MIPCOM 2011 Case study

Amid the clutter of more than 300 companies and 12,000 participants, Priority PR rolled out the heavy PR artillery for its clients at MIPCOM 2011 held in October in Cannes, France. 

Priority PR secured and orchestrated the opening keynote address on Monday, October 3, 2011 for its client Miramax’s CEO Mike Lang, who held a fireside chat with Netflix’s Ted Sarandos.

Miramax-LangBefore a packed house in the Grand Auditorium in the Palais des Festival, Lang opened the keynote focusing on the revitalization of Miramax and how market delegates can do business with the new look independent studio.

“In a way I’d like to believe our company is a bit more Silicon Valley than Hollywood,” said Lang during the keynote, while outlining Miramax’s strategy of working with traditional TV partners, new services like Netflix and Hulu, and launching its own direct-to-consumer offering on Facebook, iPad and Google TV.

“We believe that cross-platform is key to growing the digital transactions business,” he said. “We believe that all these different platforms can be complementary and co-exist together. We think everything starts with the consumer. They’re not focused on windows or on what schedule they can watch something or on which device.”

“It was a case
of innovate
or die."

Lang also said that when he joined Miramax, the studio was “basically closed for business,” despite having a library of more than 700 films. “It was a case of innovate or die,” he said, before outlining why this means he loses little sleep worrying about piracy.

“Piracy really is not the bigger issue for our company or for our library. It’s been lack of exploitation, just not getting it out there,” said Lang. “Most consumers at some point in their life don’t want to pirate. The way to then react to that is to offer legitimate, great services for them.”

In the age of radical change spurred by the advent of digitalization and most notably the emergence of Netflix and other competing streaming services, Lang was joined on stage by Sarandos as the two industry leaders tackled a number of pressing industry issues and trends.

Lang kicked off the discussion by noting that the cloud-based digital locker is Hollywood’s last stand to preserve sell through in home entertainment and failure to attract consumers’ interest could spell dome for the home entertainment industry and movie production going forward.

According to Lang, consumer access to digital content has been confusing, with studios pushing sell through and rental, despite the fact that the separate business models compete with one another.

“As an industry, we really have to believe it,” Lang said. “We really don’t have choice. If the home entertainment business as we know today, in terms of the transaction business, goes away, that’s not good for anyone in this room.”

stageLang said failure to reinvigorate the sell through model could adversely affect studios’ ability to finance movies going forward.  Sales of DVD/Blu-ray Disc/electronic sell through movies have historically affected whether a title was profitable or not. The CEO said he has found the digital transaction model to be poorly executed.

“It’s very difficult for the consumer to know that when they buy something that it works on any device,” Lang said. “It’s either tied into an Apple ecosystem or best of luck trying to make it work.”

He said the ease of streaming on myriad devices such as a Blu-ray player and video game console is what has made Netflix so popular.

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“Clearly, if we can create a digital locker experience that is as easy for the consumer and interoperable, then at least [it would be] an opportunity,” Lang said.

Meanwhile, Sarandos emphasized that Netflix’s background in DVDs-by-mail means it is often seen as mainly a movies service. However, the balance has tipped more towards TV shows in its streaming operation.

“50 percent and sometimes 60 percent of viewing is TV episodes now,” said Sarandos.

This is the key factor behind Netflix’s high-profile deal to stream episodes of Mad Men, and also its decision to ink an exclusive deal for David Fincher’s new remake of BBC drama House of Cards.

“That can be mis-perceived as Netflix is giving up on movies, which it’s not. It’s just consumers saying what they want,” said Sarandos during the fireside chat. Sarandos also announced a new exclusive deal for a TV series called Lilyhammer, starring actor/musician Steven Van Zandt.

According to the MIPCOM organization, “the buzz on the Miramax-Neflix session was huge as it was MIPCOM’s most-watched conference video.”

Miramax isn’t a stranger to Cannes, but the film studio is more associated with the Cannes Film Festival rather than MIPCOM, where it was an exhibitor for the first time in the company’s history.  Priority PR’s branding professionals took on the assignment of conceptualizing and supervising the construction of Miramax’s first exhibition stand, which was located in the Lerins Hall.  When it comes to making a splash or solidifying your company’s image, Priority PR has an extensive playbook of creative ideas that make you stand out and have global impact.

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