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People to Meet: Mike Beale, director of international formats, ITV Studios

In the newly-created role as ITV Studio’s director of international formats, Mike Beale will be in Miami for his first NATPE as the executive overseeing the management of all of the company’s formats in international markets.


What was the defining trend in the formats world in 2011?

The general trend is for tried, tested and successful formats. Many broadcasters cannot afford to take risks at the moment but all are still keen to keep their eye on the next big idea. 2012 will continue in the same way at least for the first half of the year. Formats like The Chase and Coach Trip, which consistently perform well in the UK and have been recommissioned numerous times are very attractive to international broadcasters.

Adam Crozier has said that wants more revenue/profit from ITV Studios – how will you grow the formats business – what are the major areas of focus and what is the measure of success?

The growth of our formats business is dependent on a mixed approach which includes a flow of new ideas from the ITV Studios business in the UK and around the world, careful management of the existing formats in our rich portfolio and acquiring third party formats, where we see international opportunity for these.

The measure of success is simple we want to see more of our formats on more channels around the world. Across ITV Studios international production and distribution businesses we have fantastic relationships with broadcasters in all regions and formats like Come Dine with Me, Four Weddings, Dancing on Ice and The Friday Night Project are already made all over the world.

Newer shows like May the Best House Win, Coach Trip, The Chase and Born to Shine are beginning to achieve similar success and we have high hopes for the many number of entertainment formats currently being piloted.


You are heading to NATPE – what role does that market play and what do you hope to achieve out there?

NATPE offers an opportunity for us to launch new formats to the international market, which we are doing with The Devil’s Dinner Party, High Stakes and Ultimate Dance Battle. It also allows us to focus on the shows in our portfolio which have a very particular relevance for the Latin and North American markets. The timing of NATPE is helpful, discussions begin and conversations can be picked-up and progressed at MIPTV, with deals very often then being closed.


What are the major goals for the formats division of ITV Studios in 2012?

Last year ITV Studios’ launched a raft of new formats including The Devil’s Dinner Party, Born to Shine etc; we want to see some of these on air in international territories in 2012/13. The UK and international businesses are incredibly busy piloting brand new ideas in their territories and as and when these are commissioned and broadcasting we’ll be introducing international broadcasters to these new formats as early as possible.

That’s not to say that our portfolio of existing formats doesn’t continue to be an important priority and we expect to reintroduce the international market to some much-loved shows later this year.