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Mega Hits Interactive Formats Shine’s Alex Mahon Prisoners of War’s Gideon Raff The Amazing Race’s Bertram van Munster www.tvformats.ws
MIPFORMATS & MIPTV EDITION THE MAGAZINE FOR THE FORMAT BUSINESS
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Armoza Formats • Family Time • The Gran Plan • Allenby Two new docu-reality formats can be found in the Armoza Formats catalogue.The first is Family Time, a factual-entertainment format that places a family together in an RV trailer to travel cross-country.The second is the coaching format The Gran Plan, which sees a set of seniors helping to solve the life problems of younger participants. “In today’s modern life, where, across the globe, the family unit can get so disconnected, Family Time offers a powerful social experiment that brings families back together,” says Avi Armoza, the CEO of Armoza Formats. “The Gran Plan allows us to bridge generation gaps and allows access to wisdom of the past in a humorous and feel-good way.” On the scripted side, Armoza is highlighting Allenby. The title is a gritty psychological drama that looks at the forbidden nightlife of Tel Aviv. “With the massive success of Allenby with local audiences and with a powerful story in a unique and forbidden setting, we believe that the international market will follow suit,” says Armoza.
“Our one clear rule when creating formats is that they must offer solutions to real human needs; this is what makes them globally accessible.” —Avi Armoza
Banijay International • The Illusionist • Opposite Worlds • Stars in Danger:The High Dive
In This Issue Mega Hits Analyzing the top five European formats
#Connected Social media and interactivity are key to formats’ success
Interviews Shine Group’s Alex Mahon
Prisoners of War’s Gideon Raff
The Amazing Race’s Bertram van Munster
Magic is a universal language, beloved by audiences around the globe. “Everyone loves a really amazing, can’t-believe-your-eyes illusion—but in order to really hook viewers, a magic-led show needs to be about more than just the tricks,” says Karoline Spodsberg, the managing director of Banijay International. “The Illusionist really fits this bill; it has all of the drama, suspense and excitement of the most successful entertainment and talent franchises, but is very fresh and offers something different.” Banijay International has already licensed Opposite Worlds and Stars in Danger: The High Dive for several international adaptations. Spodsberg says, “Stars in Danger:The High Dive has exploded in the last six months, having sold into nine territories since MIPCOM, everywhere from the U.S. to China,Turkey, Spain, Italy and across Northern Europe.The market was ready for a format like this. It is part of the hugely successful genre of shiny-floor entertainment formats, which continue to dominate prime-time schedules.”
“Big entertainment and reality formats continue to do well, so schedulers continue to commission these types of formats.” —Karoline Spodsberg
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Eccho Rights • Exit • My Way • Watch Out
Ricardo Seguin Guise Publisher Anna Carugati Editor Mansha Daswani Executive Editor Kristin Brzoznowski Managing Editor Joanna Padovano Associate Editor Simon Weaver Online Director
Alongside its strong catalogue of drama, Eccho Rights represents a mix of entertainment formats. This includes Exit, a game show about escaping from closed rooms by answering quiz questions and solving riddles. My Way is a singing competition where songs from legends are reborn through covers by upcoming stars. Watch Out is a panel comedy show in which comedians battle about TV-related issues. “The last few years have been a lot about character-driven docusoaps, and rather few entertainment formats have been developed,” says Mia Engström, Eccho Rights’ head of sales and acquisitions. “We believe in the return of strong formats, as a strong format franchise is an incredible ratings driver. A character-driven docusoap has a much shorter lifespan.” Of Eccho Rights’ overall goals, she says, “We are in the market to also invest in development, and believe in co-investing with format creators and broadcasters.”
“Our focus is on broad entertainment in prime time.” —Mia Engström
Victor L. Cuevas Production Director Phyllis Q. Busell Art Director Meredith Miller Production Associate Cesar Suero Sales & Marketing Director Vanessa Brand Sales & Marketing Manager Terry Acunzo Business Affairs Manager
Ricardo Seguin Guise President Anna Carugati Executive VP & Group Editorial Director Mansha Daswani Associate Publisher & VP of Strategic Development TV Formats © 2013 WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, #1207 New York, NY 10010 Phone: (212) 924-7620 Fax: (212) 924-6940 Website: www.tvformats.ws
Eyeworks International Distribution • Celebrity Splash • Obese • Sorry for Any Inconvenience The family-friendly Celebrity Splash watches wellknown stars competing in a diving competition in front of a packed audience.The celebrities attempt backflips, somersaults and other complicated dives from staggering heights to impress judges and athome viewers. Eyeworks International Distribution is licensing the rights for this format, making it available for any country to feature their own stars making a splash. “Looking back, we are less than seven months from the August 2012 launch of the inaugural version of Celebrity Splash in the Netherlands, and it is extremely noteworthy as to what we, and our broadcast partners around the globe, have been able to accomplish thus far,” says Jeff Goldman, the co-managing director of Eyeworks International Distribution. “Since January 5, versions of our highprofile family-entertainment format Celebrity Splash have launched in the U.K., France and Spain, to record-breaking numbers.” Versions in Ukraine, Finland and the Middle East will launch later this year.
“What’s most impressive is the list of broadcasters we have been fortunate to collaborate with; they truly are the crème de la crème.” —Jeff Goldman
Video interviews with leading executives in the business, trend pieces and the top five format news stories of the week—delivered to your inbox every Monday. For a free subscription, please visit www.worldscreen.com
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FremantleMedia • Everybody Dance Now • The Year of Making Love • The Intern The number one entertainment show in Holland so far this year, Everybody Dance Now has been a Friday night success on RTL 4. The format, on offer from FremantleMedia, is “guaranteed to get the country off their couches and onto the dance floor,” says Rob Clark, the company’s director of global entertainment development. “Taking dance mainstream, the new hit format from FremantleMedia’s Blue Circle in the Netherlands is for everyone who loves to bust a move; every age, every style, it’s for everybody!” FremantleMedia is also offering up TheYear of Making Love, a dating format that features a social experiment to uncover the science of compatibility between couples. The Intern is the ultimate job interview, as a successful business leader gives the opportunity of a lifetime to three career-driven hopefuls.
