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C21’s Formats Report 2017


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The global formats industry is an ever-changing beast, where expectations are high, both creatively and financially, and the industry’s pioneering old guard are finding themselves losing market share to aspiring Young Turks (both metaphorically and often literally) that have picked up the ball and are running with it.

Things have certainly changed from the heady heights of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the entire television industry seemed to be dominated not by specific programmes or genres but by ideas – ideas that had lucrative local iterations and changed hands for millions of dollars.

But if anything sums up the new reality for developers of original TV formats, it is the recent news that US network ABC, rather than take a punt on a new unscripted idea to freshen up its schedules for next season, instead opted to revive a 15-year-old talent show that was a hit on a rival network.

In this new C21 Pro report, C21’s editorial team has come up with the biggest trends that are currently sweeping the sector. Some you might be aware of, others not, but either way they’re impacting your business and should be reflected in your format strategy going forwards. The 21 chapters in this report will be published here over the coming weeks.

Report chapters:

A buyer’s market
The format industry relies on buyers taking risks. Here eight of them give their take on what they want and what’s working.
The Japan paradox
Japan has for decades been exporting plenty of formats but importing very few. How is that done and what’s in the development pipeline?
Indie ascendancy
With the UK still leading the pack in global unscripted formats, how is consolidation transforming the country's production industry?
Tough times
Getting more bang for your buck is one thing, but the big talking point in US unscripted is whether the independent sector will survive at all.
In touch with reality
Virtual reality might be on the verge of reinventing the entertainment industry but will it, and can it, be applied to formats?
Multi-platform maze
The path to multi-platform success is littered with failed formats, but that hasn’t stopped new hopefuls from entering the fray.
Kids in control
Children's formats, and kids' talent shows in particular, are becoming increasingly prevalent in primetime schedules around the world. Gün Akyuz finds out why.
Experimental methods
The battle for viewers has taken programming ideas and formats into strange new places, but audiences remain fascinated by social experiments.
Paper chase
The need for broadcasters to stand out from the crowd has led to the re-emergence of the paper format as a route to increased creativity and originality.
Joining brands
Advertising agencies, with their deep pockets, are eyeing formats like never before. But how could such funding deals work?
Format futures rise
C21’s Formats Report 2017 kicks off with the results of our annual survey into the state of the industry, revealing some eye-catching trends.