As Endemol International preps for its trip to Cannes with its new raft of reality, entertainment and game show formats, the company’s format sales director, Annelies Noest (pictured), spoke with realscreen about its MIP slate, predictions for the market and the popularity of reality.
You’ve built an international set for Estate of Panic, your headlining offering for this MIP, in Argentina in an effort to drive down costs for international broadcasters looking to pick up the show. You used the same production model for the Wipeout format – is this something broadcasters interested in Endemol formats can expect to see more of in the future?
The model we used for Wipeout works really well, as it creates the opportunity to offer great production value for a fraction of the cost it would take if each individual country were to build its own set. There will definitely be more titles for which we’ll offer such a production model, whether in Argentina or in one of the other territories where we have facilities. In fact, this MIP we’re offering two new shows where production can be part of the deal: Estate of Panic (to be recorded in Argentina) and Ton of Cash (with involvement of our new Middle East operating company). The experience with Wipeout shows that it really offers us a head start in sales; within six months we managed to sell Wipeout in over 20 territories.
Estate of Panic is described as a ‘psychological competition format’ involving ‘terrifying challenges.’ Audiences may not have been ready for such a show a few years ago, but things have changed. Why do you think audiences will take to this concept now?
It is hard to say how audience taste tends to evolve gradually. There seems to be more of a trend going on at the moment for the bizarre; perhaps the popularity of the Japanese formats had something to do with that – who knows? In any event, it has always been the case that audience appetite changes over time, and what seemed impossible or shocking 10 years ago is considered family viewing now.
What is it that’s given the reality and competition genre such staying power?
I believe it contains a few basic and recurring elements that audiences relate to: identification, emotional involvement, suspense, etc. These have been part of storytelling for centuries! Also, the immense variations that are possible within the genre are a factor: various hybrid variations of the traditional reality have evolved over the past few years.
Which new territory would you like to see Endemol formats do well in, and why?
Asia is high on our list. We’re already quite strong in South East Asia, but recently had success with our formats in China and Korea as well. Obviously we’d like to build on that in the coming years.
Each MIP sees shifts in everything from the popularity of certain genres to the number of booths in the Palais to the weather (remember that typhoon-like weather a few markets back?). What are your predictions for this month’s MIPCOM?
I’m praying for a Sunny MIP as I feel the atmosphere is so much better in that case! Apart from the weather, there’s really not that much difference between MIPs; I think there are always some good new shows but never enough, busy days with overcrowded stands and exhausted buyers and salespeople. I’ve learned to like it!
How would you sum up your feelings towards MIP in one sentence?
I always enjoy going there, but am even happier to go back home at the end of the week!