“Our shows are jampacked with audience appeal and cover a range of key genres.” Everybody Dance Now
Global Agency • Don’t Say It, Bring It! • Rivals in Law • The Legacy
The premise of Global Agency’s cooking format Rivals in Law is that a wife and mother-in-law compete to cook their husband/ son’s favorite dish, which he will later judge. In the on-the-spot game show Don’t Say It, Bring It!, contestants on the street are asked a question by a host, but instead of answering it with words, they must bring back the physical object that was alluded to.Also quizbased is The Legacy, which has an elimination twist. In it, the prize money accumulates among contestants but after each round the player leaving the game must pass their winnings to someone else. “Any international clients looking for quiz-show formats need to know about this one,” says Catherine Stryker, the head of sales at Global Agency. The Legacy has a strong track record with longstanding productions in France on TF1, among other territories.
“The Legacy has an excellent structure that is flexible enough to be tweaked for different productions.” —Catherine Stryker The Legacy
ITV Studios Global Entertainment • Saturday Night Takeaway • Boom Town • Keeping Your Nation Alive Hot on the heels of the success of The Audience, there’s a new show from The Garden that ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) is bringing to the market. KeepingYour Nation Alive is a factual event that focuses on the medical community. ITVS GE is also presenting Boom Town, in addition to the studio-based prime-time entertainment show Saturday Night Takeaway, which was a hit on ITV in the U.K. and also performed well internationally. “It feels like buyers are genuinely looking for something different that can change the direction of TV again, like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Big Brother and Pop Idol did a decade ago,” says Mike Beale, the director of international formats at ITV Studios. He believes that broadcasters may be able to find exactly this in the ITVS GE catalogue.
“Europe continues to be an excellent market for formats.” Boom Town 198 World Screen 4/13
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he top 50 European formats generated a value of $2 billion in 2011—and well over $800 million of that total was produced by just five U.K.-originated properties: Come Dine with Me, The Money Drop, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, Dancing with the Stars and Got Talent. The news, revealed in the latest TV Formats in Europe report—co-authored by the U.K.’s Essential Television Statistics, Madigan Cluff and Digital TV Research—raises questions every format player would like to hear answered: what makes a superformat? Is there an X factor? And how do these global franchises keep performing season after season after season? DINING IN
With 4,126 hours produced and a value of $217.4 million, ITV Studios Global Entertainment’s (ITVS GE) Come Dine with Me was by far the top performing European TV format in the survey, trouncing its nearest rival, Endemol’s The Money Drop, by 3,511 hours and $46.2 million. And those are just two in a long list of envy-inducing statistics. Come Dine with Me, now on air in 36 territories and counting, continues to draw massive audiences. It was up 83 percent on W Network Canada’s prime-time average in 2012; outperformed Channel 4 U.K.’s slot average by 65 percent in 2011, and consistently wins its time slot on Sweden’s TV4. Not bad for a little dinner-party contest that launched on Channel 4 in 2005 with a view to amusing older audiences.
“Which it did,” says Mike Beale, the director of international formats at ITV Studios. “But they found it was also pulling in a much younger audience, so it was being endorsed by the whole of the U.K.’s viewing population.” Before long, Come Dine with Me was also being endorsed by the viewers of M6 in France and VOX in Germany. Both broadcasters’ access prime-time schedules were filled with drama,“but they found this small factual-entertainment show was pulling in the same audiences—at a lower cost,” Beale adds.The good news spread. Local versions were soon on air across Europe—Western and Eastern—Scandinavia, North America and the Middle East. Globo in Brazil bought the format in 2012, marking its first foray into Latin America.And this year sees the launch of the first Asian production on STAR TV in India. In Australia, the format is in its fourth season on The LifeStyle Channel on FOXTEL. Beale believes Come Dine with Me’s appeal is rooted in the universal phenomenon of nosiness—the irresistible desire to see what your neighbors are doing and how they are doing it. “People like the chance to snoop around other people’s houses and show off their homes and cooking skills,” he says. This may explain why the show is even a hit in Turkey, where there is no culture of the pot-luck dinner. “The format was deemed extremely risky at the start,” Beale adds, “but they are now hitting nearly 1,000 episodes.” Come Dine with Me averages around 120 episodes a year, or two seasons of 12 weeks, in most territories. Beale says that
TV Formats analyzes the top five European formats, exploring what goes into making a global hit. By Joanna Stephens ITVS GE’s Come Dine with Me on The LifeStyle Channel in Australia.
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while the basic show “recipe” is sacrosanct, the format is kept fresh with tweaks and special weeks. For example, M6 in France, which has now passed the 2,000-episode mark, used the show to launch a national healthy-eating campaign. The brand is also bolstered in the U.K. and France by merchandise programs spanning mobile, publishing and promotional tie-ins, as well as tableware, kitchenware, utensils, accessories and games. “And we’re looking into the potential for social activity around both the cooking and dining elements of the show,” adds Trudi Hayward, ITVS GE’s senior VP and global head of merchandise. COINING A TREND
Hungry for money: Since its 2010 launch, The Money Drop has become one of Endemol’s biggest hits, with a client base that includes Antena 3 in Spain, where it airs as Atrapa un Millón.
The youngest member of the European formats superleague, Endemol’s The Money Drop, has enjoyed a meteoric rise since it launched on Channel 4 in May 2010 as The Million Pound Drop. The TV Formats in Europe report found that the white-knuckle game show, in which contestants can win a million in cash or walk away empty-handed, was screened for 615 hours in 2011, generating $171.2 million in value. But according to David Flynn, the managing director of the Endemol production company Remarkable Television—and creator and executive producer of the concept—it was clear from the get-go that The Money Drop was that rarest of TV beasts: an instant prime-time hit. “We sold it to Channel 4 very quickly,” he recalls.“We did a basic run-through for them with a cardboard box and a stack of pound coins. That was at the end of 2009 and we were in production by January 2010.”
