‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Courtesy of Hulu

The explosion of television content — by some estimates there are about 500 scripted series in production, double the number from just three years ago — is forcing rapid changes among the global TV dealmakers who will descend on Cannes from April 3 to 6 for MIPTV, the world’s premier international TV market. Broadcasters from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, now spoiled for choice, increasingly are becoming selective when it comes to U.S. series and reality TV formats. The days of every studio show going global are long gone.

“That top level of show is still going to perform very well internationally and is going to be very lucrative,” says Dana Walden, chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group. “But there used to be a midrange, where you could have a solid but not spectacular performer, but still program an hour in a successful manner that you could still put into an output deal. That’s gone.”

“Broadcasters are finding it harder to get the [ratings] number they want for a hit show, so they are under pressure to pay less,” says Peter Iacono, president of international television and digital distribution at mini-major Lionsgate. “Because the increase in production is pushing up talent costs, the asking prices are going up, too. That’s the rub.”

In addition to honoring such international TV heavyweights as Amazon Studios vp Roy Price, Huace Group president Zhao Yifang, ZDF Enterprises CEO Alexander Coridass and CTC Media CEO Viacheslav Murugov, MIPTV will offer buyers an early peek at the shows on everyone’s future binge list. These five could break through the chatter and become the next big thing.

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