Distraction Formats closes its doors

After 12 years in the format business, Montreal-based Distraction Formats is closing its doors. Realscreen spoke with Michel Rodrigue about the closure, his view on the current state of the format business and what he's planning for the future.
June 24, 2009

Distraction Formats has announced it’s closing its doors. The Montreal-based company, one of the earliest to focus specifically on format distribution, was launched in 1996 by Michel Rodrigue who had previously produced TV formats in France and Quebec.

The distributor was responsible for a catalog of ’80 odd formats,’ according to Rodrigue, and with the liquidation of Distraction, the rights will return to the original creators of the formats.

Speaking to realscreen from Los Angeles, where he is spending some time with his wife after commuting between Montreal and LA for 10 years, Rodrigue says Distraction started to ‘feel the pain after MIPCOM last year.’

‘It’s not just Distraction,’ says Rodrigue. ‘The crisis hit in September/October last year and I think a lot of people were hurt, but Distraction just happened to be too fragile to resist the bankruptcy we had to deal with.’

However he still sees the format industry as the best thing that has happened to international television. ‘It’s the best way to globalize the television world and I think it has good opportunities,’ he says. ‘Formats is the thing to do, you just have to know how to deal with it.’

The close of Distraction affects nine jobs in Montreal plus a number of sales agents around the world, who Rodrigue points out were not relying completely on Distraction as their source of income.

Now Rodrigue plans to settle down in LA and spend more time with his wife while he weighs his job options. ‘We’ve been married 10 years and up until last December we hadn’t spent more than six weeks [in a row] together,’ he says. ‘So I want to work out of LA, and then I’m open to different possibilities. Some of my employees have a taste to restart something and will want me involved and I will gladly work with them.’

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.