Even before the show launched in the U.K., international interest was mounting, both within the Endemol group and among Europe’s key broadcasters. Indeed, Endemol France was in production with a pilot for TF1 six days after the show’s Channel 4 debut. By the end of 2010, it had rolled out into the U.S., Germany, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Hungary and Greece, with more buyers coming on board by the week.Today, The Money Drop has been sold to 45 territories, from Norway to Nigeria. It has passed the 100-episode milestone in the U.K. and is into multiple series in, among other places, Turkey, Russia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, France and Germany. It is, in other words, a good old-fashioned global hit. Only there’s nothing old-fashioned about it. Social media is at the hub of the BAFTA-winning concept, with contestants recruited on Facebook and Twitter, and viewers at home integrated into the action via play-along and second-screen games.At the last count, well over 30 million games had been played on PCs, smartphones and tablets by some 18 million people across 15 territories. In less than one month in the U.K. alone, there were more than 1 million downloads for The Money Drop iOS app. But if The Money Drop’s execution is thoroughly modern, its inspiration was anything but. Flynn remembers the day the muse struck: “I had to pay for something in cash and I suddenly realized we don’t touch money very much these days. It got me thinking that game shows don’t use real cash—just a figure on a screen. I thought it would be much more powerful to actually have the money there in the studio, because real money has a strange alchemy.” The next moment of inspiration was the decision to break the game-show rule that states the prize pot must increase with success. Flynn’s twist is that contestants start off with £1 million and then proceed to lose it over the course of the show. “I love the fact the money becomes more valuable psychologically as the finish line comes closer. That sense of the money increasing in value even as it decreases is fascinating,” he adds. Flynn calls The Money Drop “one of the new generation of formats” in that it has been designed to evolve, unlike the classic game-show formats of yesterday, which were built for exact replication. “My instinct is that it’s really important to keep surprising audiences,” he says. “That means trying new things, learning lessons in one territory and applying them to others, borrowing techniques from reality, adding variations to the core concept.... In the end, it has to feel like an event, so we’ll do whatever we can to make it special.” QUIZ TIME
Nobody could call Europe’s third most valuable format, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, next-generation, but as the “game show that helped define the game show in the modern era,” to quote Keith Le Goy, Sony Pictures Television’s (SPT) president of international distribution, it doesn’t have 204 World Screen 4/13
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to be. It is also still doing the business— $165.2 million of it in 2011, according to the TV Formats in Europe report—nearly 15 years after it launched on ITV1 in September 1998. So how did a U.K. quiz become a worldwide cultural phenomenon, spawn 119 versions in 88 languages, inspire an Oscar-winning movie in the form of Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire and embed itself so deeply into the global consciousness, that, as Le Goy says, “audiences from Buenos Aires to Brussels to Beijing know the meaning of ‘phone a friend’”? Colman Hutchinson, the creative director at Boxatricks who, as head of entertainment at Celador, executive produced five seasons of Millionaire, puts it like this: “I think it’s probably as close to the perfect format as you can get. In all the years I was involved with Millionaire, I never found a flaw. In terms of game play, it’s watertight—and it’s also great drama. Watching somebody make a huge, lifechanging amount of money in front of your eyes is compelling television; and so is watching somebody lose a huge amount of life-changing money. When Millionaire is good, it’s very, very good.” For the first eight years of its life, Millionaire was produced by Celador. The U.K. production company was acquired by 2waytraffic in 2006, which was in turn acquired by SPT in 2008. SPT now owns and distributes Millionaire. Le Goy says there are still eager buyers for the evergreen format, the latest additions to the “Millionaire club” being Afghanistan, Cambodia and the Ivory Coast. “It also enjoys fantastic renewal rates, with many countries now into double figures,” he adds. “Around 30 versions of Millionaire are on air at any one time.” In terms of keeping the brand engaging and relevant, Le Goy cites live episodes, celebrity charity specials and the spinoff Millionaire Hot Seat, currently one of the top-rating shows on Nine Network in Australia. “The first live broadcast of Millionaire in the U.K.—at Christmas 2010—trounced all opposition, with nearly 7 million viewers and a 26-percent audience share,” he says. Then, of course, there are the countless console, website and board games, mobile apps, books and DVDs, all of which reflect and reinforce Millionaire’s super-brand status.“Likewise, social media has given our partners around the world a new route to build up significant fan communities,” Le Goy adds. Hutchinson calls Millionaire the first “wildfire format.” It was, he maintains, the show that pioneered the way for the likes of Idol and Strictly Come Dancing. “It proved that, if you have a really good show, the world will want to watch it.” SHALL WE DANCE?
Fitting that description to the last pointed toe and sequined frock is the fourth show on the TV Formats in Europe ranking: Strictly Come Dancing, the jewel in the BBC’s light-entertainment crown. Known internationally as Dancing with the Stars (DWTS), the show made its debut on BBC One in May 2004. That was rapidly followed by launches across Europe. It has now waltzed into 43 countries, from China to Chile.
