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Many Asian broadcasters are racing each other to produce that huge format that will travel the globe, recording enormous viewership. Japan started that by selling formats to the international market. Soon after, Korea has been doing likewise with hip-hop bands and formats that followed very quickly. The interest in Grandpas Over Flowers, a reality travel series that first aired on Korean’s tvN and follows elderly backpackers abroad, looks like it could be just the tonic as the country tries to expand its format business.

Having forged relationship with broadcasters and viewers across the region with finished programming, Korean scripted formats are now enjoying an easier ride. Tae-Ho Sung, deputy director of world business at Korean broadcaster KBS, says most demand comes from China, but it’s no longer a regional phenomenon. KBS’s relationship series I Am Sorry I Love You has been adapted for FOX TV in Turkey, where it is known as Bir Ask Hikayesi, while Latin Media Corp has picked up romantic drama Crazy Love and plans to remake the show, set in Mexico.

Leading Singapore-based Bomanbridge Media announced a deal with NBCU for Pan-Asian broadcast on its Diva channel of the hot Canadian cooking show, Chef In Your Ear (CIYE). NBCU acquired the finished Canadian programme which enjoyed the # 1 spot on The Food Network in Canada in Fall 2015. The show is also available as a format. CJ E&M from South Korea recently renewed the format for a second season, and is currently on air with Season 1 (locally known as Avatar Chef). Mongol TV Mongolia also licensed the format.

“Bomanbridge is pleased to bring NBCU the entertaining hit series, Chef In Your Ear. This hot cooking competition show, which is also a format, is enjoying tremendous success on important channel brands such as Food Network in Canada, and CJ Media in South Korea. This unique take on the cooking genre will be sure to please viewers in the region,” said Sonia Fleck, CEO of Bomanbridge Media. ITV Studios Australia has been commissioned by the Seven Network to make a local version of Cannonball, a spectacular outdoor water-based game show format created by Talpa. This is the first production to result from ITV Studios and Talpa’s exclusive production partnership, which saw ITV Studios becoming the production partner for Talpa formats in Australia and the Nordics. This followed ITV’s acquisition of Talpa early last year. Talpa presented their formats portfolio to more than 150 buyers at the ITV Studios Formats 2016 event in London recently.

ITV Studios Australia is also the producer of the hugely successful Australian versions of ITV Studios’ hit international formats The Chase Australia for Seven Network and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! for Network Ten. Both are now in their second series, as well as Keeping Australia Alive for ABC.

Several trends are developing in the format industry and redefining this genre – Arabelle Pouliot-Di Crescenzo, Managing Director at KABO International says the formats industry is at a critical stage of its development, when business models need to be re-examined and adjusted amidst massive technological transformation, rapidly evolving regulatory landscape and changing viewing habits.

“All the new technological developments and multiplication of platforms result in reduced budgets and a need to reach very targeted audiences. This trend results in innovative, cost-effective formats for niche markets. More than a TV show, broadcasters are interested in creating brands that resonate with a community and provide their audience with ways to interact with these communities through social media and the like. Having said that, major broadcasters are still looking for blockbuster formats that can attract a large audience and provide opportunities for coviewing for the entire family. This is why KABO International has secured international distribution rights to successful prime time formats such as Who’s Who? (produced in 10 countries and premiering in Sweden in April 2016) and Ciao Darwin (produced in 5 countries and premiering for season 7 in Italy in spring 2016),” she added.

Global accesses via online platforms have given consumers greater access to international content. Through streaming trends, it is easier to identify which popular international content would best fit a broadcaster or streaming platform to create local content says Abhi Rastogi, Founder and CEO of 108 Media. “With second screens becoming a popular trend of how consumers watch TV, social media has also started to play a larger role in identifying and re-creating international formats,” he added.

Gary Pudney, Head of Keshet International Asia says, “In terms of non-scripted, demand for cost effective, studio-based, shiny floor entertainment formats remains strong, especially in developing countries where budgets are more limited. However, there is now a renewed emphasis on finding the next big prime time weekend entertainment format, as broadcasters look to replace tired shows currently on air. Coming up with ideas that can really engage audiences who are forever turning to new platforms and technologies is one of the biggest challenges facing the non-scripted industry today.”

Part of Keshets’ MIPTV launch is Touch – a TV and mobile game played by viewers in the studio and simultaneously at home so that everyone can be part of the competition and potentially win a prize. Touch is the next step in digital engagement. It’s simple, highly addictive and engaging – just what you need to build loyalty with viewers who have an explosion of choice about how they are entertained nowadays.

Pudney say, “Demand for scripted formats in Asia is also buoyant, this is evident from our recent deal for Prisoners of War (the format upon which the Showtime’s Homeland was based) with Star Plus in India and the license of our scripted comedies Loaded and Traffic Light to Huace- Croton Media in China. The Korean remake of our drama format MICE as SPY was done beautifully and we are now taking the excellently produced finished show to MIPTV for sale to other territories.”

Mike Beale, EVP of Global Development & Formats from ITV Studios also agrees that the formats industry is at a critical stage of its development, when business models need to be re-examined and adjusted amidst massive technological transformation, rapidly evolving regulatory landscape and changing viewing habits.

He shared, “We continue to see demand for key brands that have proven themselves in multiple markets around the world, as well as a return to successful brands from the past. At ITV Studios, we are well placed to meet this demand as we represent a huge number of new and established formats across a range of genres and suitable for a variety of slots. We have a track record in distributing formats that deliver audiences for broadcasters in multiple territories, such as Come Dine With Me, which has been produced in 37 territories internationally or Hell’s Kitchen, which has been produced in 18 territories worldwide.

“Alongside this, the creation of local formats for local people continues. In Asia, ITV Studios has recently signed a co-development deal with Huace TV in China for Huace to produce a new show in the lead-up to the 2020 Beijing Olympic Games and we represent Star China’s entertainment format Sing My Song internationally. We also signed a landmark format collaboration deal with South Korea’s CJ E&M.”

The next ‘big think’