MIPFormats Round Up Day One

So, MIPFormats occupies the two days pre-MIPTV, showcasing a lot of up-and-coming formats, discussing format rights and format disputes and during this first day taking a look at the future of the format business in general.

Format Futures

The day started off with a look at the Format Futures 2011, where David Jenkinson from C21 begun with a brief look at which conclusions the C21 Formats Report 2011 had drawn. Amongst the facts – 91% of buyers say they will buy as many formats or more than last year, 60% say they are going to buy more (which is nice if you are selling formats of course). Top three in format genres are thought to be Constructed observational documentary, Expert-led factual entertainment and social network-related formats, while elimination-based reality formats and cooking/food formats are seen to be waning. Happy to see that Finland is thought of as the 6th hottest country when it comes to new formats (behind the US, the UK and Holland, but ahead of Israel and Japan). I’m pretty sure the formats report will be available online at some point, as it was shared to all attendees at MIPFormats, will notify when I know more about that.

The talk featured Karoline Spodsberg from Banijay, Nicola Söderlund from Sparks Network and Jan Salling from Nordic World. Big take-aways from that was Spodsbergs opinion that “We will be moving away from constructed formats to less constructed, more story driven types of formats” (which resonates well with the creation of more transmedia type formats) and Sallings very true take on the questions of rights and revenue splits – “Big challenge is to retain rights for producers; no plug-and-play solution. Need to give more back to producers” (so true, more shares to the one creating will mean that more and better will be developed and produced in the future). There was also a big concern about the consolidation of the business – everything is becoming one big company, so whom should new concepts be pitched to? David Jenkinson wasn’t too concerned – “as companies consolidate, the people that don’t like it leave and found new companies”.

The session about mediating format disputes was set up as a sort of play where two fictional production companies went head to head regarding two very similar formats. I had to leave the session before the end, but I will echo Mikko Silvennoinens opinion: “Let’s discuss real cases please! Come Dine vs Four Star Dinner. Survivor vs Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”. Key point, try to come to some sort of solution and not go to court.

Fresh Formats in the Factual vein

In the Fresh Formats this Saturday (there will be another tomorrow) the focus was on Factual Entertainment. To recap, I will make it easy for myself and copy my tweets from the sessions. Here are the 12 featured formats:

1st format: Shedding for the wedding, from CBS, engaged couples losing weight
2. Coming Soon: Love, 5 single/famous women search for true love (Israel/Endemol)
3. Threesome, where three ppl share a flat and experiment sexually (Norway, DRG)
4. The Joy Of Teen Sex, from Zodiak. Advice on teen sex in walk-in clinic
5. Teenage Boss (DRG, Norway) teenager takes responsibility for family financies for 1 month
6. Hijos de Papa (Plural, Spain) 8 rich kids kicked out, must adjust to tough jobs to manage
7. Working Girls (endemol, UK) lazy ladies (WAGs?) whipped into shape by biz women
8. Junior Doctors (BBC) 7 newly qualified doctors, their 1st month documented
9. Toughest place to be a Paramedic (BBC) ordinary people go abroad to test themselves in hardest jobs
10. Cover Me (2waytraffic) 2 music stars create new hits based on each other’s work
11 The House That Made Me (BBC) Celebs back in reconstructed childhood homes
12. You can’t take it with you (Fremantle) following families as they prepare wills

All in all, not all that many really exciting formats. I did get the feeling I’ve seen most of them before, in one take or another. The Threesome and Teen Sex ones were slightly interesting, but then again they would, wouldn’t they?

The Freshest of Talents

The Fresh Talent Pitch was the last session I went to, where six formats had been chosen by The Wit to be presented to a jury consisting of Anniea Wegelius from SVT/Sweden, David Lyle from Fox Look and Colin Jarvis, formerly BBC. The six formats were BuS STOP from Spain, Crossword is coming to town (Germany), Dracula Tour Challenge (Romania), My Baby’s Name (France), On the Wave of Love (France) and Queen of Style (Germany).

Of the six formats the Dracula one was the one with the richest story possibilities. I believe it didn’t win mainly since it was not really thought through to the end – there is a great backdrop, but the icing on the cake (and parts of the filling as well) just aren’t there yet. I’m convinced it will get made though, just need some more work. Bus Stop was a dating format based around a bus driving to different cities – definitely needs some work – while Queen of Style had “possibilities in any direction” (which is never a good thing to say in a pitch, as a potential buyer can think in a lot of directions and, like most people, dislikes to be confused, especially in a business meeting) which probably was it’s downfall in this competition.

My Baby’s Name had a complex game setup that I didn’t quite get – about guessing the name of an unborn child – and didn’t feel quite thought through either. As Colin Jarvis said, he thinks it may be better as just a part of another show. Crossword is coming to town was about painting a giant crossword on a town square and have a team try to solve it, with the help of the town’s population. It was a good public service-minded idea, and rightfully won the creator, Uwe Stanz, the Entertainment Masterclass scholarship. Nice one!

The winner then, was a French format called “On the wave of love” from NeweN. Seniors have a right to love too! So they are put on a cruiser with five suitors each, and one is eliminated in every harbor. Tricky things pop up as well – Mystery Suitors for instance, and the fact that the crew on the ship are sexy little young things (male and female) that can try to woo the seniors as well. Now, I don’t know if I would watch it, but as the jury also obviously saw, it does have potential. So, congratulations!

The last word

More tomorrow, but as a conclusion, and having been banging on about the powers of transmedia storytelling (and blogging for ReedMIDEM today on the possibilities of transmedia formats) I will say that I’m not surprised there are no transmedia formats on display. Not surprised, but I would have liked to be surprised by there being some. Perhaps ours are featured next year ;).

Until tomorrow!

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