Most spectacular has been its success in the U.S., where it premiered on ABC in 2005. Now in its 16th season, DWTS continues to be the network’s most-watched entertainment show, commanding live viewing audiences for its recent AllStars edition of 16.5-million-plus for the finale. “The continuing success of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing is a key factor in making the format so desirable to international broadcasters,” says Richard Halliwell, BBC Worldwide’s commercial director for DWTS. He adds that Strictly, now in its tenth season, was the U.K.’s highest-rated program of 2012, excluding one-offs such as the Olympics, Euro 2012 and the Diamond Jubilee Concert. DWTS’s appeal, Halliwell believes, lies in its warmth and accessibility. “It really is all about the dance,” he says. “It provides a unique opportunity to see supremely confident stars at the very height of their profession thrown in at the deep end. From the moment they walk into that rehearsal room, they are no longer in control. From then on, it’s a rollercoaster ride. The viewer really does go on a journey with the contestant as they progress through the competition.” Halliwell says he is conscious, and encouraging, of the cultural differences that give rise to variations in DWTS’s local incarnations.“This drives innovation and experimentation,” he adds. “By any measure, our U.S. production is huge and the show is also broadcast twice a year. Much innovation is therefore driven from here and exported to our other productions.” When it comes to consumer products, BBC Worldwide remains cautious. “DWTS is not really a souvenir brand,” Halliwell observes. “This is event TV. It’s special and of the moment and viewers don’t necessarily want reminders once the event has culminated.” Exceptions to the rule are DVDs recapping past seasons, cosmetics designed by the U.K. show’s make-up artist, and a line of eveningwear in the U.S. “Anything we do has to feel authentic and demonstrate a genuine connection with the show,” Halliwell adds.“And yes,” he admits,“we have done self-tan.” The live-event space is also booming, with more than 2 million tickets sold to a DWTS performance. Also proving popular are Strictly Cruises, which BBC Worldwide launched in the U.K. last year in partnership with P&O Cruises. 4/13 World Screen 205
Talent hounds: FremantleMedia’s Got Talent has been seen by more than 400 million viewers in 50-plus territories.
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So what’s the next step for DWTS? Halliwell says an online social game is currently in beta mode, and that the BBC is exploring new camera technology, specifically 360-degree cameras that can be controlled by the viewer to follow, for example, the backstage action or the judges’ deliberations. On the commercial front, new funding models are also moving up the agenda. In January, the first ad-funded version launched on Channel 7 Thailand in association with the Amari Hotel Group. “We’ve seen other production companies and formats take advantage of these alternative funding models across Asia and South America in particular,” Halliwell says. “That’s something we are looking to replicate.” HOUSE OF TALENT
FremantleMedia/Syco Entertainment’s Got Talent has been watched by some 460 million viewers in 54 territories. According to Eurodata TV Worldwide, it was the best performing format in the world in 2011 and has bagged 40 number one spots, either in terms of territory or channel, since it launched in 2006. And it shows no sign of slowing down. In 2012, it was the U.K.’s number one entertainment series and in the U.S. the number one summer series for the sixth consecutive year. Last year also saw it launch on TV ONE New Zealand; and Citytv Canada, where its debut episode outperformed the channel’s prime-time average by 242 percent. Interestingly, however, Got Talent did not enjoy a particularly auspicious start. Rob Clark, FremantleMedia’s director of global entertainment development, admits that the initial ITV pilot, which took the form of a stand-alone talent show, “really didn’t
rock anybody’s boat.” He adds,“At the time, everybody was saying that variety was dead.We thought they were wrong, but that we hadn’t made the right kind of variety show.” The turning point was the decision to reinvent the format as an interactive talent search rather than a talent showcase. FremantleMedia sold the concept to the U.S., where America’s Got Talent launched triumphantly on NBC in June 2006. A year later, the revamped format was back on ITV in the U.K., carrying all before it and “ticking every box you could possibly want for a launch around the world,” Clark notes. And around the world it duly went, delighting audiences from Asia to Africa, from Latin America to the Benelux. “Some formats work well in the U.S. and Europe,” Clark says. “But Got Talent just works for everyone, everywhere. Geographically, there’s nothing patchy about its success.” Clark says it has been a case of evolution rather than revolution in terms of keeping the format fresh and enjoying “the highest renewal rates of any show I’ve ever had my sticky paws on.”The judging lineup is changed regularly and talent “disciplines” that prove popular in one territory—Eastern European-style gymnastics, for example—are fed through to others. Live shows also play a big part in keeping audiences engaged, as does YouTube, which has logged well over 2 billion hits for Got Talent acts. Got Talent, Clark believes, is the ultimate family show. “It’s reinvented a traditional art form—variety—as a modern TV show. People love seeing a stand-up comedian followed by an opera singer, a ballet dancer and a bloke who can play the piano fantastically. It’s a laugh, but it can also be very moving and emotional. I love watching it and I’ve loved watching it grow around the world.”
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Global Agency’s Mom Vote for Me.
#Connected By Juliana Koranteng
Social media and interactivity are central to the success of a slew of format brands.
audiences’ demand for nonlinear 360-degree formats is higher than ever. Formats with passionate fan bases, especially those with strong opinions about real people fulfilling dreams of fame and fortune, lend themselves well to multiplatform exploitation.This leads to producers creating all-encompassing, 24/7 extensions of their original shows for digital distribution.They reach fans anytime, anywhere and virtually anyhow, thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media networks. Various analysts predict universal growth of connected digital devices. ReportLinker, for example, estimates that the number of tablets will grow at an annual rate of nearly 40 percent to 249 million units globally by the end of 2015. It also predicts that the number of smartphones will rise to exceed 1 billion units during the same period.This trend has led to the second-screen and social-TV phenomena. Internationally, more viewers use the Internet to find extra related content, share it with friends during a live show’s transmission and afterwards, and stay in touch with other fans in between seasons. “What we do is create a broader digital environment around our formats,” says Peter Cassidy, the managing director of FremantleMedia UK Interactive, whose team is responsible for creating the digital offshoots for some of Britain’s most popular formats, including The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. 208 World Screen 4/13
“You’ve got the core TV program on Saturday night, but there are other touchpoints for the fan. Be they websites with short clips, photos or mobile apps, they give audiences access to behind-the-scenes information and enable them to interact with the show and see what their friends are doing on Facebook or Twitter during and after the show.” The digital extensions of the original X Factor and Got Talent are high-quality content in their own right.They focus on backstage interviews, gossip, fashion tips and other material not seen in the live show. LEARNING CURVE
With digital entertainment being a relatively young genre, producers have needed to learn along the way. In 2009, long before the South Korean music video “Gangnam Style” reached more than 1 billion YouTube views, there was Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent. The footage featuring her audition as the unknown Plain Jane singing with the voice of an angel was that year’s most-watched YouTube video, with more than 120 million views. Realizing the infinite revenue-generating possibilities branded digital content could offer the show’s producers, Simon Cowell’s Syco TV and Cassidy’s division at FremantleMedia formed partnerships with brand owners to create dedicated
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Second-screen savvy: Talpa’s hit format The Voice is accompanied by a variety of social media extensions in the Netherlands, a model that has been replicated around the world.
