MIPTV Hot List: Market Offers High-End Fare From South Korea, Israel and Norway
The long-foretold end of Peak TV may be upon us, as studios and streamers — adjusting to a new world of inflation, higher interest rates, and a slowdown in stock prices and subscriber figures — slash costs and reevaluate strategy. The result, whether at Warner Bros. Discovery (which has already taken $3.5 billion in content write-downs and canceled several planned or in-production series) or at the BBC (which needs to chop more than $120 million from its original budget if it is to meet savings targets) will mean less money for producers and, one assumes, fewer shows getting commissioned.
Nonscripted content, which is cheaper and easier to ramp up to fill programming slots, will be the most obvious beneficiary of this belt-tightening, with much of the focus of the upcoming MIPTV market on less glamorous but typically more profitable reality TV, “shiny floor” entertainment (à la The Voice) and game shows.
“It’s always been the nonscripted business that funds the scripted business,” notes Banijay Rights CEO Cathy Payne.
The market for original scripted and high-end documentary series has not gone away, however, and with big players producing less, platforms and networks will be looking to the independent market for lower-cost alternatives to license. Luckily, as THR‘s annual MIPTV Hot List shows, this year’s supply of global drama is as varied and diverse as ever.
BUZZ Squid Game proved the appeal of the South Korean high-concept thriller, and this series from hitmaker Byun Seung-min (BP, The Cursed) has a jump-off that should bring buyers calling: Innocent bystanders find themselves stuck in an underground auction house for human organ trafficking when an earthquake traps criminals and victims alike, setting off a battle for survival.
SALES Paramount Global Content Distribution
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN South Korea
BUZZ Streamers and niche platforms seeking something different might be drawn to this unclassifiable new Israeli series, set in Carthago, a British prisoner-of-war camp built in Sudan in the 1940s to house Nazi spies and Jewish “terrorists” fighting colonial rule in Palestine. The show combines comedy, history and extreme violence in its stranger-than-fiction tale about a Jewish comedian and British-born Nazi spy who team up for a daring prison break.
SALES Ehud BleibergUTA
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN Israel
BUZZ This near-future crime thriller, from Game of Thrones producer Frank Doelger, is set in a town built on supposedly safe AI technology that is shaken by an “impossible” hack and subsequent murder. It hits MIPTV just as ChatGPT-driven anxiety over the dangers of said technology is reaching a fever pitch.
SALES ZDF Studios, Beta Film
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN Germany
BUZZ Winner of the best screenplay prize at this year’s SeriesMania festival, this dystopian sci-fi drama promises just the right combination of genre thrills and political messaging, with a story of a rich nation that has (literally) walled itself off from the rest of the world. But when a pandemic breaks out, the inhabitants of the gated nation find they are trapped by the very fortress they built to protect themselves.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN Norway
BUZZ Fitting nicely with cross-border crime-story hits like The Bridge and The Missingthis Ireland-New Zealand series, co-created by Karl Zohrab and Our Flag Means Death writer Simone Nathan, sees the odd pairing of an Irish cop (Grey’s Anatomy‘s Richard Flood) and a Maori detective (Mr. Corman‘s Acushla-Tara Kupe) who team up to find an Irish couple who’ve vanished from a New Zealand rural town. The community fears the disappearances may be linked to a series of historical murders.
SALES Red Arrow Studios International
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN New Zealand/Ireland
BUZZ This action/coming-of-age drama features Cantona James (Arendsvlei) as a young man caught up in the brutal gang life of Cape Town’s shantytowns who sees an escape through his talent in the extreme motorsport of spinning, in which drivers twirl vehicles at high speeds while performing life-defying stunts in and outside their cars. The inventive premise built into the established crime genre should draw high-end streamers and pay TV buyers for this new original from South African pay TV group Showmax and France’s Canal+.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN South Africa
This story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The News84Media magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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