Wednesday, February 14, 2001

MILIA - A report on a new state of the industry

MILIA - the interactive content conference with a focus on broadband Internet, interactive TV, wireless and interactive entertainment - is a festival itself in the City of Festivals, Cannes. In past years, Silicon Alley's jet set flew out to rub shoulders with the international jet set, and this year was no exception. There were rows and rows of exhibit booths from companies around the world displaying their technology, CDs and services. There was a focus on educational CDs and interactive sites. Wireless companies held press conferences on new developments and made a huge impact on the major companies present. W-HA focused on new online payment solutions, and Vivendi-Universal officially launched their new portal, Gamegate is extending their reach into wireless, while TV and Electronic Arts' president and COO spoke on moving gaming online and across platforms. Infogrames, which also co-hosted one of the major cocktail parties of the show, hosted a press conference on "The Game Nation." The exhibition hall also had a Developers and Gaming area, where lots of people spent time playing and sharing tips.

For the second year running, Forrester coordinated the Think Tank Summit during the conference. This summit focused on an in-depth appraisal of the industry, with keynotes and panels on technology innovation and new business models. Forrester Research, USA's Vice President Mary Modahl spoke about serving your customers, and Bertelsmann ecommerce Group, Germany's, President and CEO Andreas Schmidt addressed the social impact of technology change. Panels on interactive content strategies and technology trends were the focus of discussion on Saturday, February 10th and in the afternoon the Start-Up competition featured 10 European startups vying for investment, service and technology partners. Among the lucky pitchers were France's La Cantoche Production CEO Benoit Morel, the Netherlands' Jaytown CEO Erik Spin and Germany's Net-Games AG CEO Jurgen Stehle.

No conference would be complete without a series of cocktail parties to keep all the busy networkers drunk and happy. Accenture hosted the Think.Tank Summit cocktail on Saturday at the Palais des Festivals. Vivendi Universal and Flipside took over the entire ground floor and outside grounds of l'hotel Majestic on Sunday, and Microsoft DirectX and Infogrames took over l'hotel Martinez on Tuesday. New York-based United Digital Artists co-produced their annual Net Zapping Festival, where 15 designers and developers have three minutes to show their wares and dazzle the audience. Monday iFinger and Toon8 hosted soirees at their booths, and each night Intel and WEM poured champagne for guests who stopped by their stand. Monday was also the night of the Eccsell (European Computer & Console Software Edutainment and Leisure Leaders) Awards, organized by Sell in partnership with GfK, Chart-Track and Game One. Awards were presented for best titles sold during the year 2000 and for the best publishers in terms of turnover for 2000. The competition categories were: video games, reference/leisure and edutainment. With all these activities, the thousands of attendees had more than their share of options for leisure and work. The 2001 MILIA conference was by far a smashing success, with impressive excitement during the days and nights, and one of the most beautiful locations in the world!