimed 14,000 delegates, meaning a small overall drop has been acknowledged, with the 4,800 buyers down 100 on the 2016 figure. The 660 buyers at MIPJunior over the weekend was described as “record-breaking”, however, and there were also 1,700 VOD buyers and 460 VOD platforms, with first timers including Iflix, Acorn TV and Showmax.

Besides the numbers, MIPCOM saw closure of deals such as Snap Inc. and NBCUniversal announcing the creation of a content studio, while IM Global Television hooked up with France’s Newen Group to create shows for the international market.

Facebook’s head of global creative strategy, meanwhile, used his keynote speech on Wednesday to reveal Facebook Watch was getting its own version of the influential Norwegian teen drama Skam (Shame), with Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment attached to make the English-language show.

Talent in town included David Morrisey, David Mitchell and Robert Webb, William Fitchner, J.K. Simmons, Aoi Miyazaki, Donovan, Gordon Ramsay, Lenny Henry and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The last word should go to the latter, who had a hopeful message amid the madness of the Weinstein revelations. Zeta-Jones, in town to promote her new Lifetime show Cocaine Godmother, told delegates at the always popular Women in Global Entertainment Power Lunch that recent and on-going events could act as a catalyst and tipping point for better treatment of women across industries.

Let’s hope she’s right.