MipTV is Cannes’ longest-running annual television and content marketplace trade fair. Celebrating its 60th jubilee this year, the event will be held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congres. MipTV is a dynamic content market where entertainment content is jointly produced, bought, sold, financed and distributed. Its broad offering includes novel and high-quality drama, children’s shows, documentaries and format programming brought by international networks and independent producers. The three-day exhibition will be attended by more than 9,000 broadcasters, producers, buyers, curators and other professionals from the TV, film, digital and audiovisual industries worldwide, who will have many opportunities to discover the latest programming trends and the newest formats for business networking. MipTV is also a key source of valuable information and market data. It offers presentations and conference formats to track the latest programming trends and predict the hits of upcoming seasons.
When in doubt, emulate your competition. That seemed to be the gist of a keynote presentation by Johannes Larcher, head of HBO Max International, at the MipTV confab in Cannes, France.
Speaking April 5 at the global media event, Larcher said Netflix’s reported $12 billion content spending in 2021 is projected to top $21 billion in 2026. The executive, who joined WarnerMedia in 2020, contends that exponential growth in spending would help Netflix skyrocket its international footprint from 147 million subscribers last year to an estimated 266 million subs in the next four years.
“[That] $9 billion [in] additional programming dollars buys a lot of content,” Larcher said. “That buys you almost 700 episodes of ‘The Crown,’ 50 Spider Man: No Way Home movies. That ability to spend more on content on behalf of [subscribers] drives the need to go global.”
And how does that relate to HBO Max?
Larcher said Max, which ended 2021 with 27 million subs outside the U.S., is now available in 61 territories globally after launching last month in 15 new European countries, including the Netherlands, Portugal, Hungary, Poland and Romania. The streamer is set to launch operations later this year in Turkey, Greece, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. There are also plans for further expansion to Southeast Asia.
Notably absent: the U.K., France and Germany, which are still contracted to existing HBO pay-TV distribution deals.
“That’s why all of us [streamers] desire to go global,” Larcher said, adding that Max is upping its European original content production from 10 programs in 2019, to 40 shows by 2023. “There are slight variations on how we position our brand market by market.”
The executive said he believes that with the April 11 completion of Discovery’s minority stake, majority control acquisition of WarnerMedia, the new Warner Bros. Discovery company will help Max reach its international growth objectives.
“It will diversify our content, our service,” Larcher said of the deal that will combine Max with the Discovery+ SVOD service. “We have a shared vision of what the product should be in terms of packaging and how we go to market.”
While 4K Ultra HD televisions have become commonplace in the United States at Best Buy, Walmart and Target, among other retailers, global adoption of the new high-definition format is still picking up speed, according to new data from IHS Markit.
The London-based research firm cited declining prices for big-screen TV driving wider consumer adoption. Speaking at the MIPTV confab April 8-11 in Cannes, France, Paul Gray, director research and analysis, technology, media & telecom, said there are more than 142 4K UHD channels on the market, including 49 channels in Europe.
Gray says that next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo (July 24 – Aug. 9, 2020) generate will 4K UHD unit sales of 130 million worldwide.
IHS estimates that by 2022, 60% of North American households own at least one UHD video display, with another 40% among Western Europe homes.
Indeed, the report suggests that by 2022, TV’s with 75-inch screen sizes will drop to around $1,000, with some 8K units priced at $2,000.
“It has taken only five years: shipments broke 1% for the first time in Q4 2013. This is as fast as the move from standard definition to HD resolutions,” Gray said, as reported by Advanced-Television.