MipTV Canceled Due to Fears of Coronavirus Contagion – Variety

After days of uncertainty, French conference organizer Reed Midem has officially canceled MipTV, its TV market in Cannes, and postponed third annual drama sidebar Canneseries, as France steps up efforts to contain the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

Reed Midem informed both attendees and clients, including exhibitors, in one fell swoop on Wednesday afternoon.

The cancellation — which also covers offshoot events MipDoc and MipFormats, which take place the weekend before the market — marks another big blow for both Cannes and Reed Midem, which had to move Mipim, its real estate showcase initially scheduled to take place March 10-13 in Cannes, to June 2-5, where it will coincide with music industry conference Midem.

However, unlike with Mipim, it wasn’t as feasible for MipTV to be postponed due to its proximity to October’s Mipcom market, as well as its festival component, Canneseries, and the difficulty in getting high-profile guests to reschedule their trips.

Canneseries will now take place alongside Mipcom (Oct. 12-15), running from Oct. 9-14. Meanwhile, organizers have said MipTV will return next April, alongside a fourth edition of Canneseries.

Reed Midem said in its memo: “In the current context, many of our clients have expressed concerns about travelling at this time. Rescheduling MipTV in the coming months is not feasible, so the most appropriate course of action is to cancel MipTV for 2020.

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“The well-being of our clients, partners and staff is our priority. We are grateful to clients for their support and constructive input during this challenging period. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Mipcom (from) October 12-15 and we are delighted that Canneseries will be at our side again this year.”

MipTV keynotes this year included Sony Pictures Television president Wayne Garvie and Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon. Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch was also set to receive a sustainability award.

For Canneseries, David Hasselhoff (“Baywatch”), up-and-coming actor Sydney Sweeney (“Euphoria”) and “Transparent” star Judith Light were expected to receive honorary tributes, while producer Gale Anne Hurd (“The Walking Dead”) and rocker Steward Copeland were among the guests who were supposed to take part in the jury. Among the shows that were expected to have their international premieres were AMC’s “The Walking Dead: World Beyond,” Amazon Prime’s “Upload” and Apple TV’s “Trying.”

Variety understands that Canneseries organizers are keen to re-invite all guests, including Light, Hasselhoff and Sweeney, to the October edition. They will also look to maintain some of the shows in competition with later release dates; however, some out-of-competition shows, such as “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” will be scrapped from the program because of earlier debuts.

This edition of MipTV, which was supposed to highlight Korea as its country of honor, was meant to roll out a new Palais-centralized layout. As part of a bid to reinvigorate the market, organizers had planned to move all outdoor stands inside and concentrate the event across three floors to generate more foot traffic and create a more vibrant atmosphere.

However, bringing such a large event entirely indoors proved even more problematic given France’s ban on large-scale indoor gatherings.

MipTV’s cancellation follows the French government’s ban of indoor gatherings of more than 5,000 people, declared by France’s health minister. Last year, MipTV welcomed 9,500 attendees. France has reported 212 cases of Covid-19 alongside four deaths. The first case of coronavirus in Cannes was reported on Friday.

At it stands, Lille-set drama festival Series Mania, which runs from March 20-28, is set to continue.

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