MIPCOM Goes ‘Raving Rabbids’ For ‘Dora & Friends’

by Jennifer Needham, VIMN UK

Russell Hicks - Nick Panel

When the beautiful Cote d’Azur turns into a sea of blazers, stilettos, chinos and air-kissing and the gentle hum of TV chatter fills every corner of every restaurant in Cannes…. it can only mean one thing: MIPCOM 2014 was in town.

And it certainly wouldn’t be the world’s biggest international TV market without a host of famous faces spotted along La Croisette to tantalise even the most aloof of TV execs, from Syco’s own Simon Cowell (in Cannes to be awarded the title of “MIPCOM Personality of the Year”), to media mogul Piers Morgan (who else to do the honours?); Liz Hurley, Cuba Gooding Jr. and BET’s own Debra Lee (all representing new shows at the market), plus Ted Serandos (Chief Content Officer, Netflix), James Murdoch (CEO, Fox International) and a Thunderbird and a Cookie Monster for good measure! However, the real talk of the town was none other than intrepid explorer, Dora the Explorer who’s new Nicklelodeon series Dora and Friends would be officially launching to the international marketplace.

Although the weather wasn’t quite as “Cannes” as it “could” have been (with the Palais acting as a beacon of light and shelter from the torrential downpour), it certainly didn’t dampen Viacom’s spirits with a number of top execs flying in from around the world to launch the series (amongst others) for international syndication. MIPCOM veterans Caroline Beaton (SVP, Programme Sales) along with her expert sales-force, alongside Jules Borkent (SVP Content & Acquisitions) and Nina Hahn (SVP Content & Development) were joined for the first time at the market by Nickelodeon’s President of Content, Russell Hicks, flying in from the US to deliver a keynote session as part of MIP Jr. and Christian Kurz, VIMN’s VP of Insights & Research, who gave a sneak peak of an as yet unveiled piece of new research.

Sitting alongside gaming partner Ubisoft and distributer France Television, Russell highlighted the integral role of Nickelodeon’s brand partnerships, using the incredible success of Raving Rabbids (a huge hit in the international market, born in France and forged as part of a three tier partnership in 2013) as the perfect case in point. When asked to summarise the key to Nickelodeon’s success, the answer was simple – humour for big kids, curriculum for pre-schoolers and partnerships with great, original creators – be it a gaming company, app creator or other.

Representing the wider portfolio at MIPCOM, Christian Kurz joined media commentator Kate Bulkley to give a sneak peek look at a piece of in-house research revealing the attitudes and habits of today’s “pluralist generation” (…those consumers born in the nineties who have known nothing other than hyper-connected media). When asked how the future looks for linear TV as a result of these rapid changes, according to Christian, very bright indeed!   With a portfolio of research, facts and stats in his back pocket, Christian identified that whilst consumers will naturally gravitate towards the best available screen, the linear TV set continues to be the first point of entry and for that reason, is still widely regarded as being ‘innovative, legitimate and prolific’.

Driving buzz and excitement across the market, VIMN certainly wasn’t short of news to talk about, with the recent acquisition of Channel 5 in the UK the hot topic on everyone’s news agenda (and dinner chat!), as well as the international launch of Spike, news of the first format deal for MTV reality hit Are You the One? in Denmark; the international roll-out of Nickelodeon US hit Blake and the Monster Machines, plus news of a swath of kids deals in Latin America…  No sooner had it begun, MIPCOM 2014 was at full speed, and VIMN was happy to be up front and centre as brilliantly articulated by our very own Ms Beaton in her Bloomberg interview here.

However as another week now begins and TV execs are left to debate the wise words of Cowell, Sarandos and Murdoch – we’re quite sure there’s really only one thing on people’s minds….

Dora’s new hair-do.

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