sponsored YouTube channels. For The X Factor, these include the Samsung Video Diaries, Backstage with TalkTalk (the U.K. telecom company), Rimmel Glam Cam with the beauty brand, and TRESemmé X Factor Salon with the hair care brand. A dedicated Facebook page for The X Factor in the U.K. has 6.6 million–plus likes; the show also has 2.9 million Twitter followers. This relentless demand for all-things X Factor requires producers to post video clips online within 30 minutes of an episode airing. They also manage the Facebook pages of the show’s contestants and judges, some of whom sell their own music and merchandise via those platforms. In all, the U.K. X Factor’s related YouTube videos have had almost 1.5 billion views, with more than two-thirds of viewers coming from outside the U.K. “This opens up all sorts of possibilities, socially and creatively,” Cassidy adds. LOUD & CLEAR
The Voice, which was conceived by Talpa Media and has been sold globally, is another talent competition that has amassed a strong social media following. The brand has more than 13 million Facebook fans, 3.5 million–plus Twitter followers and about 500 million YouTube views worldwide. This is quite an achievement for a format that is only about two years old. Sjoerd Demaret, the manager of digital media at Talpa, attributes The Voice’s already extensive reach as a brand to social media. Underpinning Talpa’s 360-degree strategy for the format is the following formula: connect, to ensure viewers are familiar with the show; interact, by starting a dialogue with the fans to encourage their feedback and desire to go back for more; and redirect, by pointing fans to extensions of the brands, including music downloads and concert tickets. In the Netherlands,Talpa worked with broadcast partner RTL on a website called The Voice Experience. By the time The Voice launched, awareness of the brand was already widespread. Additionally, they incorporated Facebook and Twitter into the online audition technology used to select contestants.This enabled contenders to share their auditions and the site’s visitors to rate their performances; meanwhile the talent coaches also spread the word on their own social media pages and websites. The producers then encouraged fans to form online communities dedicated to their favorite performers. Specially appointed 210 World Screen 4/13
“V reporters” interviewed anyone associated with the show for exclusive inside gossip, news and backstage interviews. A similar fan-engagement strategy has been applied to Shopping Monsters, a style format from Global Agency that debuted on Turkey’s Kanal D in February 2011. First, the multiplatform edition of the show was a hit with fans in the domestic market, says Catherine Stryker, Global Agency’s head of sales. “The show’s web page had an area where viewers could post photos of their own mini-makeovers and receive comments from others. Some photos got hundreds of thousands of hits! A game app was made, and the show has a well-used Twitter feed, numerous YouTube videos posted, a Facebook page and other forums.” That experience was then shared with clients abroad. Productions in Germany (VOX), Russia (CTC), the Netherlands (RTL) and other territories “are using the same means to communicate with their audiences about the upcoming shows,” Stryker says. Social media strategies are also being used for other Global Agency brands, such as Mom Vote for Me. At Red Arrow International, Henrik Pabst, the senior VP of format acquisition, has seen firsthand how a TV brand and social media can work hand-in-hand. “When Betty White’s Off Their Rockers [the American version of Benidorm Bastards] premiered on NBC, it reached number six in the worldwide Twitter trend [chart] and its trailer scored more than 91,000 views onYouTube within three days.” It was also a hit on air for NBC. NEW FRONTIERS
To capitalize on the rising importance of social media platforms, Avi Armoza, the CEO and founder of Armoza Formats, launched a dedicated digital division. But even before that, the company had been inspired to produce a variety of multiplatform shows. The Real Chat House enhanced what participants could do by combining the real and virtual worlds using augmented reality. The intimacy between contestants in the reality dating show 24/7 Love Lab could be evoked by showing the private SMS texts that they sent to each other. There is also the Facebookintegrated app for the international hit show Still Standing. “This is an exciting time, which brings the interesting challenges of creating a new generation of entertainment for-
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Framing the issue: The phenomenon of binge-viewing has driven the success of Armoza’s cult-classic scripted format The Arbitrator.
mats,” Armoza says. “We recently used social media in the cross-platform scripted format Restart. In the show, each character had their own Facebook page on which they posted material not included in the aired product. This created a stronger interaction with viewers who often thought these characters were real. With Israel’s combination of creative and technological advancements, we feel especially ready to meet these challenges head-on.” One such technology is the cloud-based online casting system eTribez, by the U.S.-Israeli company of the same name. Its usage is said to slash the cost of laborious casting, auditions and contestant selection. TREND WATCH
Taking matters one step further, Armoza has started using the data garnered from fans’ opt-in use of social media to create a new (still undisclosed) show that will be unveiled at this year’s MIPTV. “Social media is too powerful to ignore. As a company, we are using social media to understand what people want to watch,” he says. Another leading Israeli outfit embracing the 360-degree approach is Keshet Media Group. Titles such as A Star is Born (Israel’s Idol), Prisoners of War, the local edition of MasterChef, the new talent show Master Class and the big-money quiz show 50 Things You Have To Know incorporate 360-degree thinking. “Every show we develop, whether it’s factual or scripted, always has a digital component, including microsites, mobile apps and games,” states Alon Shtruzman, Keshet International’s managing director. “We also develop formats which have an integrated second-screen element such as 50 Things You Have To Know, where the audience can participate from home during the live show.” For the new season of A Star is Born, Keshet allowed fans to create “mash-ups” of their own videos with clips from the show. “We always look for new ways to take what our fans create online and broadcast it on live TV, which then 212 World Screen 4/13
truly creates a 360-degree experience,” notes Adi Guy, Keshet’s head of social media. WHAT’S NEXT?
