Come in quick, Insiders. It’s colder there. Jesse Whittock here with an overview of this week’s top news and analysis, coming from across Europe.
Queen Elizabeth buried
The world says goodbye: After the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, the period of mourning that followed and the thousands of stories about the endless queue to see her lying in central London, the monarch’s funeral took place Monday. The likes of Joe Biden, Kill EveSandra Oh and even Bear Grylls have joined the Royal Family in paying tribute to Britain’s longest-serving monarch. Caroline Frost was on hand to keep you informed. After the church service at Westminster Abbey, the funeral procession stretches over a mile in length. When the Queen was finally laid to rest at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, the world saw the symbolic breaking of the wand of office on television for the first time – a moment representing the end of her era and the start of the reign of King Charles III. .
The procession in numbers: Max dug into the ratings and found a whopping 37.5 million people who watched the funeral throughout the day, with 27 million people tuning in to the procession – more than those who watched Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997. In the UK, most-watched on BBC One, as audiences the service broadcasters once again proved their worth at a time when national unity was required. As new Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan prepares to review the Government’s plan to scrap BBC licensing fees and sell Channel 4 into private hands, PSBs will feel their work this week was a triumph, albeit under solemn circumstances. However, the events were not a cash cow for British commercial broadcasters, as they all dropped advertising during televised events as a mark of respect. Find all our coverage here and here.
The TF1 & M6 union collapses
Do not merge: Signs that the planned merger between TF1 and M6 was on the rocks began when TF1 CEO Gilles Pelisson said the “dream” was not shared by competition authorities in July. That prophecy came true this week, when it emerged that the deal had collapsed, with French competition authorities apparently unconvinced that a pairing would not have a significant impact on the market for local television advertising. A joint statement from TF1 and M6 said the French Competition Authority would only have been satisfied with the sale of one of the broadcasters’ channels – and there was never a realistic chance of that happening. M6 owner Bertelsmann, whose CEO Thomas Rabe is pictured, has responded by putting M6 up for sale, with Banijay owner Stephane Courbit, Vivendi, Mediawan and MediaForEurope all linked to potential deals. TF1 has proposed a succession plan, with French media veteran Rodolphe Belmer to replace Pelisson as CEO, the latter moving within parent group Bouygues. For the moment, however, M6 and TF1 must heal their wounds by wishing each other “farewell” and “good luck”.
Creative investors are getting thorny in San Sebastián
“Venice has sold its soul”: Zac Ntim speaks with this exclusive report from Spain — As always, San Sebastian boasts an outstanding lineup of intriguing titles such as Sebastián Lelio wondermentwith Florence Pugh, and the new reissued version by Alejandro González Iñárritu bardo, False chronicle of a handful of truths. Yet on the ground, all eyes were on the festival’s inaugural Creative Investor Conference, organized with CAA Media Finance. The conference was held at the imposing Tabakalera Cultural Arts Center and featured a series of keynote speeches by industry stalwarts. The hottest session of the conference featured a discussion between Wild Bunch co-founder Vincent Maraval and CAA Media Finance’s Roeg Sutherland. During the long session, the couple discussed the current state of the industry, during which Maraval gave his views on Netflix and its relationship with the Cannes and Venice film festivals. Calling it a “mistake”, he claimed that “the first four days of Venice are like the Netflix Film Festival – Ted Sarandos is on the red carpet greeting people. I think Venice has sold its soul to Netflix. In the together, the sessions were long but dynamic and often resulted in groundbreaking discussions about the issues that are hitting the film industry hard today.
Related review: Elsewhere, Deadline caught up with Domingo Corral, director of original fiction at Movistar Plus+, Spain’s largest pay-TV/SVOD operator. This year, the Telefonica-owned streamer screened two original TV series and a feature film in San Sebastian. Corral spoke about the company’s production strategy and how it competes with global streamers like Netflix and Disney+. Go further.
Count the cost of living
Help needed: Britain, it is fair to say, is facing the worst cost of living conditions in recent memory, with interest rates soaring as wages stagnate. This translates into the TV production industry, where costs have skyrocketed – creatives are understandably worried about making ends meet and looking for reassurance. My international TV partner in crime, Max, decided to push UK broadcasters over what they were doing to help, after Pact CEO John McVay said they needed to be ‘friendly’. So what did Max find? Well, Channel 4 is reviewing its commissioning rates and has increased its content budget by more than £50m ($56m), while ITV and Paramount-owned Channel 5 have said that they worked closely with their suppliers to ensure that the funding was sufficient. The BBC is reportedly unregistered, but appears to subscribe to a flexible cost model, which sits alongside its small independent and production management funds. After.
Na’vigating ‘Avatar’s Re-release
The Way of the Watchers: Disney has started the worldwide re-release of the original Avatar this week launching the mega-bucks spinner James Cameron in several European countries, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Philippines and Australia among others. The results were pretty good, as Nancy Tartaglione reported: in France, the 4k high dynamic range version was #1, grossing $513,000 and also took decent money in Saudi Arabia and Korea. The number one ranking was achieved in Belgium and the Philippines, as the film prepares to play on 8,000 screens offshore and in North America this month. How much of that was due to the reveal footage from the long-gestating sequel Avatar: The Way of the Water appears at the end of the movie can’t be known but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt. The way of the water begins rolling out on December 14, landing in North America two days later. More information on returning to Pandora here.
RIP Hilary Mantel: The beloved author behind the BBC period drama hall of wolves died at the age of 70, he revealed this morning. The author of several historical fiction books was named a Dame in 2014 for her contributions to literature and is the only woman to win the Booker Prize twice. I will miss her terribly.
🌶️ Hot One: CAA pulled off a coup by signing hyped director SS Rajamouli, whose box office RRR (Rise Roar Revolt) was India’s biggest hit of the year. Andreas broke this one.
🌶️ Another: Nick Frost (Warm fuzz) and Lena Headey (game of thrones) are about to retool for a comedy thriller Svaltaafter playing together Fighting With My Family.
🌶️ Very spicy: The highly acclaimed French feature film by Alice Diop Saint Omer secure distribution in many territories for Wild Bunch International. Melanie had the exclusive.
🌶️ More fire: Eight-figure action here, as Open Road Films buys US rights to Gerard Butler’s thriller Kandahar. Andreas with this one.
👩🏻💼 New job: Vice Studios boss Kate Ward is heading to BBC Studios to direct factual content.
🛫 To Mipcom: Keshet International nabs rights to ambitious Portuguese period drama Cuba LibreI revealed it on Tuesday.
❌ Refused: Bulgaria’s entry for the Oscars Motheras Deadline TV editor Nellie Andreeva wrote this week.
✅ Accepted: Iceland’s submission beautiful beingsindia Last movie session and that of Israel Cinema Sabaya.
Zachary Ntim contributed to this week’s Insider.