Lucy Smith, Mipcom & MIPJunior Director
Last April, Reed Expositions France and Reed Midem, French subsidiaries of RX (previously known as Reed Exhibitions), announced their merge. The company is now named RX France, and its French and international events are organized under the RX brand. To describe the challenges of planning a global event in the middle of a pandemic, Señal News interviewed Lucy Smith, Mipcom & MipJr Director.
Which are the strengths of RX France as a new Mipcom organizer?
"Although RX France is a 'new' entity since Reed MIDEM and Reed Expositions France merged in April 2021, the Mipcom team is the same as before, so our strengths are the same as in previous years, if not stronger. Perhaps the biggest difference in the current global context is how we have developed our digital extensions to the physical markets".
How was the combination of Reed Expositions France and Reed Midem teams?
"Now, the legal aspect of the merger is complete. We are working on bringing the expertise of both companies together. We are at the beginning of this process, and we are combining our respective strengths in order to provide clients with unique business opportunities".
Mipcom 2021 will be very peculiar. What were the main challenges of organizing the event?
"For many of us, Mipcom 2021 will be the first international TV trade market attended live in nearly 18 months. Our absolute priority this year is supporting the industry in getting back to in-person business as safely and confidently as we can. Obviously, there are challenges, and everyone involved accepts it will be a different market this year. At the same time, we have people telling us every day how much they want Mipcom to happen, and we're committed to supporting the industry and delivering it for them. The major challenges are the restrictions around traveling, which may prevent people who want to be there from attending, and the logistics around planning a major exhibition in the current circumstances. We can't change each country and company travel policies, but we are addressing the need for more flexibility in how companies exhibit and attend the market this year. People are registering every day, and we now have around 140 confirmed exhibitors and hundreds of buyers and producers participating from over 70 countries. Of course, some won't be able to attend this year, and some will be there in smaller delegations".
What are the main concerns of the Mipcom attendants?
"Everyone's priority is the safety and wellbeing of delegates attending the market. We have been able to reassure participants thanks to the comprehensive safety protocols we have in place. All delegates will need a 'Pass Sanitaire,' meaning they need either a vaccination certificate or proof of a negative test of less than 72 hours prior to the event. We will provide additional testing facilities onsite. We will communicate clear instructions to our non-European clients on accessing the 'Pass Sanitaire'. Face masks and physical distancing, 'print at home' access passes to reduce queuing, and capacity limits and regulated traffic flows will all be in place as part of our comprehensive safety measures. We are investing in a market that delivers flexibility and access to clients, so they join us in Cannes but scale their investment where necessary this year. The footprint will be smaller, with Riviera 8 and Palais-1 not being used as exhibition halls. Mipjunior will now take place during MIPCOM in the Palais des Festivals and will not require a separate registration. We are also pleased to confirm we have planned safe and secure ways to hold key events like the 'Women in Global Entertainment' lunch, 'Diversify TV Excellence Awards,' and premiere screenings that make Mipcom week in Cannes so special to the industry".
Does RX France plan to continue offering hybrid events in the future?
"This year's Mipcom is not a hybrid event. We are focused on delivering a physical market, supported by our newly developed digital extension. Mipcom Digital is designed to enrich the in-person market with an enhanced networking experience and more opportunities for content marketing. The aim is to embrace digital to enhance the physical market, not replicate the Cannes experience. This strategy will stay for all our future markets. We are developing new ways of digitally connecting and serving the Mipcom community all year round, but, again, as a complement, not an alternative, to the physical markets".
By Romina Rodríguez