Peter Cowley, the CEO and founder of Spirit digital media, a division of Content Media Corp., believes that the current 360degree multiplatform achievements represent the beginnings of what is ultimately possible. “Currently, people develop multiplatform content to promote a show, to enhance a story by telling it in a different way, or to make money,” says Cowley, whose company also manages social media and develops apps and widgets for its clients. “I think [multiplatform content] is still growing up and that we’re at least five years away from having a proper mature sector that generates enough money for TV commissioners to get their hands dirty with. After all, why distract their attention away from the big shows, which are still making more money?” Broadcasters love format shows structured around fans’ votes because each vote generates income, Cowley says.There is much more revenue potential on the horizon, he notes, as major advertisers shift more of their budgets into the digital-media space. As such, accurate analytics are crucial. Producers are already using social media to test an audience’s response to a new show before determining how to change, evolve or develop the story line. Once those yardsticks establish metrics that can be measured, the money-making opportunities will soar, Cowley predicts. For example, Nielsen, the U.S. TV-ratings measurement group, has joined forces with Twitter to calculate the social buzz around a TV program. In fact, as audience measurement across different platforms improves, broadcasters will be able to charge higher rates, not because the TV ratings of their shows are necessarily high, but because the amount of social chatter associated with them is. As Red Arrow’s Pabst points out: “There is an incredible variety of online applications that can be used as digital extensions to TV programs.The crucial element is to find the extension that fits your program perfectly.”
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is a universality to that, which means the show works everywhere, from India to Croatia. And because it’s not a cooking show, we never give out a recipe on the show, it’s quite authentic; it’s about how the contestants transform through the show, what their aspirations are, and what they can do that perhaps they never thought they could do in the first place. Nowadays, the shows that are really working are very authentic and what’s not working are shows that are over-manipulated, or over-produced or where the viewer feels perhaps cheated. We’ve hit our moment with MasterChef. We’ve touched people’s hearts and minds in each country we’ve done MasterChef because viewers see normal people making huge strides for places they never believed they would be in their lives. TV FORMATS: Tell us about Shine’s deal with Nigel Lythgoe. MAHON: He knows we are completely focused on the biggest
Alex Mahon By Anna Carugati
Shine Group produces and sells some of the most successful global formats, and they offer something for everyone: MasterChef sets out to find the best amateur chefs; The Biggest Loser offers seriously overweight contestants an opportunity to transform not only their bodies but also their lives; Got to Dance searches for the best dancers; and the game show Minute to Win It puts contestants to the test with nerve-wracking challenges. As Alex Mahon, the CEO of the Shine Group, explains, the keys to successful formats are unique concepts, authenticity and great talent.
TV FORMATS: Tell us about Shine’s new show, The Face. MAHON: It will be one of the shows we will launch at MIPTV.
We started with a pre-Fashion Week casting event in New York, prior to the show’s launch on February 12. The Face airs on Oxygen but its premiere was road-blocked [aired simultaneously] on Oxygen, Bravo and Style, at 9 p.m., which is the first time they have ever done that, and that is an example of the channel’s faith in the show. The Face has Naomi Campbell, Karolina Kurkova and Coco Rocha as supermodel coaches looking to find the newest face for a high street brand. It’s hosted by photographer Nigel Barker, who was a judge on America’s Next Top Model. To get someone as spectacular as Naomi Campbell on the show is another example of the high-class and top-tier talent that we tend to go after. TV FORMATS: What has made MasterChef so successful? MAHON: It’s on in almost 50 countries now. At the heart of it is
the fact that cooking is part of the culture of any country. As opposed to singing or dancing competition shows, you don’t have to get up and sing or dance every day. But all of us have to get up and either eat or cook—you pretty much can’t get away without doing that every day! But equally, food and recipes are very close to the heart and mind and culture of every country, so there 214 World Screen 4/13
shiny-floor studio shows of the highest quality and caliber. I think what he was excited about was coming into a place that is quite entrepreneurial, quite nimble, quite fast-paced and quite excited about rolling out shows internationally. So working with someone like Nigel is huge for us because he is an on-screen star and he is a creator and he believes in global talent hits. We’ve got quite a few shows in development with him. He is quite typical of the people we go after—big talent and people we believe are best in class. TV FORMATS: What has made The Bridge such a successful scripted format? MAHON: The Bridge is a really interesting example of how a scripted concept can travel and remain unique.We did it in Sweden, between Sweden and Denmark, and now we are making it between France and the U.K. and between the U.S. and Mexico with FX. It’s a brilliant, simple conceit for creating a multilayered story across two countries. In each of the places where we are doing it, the opening scene is a body on a bridge that is on the border between two countries and a body is laying over the border line, so when they come to pick up the body it’s in two halves. It’s a story about how two police forces from two different countries have to work together. And each time we do it comes a stand-alone story with a different cultural impact and different factors to it, so that in France and the U.K., [where the show is called The Tunnel], there is a very different direction to it. The version with the U.S. and Mexico, it’s so current because it’s got the whole world of the narco-trafficking on the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez and it’s darker because it’s for FX. It’s exciting to see how with a scripted rollout you can carve something completely different for different countries. TV FORMATS: Are you seeing a demand for formats that can live on multiple screens? MAHON: There is a demand for the second-screen opportunity. We all sit in front of the TV with our iPhone and want extra content about a show or wonder, how can I find out more about this? Once something is expected by viewers it naturally becomes part of shows. We have yet to see an outstanding scripted format that really works for a two-screen experience. And I still have questions in my mind as to whether we as viewers want a co-viewing experience while watching a drama, or do we want to wait to get additional content or information after watching a drama episode. I don’t know if that is generational, but we as an industry haven’t been able to make that work yet.
