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As MipTV exits Cannes and throws down at London’s Savoy, the global industry may be forced to take sides.

Was it the moon blocking out the sun this week? Or the collective ego of European TV executives bemoaning MipTV’s U.K. era? It’s hard to say, but the sun — when it did eventually emerge — duly set on the spring TV market in the French Riviera, which bid adieu to its final edition after 61 years.

With an astonishing 40 percent drop in participants between 2023 and this year, zero buy-in from American studios and a dearth of senior decision makers, it’s fitting that the industry turns the page on MipTV in Cannes. Here’s a glimpse at the cordoned-off space that used to be filled with vendors:

But a new chapter, Mip London, awaits next February when parent company RX Global takes the show on the road to the U.K. — smack dab in the middle of the distributor-led London TV Screenings, which was formed as an alternative to . . . MipTV.

We love a TV market kerfuffle, and Mip’s U.K. move has been the talk of the industry this year. Everyone recognizes that most international TV companies can no longer shoulder the cost of attending Cannes in April when such confabs as London TV Screenings in February and Series Mania in March have evolved into more crucial stops in the TV calendar. (A ticket to attend one of these events costs around $1,000, and to set up and present there much more. One source tells me that a big distribution stand — plus advertising, build costs and hotels — will run close to $100,000, all in.) Yet the idea that Mip might migrate and take advantage of an established event, London TV Screenings, also appears to be galling.

The question, ultimately, is who will attend Mip London when major buyers and distributors are already tied up in London TV Screenings? In February, the latter welcomed more than 750 buyers from North America, Europe, China, Australia, Africa and the Middle East — all running around rainy Soho attending the upfronts of 29 distributors, including the founding partners Banijay Rights, ITV Studios, Fremantle and All3Media, along with American studios including Sony Pictures Television and Paramount Global. Given Mip London, which runs from Feb. 24 to 27, will directly overlap next year with London TV Screenings (Feb. 24-28), one has to wonder how buyers will organize their schedules short of corralling more team members to London — or cloning themselves. And this, in an era when belts are tightening, not expanding — hence the reason for pulling out of pricey Cannes in the first place.

“It’s not like London is a convention city; it’s not easy to run around,” says the perplexed boss of one U.K. distributor.

“It’s very, very expensive, and it’s freezing cold in February, so I’m not sure how successful it will be,” adds Pamela Martinez, founder of Barcelona-based Limonero Films: “[Buyers] say it’s a completely different type of event. They go to London Screenings to watch [shows]; it’s not conducive to hanging out, or drinks and dinners, which is what Cannes does.”

There’s nothing the industry enjoys more than a bit of hand-wringing, and, of course, competition, so let’s have a look at the outstanding questions facing Mip London organizers and the dueling TV marketplaces ready to face-off.

In this issue, you’ll learn:

  • Why these markets are an essential part of the global TV ecosystem
  • What long-time American format sellers want from Mip London
  • How MipTV is hoping to leverage London Screenings to boost its market for buyers and sellers
  • Why attendees hope that Mip doesn’t lose its focus in presenting both documentaries and the year’s most popular global formats
  • Why Asian buyers and sellers, also loyal MipTV attendees, worry about their place in a London-based event
  • The alternative opportunity that Mip could offer — if it seizes the opportunity