MIP TV - Mostly Important Person TV?

Posted by Jet

Just arrived back from France.  Much as I have tried to embrace Paris and its denizens, I don’t like being treated like an inferior nonentity.  Like most people, I like to feel wanted, respected and recognised despite my flaws (like my indifference to cheese, baguettes, wine, and handbags).  It’s probably the same sort of warmth that reality TV participants want too. 

My reason for visiting Paris: to get to Cannes for MIPDOC and MIPTV.  MIPDOC, MIPTV and its Fall cousin – MIPCOM - are markets for television, where programs from around the world get an exhibition stand and where broadcasters (also from around the world) come and shop for programs.  It usually gives you a good sense of what will be hitting the screens in Philippines soon, what might end up the next big hit in Denmark, and who the next big host will be in Latin America.  A large part of the market is devoted to factual television – lifestyle transformation television, gazing on alternative lifestyles television and “reality television”.

It’s telling that the keynote speech this year came from Endemol’s president – Ynon Kreis.  Endemol is one of the globe’s biggest format producers.  Formats are mostly reality show structures that have proven successful in one market and are sold to producers to be used to produce local versions.  Endemol’s top shows include DEAL OR NO DEAL, FEAR FACTOR, and BIG BROTHER.  The presentation was very flashy – with smoke, CGI presentation and quite blah – considering the amount of money spent on the visual presentation they still managed to have a spelling mistake – but when one is as “succesful” (SIC) as they are, you start thinking your spelling’s at fault.   

Endemol’s about to celebrate the 10th anniversary of one of its most successful creations: BIG BROTHER.  It seems poignant that in this anniversary year that its biggest celebrities/nonebrity participant: Jade Goody, passed away from cervical cancer too.  Jade’s success was completely based on her flaws – her ignorance (didn’t know where East “Angular” (Anglia) was in the UK - and she’s British), her less than svelte figure (she was nicknamed “The Pig”), her tawdry background (parents were drug addicts), and her gob that dropped politically incorrect clangers like a sieve drops waters – the most famous being the racist remarks on a Bollywood actress.   Yet Jade was loved and the Press and People loved her.  So it’s not surprising when given the choice between having privacy, being ignored and unloved verses being exposed and having attention - that she chose the latter – even up to and possibly including her deathbed.

Reality TV is about connecting with the individuals under the microscope in a social experiment.  We side with individuals because of their flaws, gang up against the bad “guys” and even not so secretly detest the good ones.  I like Reality TV because of the microcosms created by the producers.  A breeding ground for conflict, drama and discussion.  Everyone one in the experiment felt they had a voice and were listened to - and as such they became mostly important people.

Also telling in Endemol’s keynote was its new focus – a new 3D future - and before you think it’s about breaking out into the third dimension – really it’s about domination, domination and domination – and the emphasis seems to be on the ability to use its global regions to create grand spectacles rather than individual struggles.

Its new hit is “Wipeout” where teams of players (like umm.. Cheerleaders) race around an absurdly large assault course.  The course has huge red mushrooms, blue sprung platforms to bounce from, lots of water cannons, mud and maybe even a large hammer to try to knock you off a mushroom.  It looks like a Super Mario video game wrought live and large. 

In this move to the macro from the micro – would Jade have even had a chance?  Does the individual stand a chance?  And is recognition and fleeting fame even a possibility? 

I haven’t figured out yet what MIP stands for in the context of the markets in here Cannes, but I don’t think it will be for Mostly Important People anymore.


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MIP TV - Mostly Important Person TV?

Posted by Jet


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