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covered from talking to [former prisoners of war] and their psychologists and their children and their wives and their communities is that sometimes coming back home is the beginning of the journey, not the end of it. For some of them it was a harder experience than captivity itself. There are specific mental diseases that afflict them. There are specific physical diseases. There are types of cancer that attack a high percentage of prisoners of war. There are very high percentages of divorce. There’s an inability to hold a job. Any kind of structure or authority immediately re-creates [the feeling of] captivity. When I came into the process I thought the torture and the physical hardship was really the most scarring thing, but I’ve discovered from talking to them that it’s not. It’s actually the loneliness. The not knowing if that door is ever going to open again, if you’re ever going to see your family again, if anybody knows you are still alive and is waiting [for you]. Hezi Shai, who was held for four and a half years in Lebanon, said to me that when that door finally did open, even though he knew he was going to be taken out to interrogation and be tortured and his fingernails were probably going to be pulled out, he was happy for the human interaction.
Prisoners of War ’s
Gideon Raff By Mansha Daswani
Writers, directors and producers from around the world dream of coming to Hollywood and making it big. Gideon Raff spent nine years in Tinseltown working a variety of gigs—including serving as a director’s assistant on Doug Liman’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith and directing two feature films—but, ironically, his biggest success would come after he returned home to his native land of Israel. Commissioned by Keshet, Prisoners of War (Hatufim) made its debut in 2010 and became Israel’s highest-rated drama of all time. It also proved to be creative manna for Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, who, in conjunction with Raff, reversioned the show for Showtime as Homeland. Raff, who will be taking part in a session at MIPTV with Gordon, shares with TV Formats how Prisoners of War was adapted into one of America’s hottest shows.
TV FORMATS: What was the inspiration for Prisoners of War? RAFF:The moment I came up with the idea I was absolutely
shocked that no one had done it before in Israel. That was part of my curiosity—why had no one done it? What are we so afraid of? In my research I discovered a world of drama that nobody had tapped into. There are about 1,500 former prisoners of war who live in Israel. We know a lot about their time in captivity. We know a lot about the campaign to get them back. Nobody talks about what happens to them from the moment they’re back home. The idea of making a show where they return in the first episode, not the last one, was a bit innovative in Israel. We take to the streets when we have prisoners of war, we demand their return, we fight to get the boys back, the government pays a very high price for their return. And I think we need a happy ending, which rarely happens.What I’ve dis216 World Screen 4/13
TV FORMATS: There are so many sensitive scenes between
the ex-POWs and their families in Prisoners of War.What kind of atmosphere do you work to create on set to bring out the best in your actors? RAFF: As a director, my main concern is creating an atmosphere where the actors feel safe enough to go very, very far. Sometimes too far, and then you tone them down! In the first few weeks of shooting the first season, in between scenes, whenever the actors that played Nimrod and Uri [the POWs that return home] were on the set, we would put them in dark rooms, of course alone, until they were called.The actors themselves lost a lot of weight [for the roles]. I adore my cast for trusting in me so much. TV FORMATS: How did your partnership with Keshet evolve? RAFF: I was living in Los Angeles. I came [to the U.S.] for my
graduate degree in directing in 2001 and was planning on staying for two years, but fairly soon started working as Doug Liman’s assistant on Mr. & Mrs. Smith and that led to a feature and another feature and before I knew it I was in Los Angeles for nine years and I was looking for my way back home. I met with Avi Nir, the CEO of Keshet, who wanted to collaborate with me and I really wanted to collaborate with him. He told me, send me an idea. I said, I’ve been working on something.And he goes,“I hope it’s a sitcom.” And I said, It’s not really! [Laughs] I sent him three pages describing Prisoners of War. He took them with him [on the flight back to Israel] and when he landed he called and said, “Start writing.” I couldn’t be luckier. Keshet is probably the best home for a creator, ever.They are a bunch of collaborative, smart, creative people; they respect you as a creator and you respect them as your support. I’ve just had the best experience with them. TV FORMATS: What differences have you found between
working in Hollywood and in Israel? RAFF: Our markets are so different in size. There’s something
very free, maybe even politics free, in Israel.When I have a question, and it could be 11 p.m. and I’m debating between writing the scene this way or that way, I can call Avi and he’ll take the call! It’s not that my partners in the U.S. wouldn’t do that,
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but it’s a little more structured [in the U.S.]… a lot more chefs in the kitchen. That’s positive and negative. We don’t have TV seasons per se, and you have the freedom to play with subject matters and formats and the length of episodes in a way you can’t [in the U.S.] And the difference in budgets is astounding. TV FORMATS: How did the discussions about an American
adaptation begin? RAFF: Avi Nir pitched it to Rick Rosen at WME and Rick said,
I love this idea and I have the perfect partners for you. I translated the pilot episode to English and sent it to Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa. They read it, they loved it and they asked me to translate the rest of the series, and I did. It took me about five days to translate the whole thing. I was so excited that Howard and Alex were into it that I just didn’t sleep! [Laughs] Then we started meeting in Los Angeles and discussing the differences between our cultures and how to best adapt this story to America. I told them, I wrote this show during the Iraq war and during the Afghanistan war and I never saw pictures of coffins on the news. American prisoners of war were never discussed on a national level. Most of my educated, savvy, political friends here in America don’t know that there’s an American prisoner of war right now with the Taliban who has been there for almost three years. In Israel, [prisoners of war are] a huge issue. Israel negotiates for their prisoners of war, so [the prisoners in the Israeli series] came back after a long negotiation.The U.S. does not negotiate with terrorists, and that’s why Brody [Homeland’s returned POW] was released in a military operation. The focus of Homeland is very much on the interrogation; it’s very much on the thriller. In the Israeli show, the family drama is just as important as the secrets they are hiding. TV FORMATS: How do you convey suspense in those scenes that are more about the family drama and less about the action? RAFF: There’s a lot of suspense in a woman who has been waiting for her husband for so many years, heading the campaign for his return, and then finding herself with a complete stranger at
home.There’s a lot of suspense in kids who are supposed to feel this happiness upon the return of their father, but it’s a guy they don’t know. And of course there’s a lot of tension in trying to deceive a prisoner of war [about whether his wife has waited for him]. I based this on a few real cases—when some prisoners of war came back, the women they loved were asked to pretend that they were still there for them, even for a few days, just to have them settle in before they were given the bad news.Those secrets and lies and the thoughts that are happening behind the eyes and that unpredictability of the characters creates a lot of suspense. TV FORMATS: What are you hearing from American viewers that have now been able to watch Prisoners of War on Hulu? RAFF: It’s so fascinating because I’m so used to Israelis who saw Prisoners of War and then saw Homeland. Prisoners of War is now available in most of the world, in its original language, on prime-time television in Spain and France and Australia. I’m getting comments from all over the world saying how they were moved and they cried and they now see Homeland in a different light. Some people compare [the two shows] and say [Prisoners of War] is deeper and some say it’s slower. They are similar enough and different enough to enjoy them both. TV FORMATS: Israel has a very hot market now in terms of its
format-export business. Do you think that its small size has allowed it to take more risks with new concepts? RAFF: That’s a huge part of it. It’s also because whenever an Israeli creates a show, he’s competing with American shows and European shows. The Israeli viewer is watching Mad Men and Breaking Bad and Homeland. We’re competing with shows that are made for so much more money, so we have to be very, very creative. It could be playing with a new format, like an In Treatment, or it could be in tackling a subject matter that was never tackled before that’s very controversial, like in Prisoners of War. I also think it’s because the West and Israel share a sensibility. We share values and the way we look at the world and that’s why you can find ideas that are adaptable.
