MIPCOM ’12: FremantleMedia comes to Cannes with a “Bang”

Live-action video game format Bang! Bang!, "alternative census" entertainment show Unzipped and Idols Kids are among the formats FremantleMedia has high hopes for at this year's market.
October 8, 2012

A live-action video game-style competition, an “alternative census” entertainment program and a younger take on a global ratings monster are among the formats FremantleMedia has brought to Cannes for MIPCOM.

Speaking at FremantleMedia’s annual press gathering to kick off the market, Rob Clark, director of global entertainment development, highlighted the international flavor of the format offering this year. With fresh FremantleMedia formats originating from Ireland, Japan and Israel as well as from Denmark, the U.S. and the UK, Clark said today’s hunger for content means a great idea can come from anywhere. “It’s no longer good enough to have a central development office in the U.S. and UK,” he offered.

Still, those major markets are home to several of the formats on the FremantleMedia slate. Studio-based entertainment show Unzipped hails from Talkback in the UK, and aired originally on BBC3, with a second season recently greenlit. The premise of the show is to unveil “what the nation really thinks” by commissioning an “alternative census” prior to production, tabulating the results and then revealing them via entertaining segments. Clark said that 81% of the survey respondents went on to tweet about the census, giving Unzipped an instant social media presence.

Henrik Nielsen, of FremantleMedia North America, has developed Bang! Bang!, a live-action video game format that puts contestants, shot in a green screen studio, into an animated video game environment.

Uptown Girls and Downtown Boys, from Israel’s Artza Productions, takes contestants from “opposite sides of the tracks” and pairs them up “on a four week trip of a lifetime” in which they compete with other couples in a variety of challenges.

Let’s Get Gold combines sports with entertainment in a format that sees teams of contestants from various sports teams perform choreographed routines in front of a panel of judges from show business and sports. It’s a Superhero/Thames coproduction.

FremantleMedia is also pinning high hopes on the international potential for Idols Kids, which has already launched with success in Latin America. Emerging from the same talent competition template that produced what Clark calls “the holy trinity” of formats – Idol, Got Talent and X Factor, the program follows the Idol formula of pitting talented singers against each other – in this case, kids – with the added drama of having the contestants’ parents in the mix.

Also during the press gathering, FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) unveiled its partnership with independent multi-platform studio Vuguru, which will see FME distribute Vuguru original scripted content across all platforms outside North America from 2013.

FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz also highlighted the company’s efforts in the digital realm. With 90 YouTube channels across 18 territories, FremantleMedia is growing its stable with two channels on the way from UFA, its German production arm. The channels – an urban life channel and crime channel, as yet unnamed – will be two of 30 new channels the digital video portal will launch across the UK, France and Germany.

As for the health of the content market itself, Frot-Coutaz said that despite challenges, especially for the broadcast sector in launching breakout new programming, “It’s a really good time to be in the business, especially if you’re a global player, because the truth is that there’s more content demand than ever.”

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