MIPCOM: For those in the TV format business, Mipcom was a balmy week of tit-for-tat news about celebrity diving deals, plenty of focus on the Asian markets and the raucous half-hour that is the C21/Frapa International Formats Awards.
For format folk, last night was the week’s main event: the sixth C21/Frapa International Formats Awards. The gig was this year different in that international buyers have been brought into the picture. Previously, the awards were decided by votes from the readers of C21media.net and those who want more info on this change can click here.
Whatever the changes to the decision-making, the event remained essentially the same as previous years: some of the most creative minds in television relaxing with a sunset cocktail after a hard week’s work for a bit of mutual back-patting and networking.
On the night, the best multi-platform format award went to Who’s In, Who’s Out from Sony Pictures Television; the best scripted format award went to The Kitchen Musical from Small World IFT; and the best brand-driven format award went to Fashion Star from Electus International.
Meanwhile, the best studio-based gameshow format award went to The Bank Job from Endemol International; the best comedy format award went to Money From Strangers from All3Media International; the best competition reality format award went to Your Face Sounds Familiar, another win for Endemol International; and the best factual entertainment format award went to Lovetown from BBC Worldwide.
At the event, Frapa chair (and CEO of German prodco Grundy Light Entertainment) Ute Biernat announced she would be stepping down at the end of 2012. Patty Geneste, CEO and president of the Imagine Nation-backed Dutch format distributor Absolutely Independent, will begin as the new chair of Frapa on January 1, 2013. With business done, the sun plopped into the Med, the music stepped up the pace and some strange shapes were thrown on the dancefloor.
Earlier in the week, there had been plenty for format buyers and sellers to digest, however. The format that was front of mind for much of Mipcom was Celebrity Splash (aka Sterren Springen). Or was it Stars in Danger (aka TV Total Turmspringen)? It was all a bit confusing, as the companies behind each format, Eyeworks Distribution and Banijay International, announced several deals in the hope of persuading other buyers to take the plunge with theirs instead of the rival format. In fact, C21′s news elves were soon running out of water-related headlines by the end of it, as the formats dived about, made splashes and waves etc.
For those interested in what hasn’t yet become known as Splashgate, Eyeworks’ Dutch format Celebrity Splash has been licensed into the US, the UK, France, Ukraine, Norway, Australia and Finland. Meanwhile, Banijay’s German format Stars in Danger was this week sold into Sweden and again Norway, promising a Norwegian celebs in Speedos face-off of epic proportions. What with all these diving shows being rushed to market, let’s hope none of them belly-flop.
The row between the two firms, as yet not quite at the lawsuit stage but still at the irate press release stage, is just the latest format dispute or allegation of copyright theft to hit Europe and the US. Meanwhile, China, which was once seen as bandit country for intellectual property in the TV format sector, is now buying plenty of legit formats and paying licence fees instead of copycatting like in days of old. Ironic, innit?
Mipcom also had plenty of Asia-related format news, as many of the Japanese commercial channels teamed together to promote formats from that territory on Sunday night, Shine scored some Chinese deals and a former FremantleMedia exec launched an Asian format company. Formats and format developers from Spain, Latin America, Israel, Ireland and France were also in the headlines, and companies were bought in Finland for their format credentials.
With TV formats from elsewhere hogging the headlines at Mipcom, for good or bad reasons, clearly the days of the UK and Holland having the format industry to themselves are long gone.