Coming home: Beyond its U.S. adaptation, Prisoners of War is being developed for the Russian market, and has also been sold widely in its original form by Keshet International.
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It’s been ten years since the Primetime Emmy Awards began presenting the outstanding realitycompetition program category. Since then, The Amazing Race has won that honor nine times. Created by Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri, the series follows teams of two as they race across the globe and participate in challenges inspired by local cultures, with cameras capturing the bickering and breakdowns along the way. Its U.S. success has inspired a host of international versions, including pan–Asia, pan–Latin America, China, Australia, France, and, most recently, Canada. In between his globetrotting adventures, van Munster spoke to TV Formats about the show’s longevity, and why it has such broad international appeal.
TV FORMATS: What do you look for when you’re scouting
locations and devising challenges? VAN MUNSTER: I take a map of the city and I see where
everything is. I see how logistically it all makes sense. Logistics, emotions, humor, all the aspects that are part of a fun reality show—how can we fit them into this 44-minute box? The other thing is, every show is completely different from the one before. So one day we’re in Bangladesh and the next we’re in London; we go to extremes. We go from Siberia, where it’s bitterly cold, where we have them run a marathon in their bathing suits, down to the hottest place in Africa. Juxtapose all these moments and then tie that in with exhaustion and [the effects of eating unfamiliar] food and not having enough sleep, and you get more and more drama and more and more stories that way. TV FORMATS: How are you able to capture contestants’ genuine emotions? Do they forget that the cameras are there? VAN MUNSTER: They forget it within the first two minutes because of the technique I’m using. [Contestants] are used to cameras, but there’s so much pressure on them, they have no time to think about the cameras. If you’re in a studio and you see nothing but cameras and people looking at you, yes you’ll [act for the cameras]. For me, a reality show is [where
Bertram van Munster The Amazing Race
By Mansha Daswani
TV FORMATS: The Amazing Race has been on the air for
22 seasons now on CBS—how have you been able to keep it fresh? VAN MUNSTER: Passion and imagination! [Laughs] I mean, the world is such a special place and people are just marvelous.You get so much energy and so many ideas when you talk to people, when you see how people live. The ideas never stop coming. And it’s not just me, it’s the entire business: the movie business, the television business, everybody gets ideas from what goes on around them. My canvas is a little bigger than most people’s. A lot of people sit at home and think of stuff, I go around the world.
the] camera is the least visible thing. In other reality shows, the camera is the most visible thing in many ways. It should be completely fly on the wall, and that’s how we do it and how we’ve done it for many, many years. The contestants are the most important part. We have no judges, we don’t make judgment calls on people, we don’t tell them, you’re good, you’re bad—we leave that for Santa Claus! People have to win this race on their own power, whether it’s physical or mental.That’s what makes this show, and also why there’s such longevity in the show. People see that and they realize, I could potentially do this. TV FORMATS: When the discussions about formatting the show
TV FORMATS: How do you map out each season? VAN MUNSTER: It’s a lot of work. We lay out a route and
usually Elise [Doganieri, co-creator and executive producer] and I do this.There’s logic to the route, it’s not random! Once you’ve seen the race and you put a map on the floor and you say they went from here to here to here, it all makes perfect sense, because a) there are planes going there, b) planes are going on a regular basis, and c) they are safe countries—we don’t go to unsafe countries. Once we lay that out we do some basic research, but we’ve been to these places already, so we know a little bit about them. And then I go on the road with a very small team and I start picking [locations]. I go back and forth with Elise in the office—this could fit here, we could do this, etc. And then we’ll do another trip and I take my producers with me and I show them all the things I’m planning to do, and then I present it to the network. 218 World Screen 4/13
began, were you concerned about how they would stand up to the production quality you’ve set for the CBS version? VAN MUNSTER: We have a very close working relationship with our distributor [Disney Media Distribution]. And we have very close relationships with the people that produce these shows. Actually, most of the [adaptations] we produce ourselves. Yes, [production quality] is a concern, and people that tried to do it on their own ran into trouble. Why would you do this? We had our troubles ten years ago, why repeat [those same] troubles because you think you know it better? [The format] has been a huge success.We got the International Emmy for the show we did in Australia, and now in China they produced a version and they’ve won an award for best format adaptation. We all keep a very close eye on each other and we support each other as much as we can.
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