Mipcom Cannes Director Lucy Smith: U.S. Majors Proving Global Streaming And Third-Party Licensing “Can Co-Exist”

EXCLUSIVE: The major U.S. studios heading to Mipcom are proving global streaming and third-party licensing “can co-exist and work together,” says the event’s director.

Lucy Smith, Director of the Entertainment Division at Mipcom Cannes organizer RX France, told Deadline the “assumption of recent years that streaming would somehow upend what happens in distribution” had faded — a boon for the traditionally sales-focused market.

The likes of Warner Bros Discovery and Paramount Global have heavily bought into Mipcom this year, with WBD International President Gerhard Zeiler delivering a keynote speech on Monday and Paramount President and CEO Bob Bakish being honored as Personality of the Year later that day.

Both companies, along with the other major U.S. studios, will operate from sizeable stands and have sales execs working half-hour slots to shop in-house programs and films that might have been warehoused for their global streaming services in recent years.

Since streamers scaled back on their original content spends amid a brutal media economy and concerns over the streaming business model, they have been far more willing to co-produce or order shows for a single territory and then sell the existing international rights to third-party buyers.

“That helps to explain why so many people are coming from studios and that change is important,” said Smith.

In a similar vein, the changed market economics have led to growing importance of international co-productions and Smith said this was the second obvious trend heading into the market. “Finding funding for productions is vital, and that’s why we’ve made sure we’ve continued with the Producers Hub, allowing companies to find space to have their meetings,” she added.

The Seaview Producers Hub is a 1,000 sq ft networking space just outside the Palais des Festivals aimed at bringing together co-production execs for high-level talks on funding new projects.

AI in the spotlight

Lucy Smith

Smith expects AI to be a key discussion at Mipcom. She pointed to the Unlocking AI Summit, which will be held on Tuesday and features execs from Google Cloud, Largo.ai and Aive, along with intellectual property lawyers, European Parliament representatives, producers, artists and networks.

“AI is a disruptive technology for everyone and we do hope the negotiations around the writers strike will have helped to put in some guard rails to help creators in the future, but there’s still a lot to be done there,” said Smith.

“We are going to take it on and try to be practical and help our clients to understand how it will impact them. We’ll look at that from creative and production-led points but also regulatory. It’s about demystifying AI a bit and giving people practical information to helping people understand how to use it better in their own businesses.”


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