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Small screen, second screens, giant screens - the future of TV tech and content at Cannes

Small screen, second screens, giant screens - the future of TV tech and content at Cannes
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It is TV’s networking event of the year.

MipCom, held in Cannes on France’s Cotes D’Azur, is the annual TV industry get-together.

Here execs glad-hand creatives and 13 thousand media professionals trade content and ideas on the future of the small screen.

The economic crisis has hit some media hard in the pocket. Appearances in Cannes, though, are that TV and digital content production are holding up. What they are buying and selling here are future programmes and future ways of getting those shows out.

TV is no longer a passive single-screen experience.

Many of us take in the tube, juggling a smartphone or a tablet to tweet or text about what we are watching.

The second screen is supplementing rather than supplanting TV.

Dan Rose, who is Vice President of Partnerships at Facebook, says, “Recent research says that most people owning a smart-phone or a tablet use it while they’re watching TV. And what they’re doing: they’re talking to their friends on services like Facebook. And so, the second screen and social media and Facebook are really becoming a main driver on people tuning in and engaging a conversation around television.”

But for all the talk of the second screen, it is still the TV that dominates – in all its staggering resolution.

If you were just getting used to High Definition, the next bigger thing is Ultra-High Definition: 4K, four times more D that HD.

Bertrand Loyer, President, Saint Thomas Productions, says that the chain of distribution of the 4K is not very clear yet. “It is a blind bet on the future,” he says, “But shooting videos in 4K is a real advantage. They are great for slo-mo. The cameras are very light, which makes them easy to move when shooting.”

Which is great, but we’ve had HD, now Ultra HD. Do we really need to keep going further?

“The human eye can see 18 K,” says Loyer. “That’s hundreds of millions of pixels. So there’s a way to go yet. But what’s the point after that? We’re selling a dream and an interpretation of reality, but the quality we offer is crazy. I think in this race for more definition the consumer will say, “OK. Enough!”“

Among the many TV production companies at MipCom is the Italian Blue Box.

They are looking to get a number of successful Italian TV programmes onto the international market.

The company is also aiming to get young writers on board – to get some new blood grappling with new ideas and get those ideas onto the small screen.

Paolo Bonolis is a well-known face on Italian TV. He says that more than the culture of a people, it’s always interesting to look at the culture of a person, of a creative.

“What we look for is someone who has the strength and will, the ability to turn their inner world into good TV. This is what Blue Box is all about – connecting people with this kind of ambition, so they can turn their ideas into something that could be their job.”

Every year MipCom chooses a country to highlight and this year it is Argentina.

And the country is not just an emerging market for other countries’ media exports.

Argentina itself has become a creative hub – its productions even reaching audiences outside of the Spanish-speaking world.

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