UK Screenings: ITV’s Formats Festival

ITV Studios began showcasing its latest wares to international buyers in London in 2011. With Twofour Group and Talpa Media now part of the ITV stable, the 2017 edition will be the largest yet, says formats chief Mike Beale

ITVS-logoITV Studios’ formats showcase first ran in 2011, the same year the global production and sales arm of UK broadcaster ITV hired former Alchemy Reality boss and NBCUniversal unscripted executive Mike Beale as its formats chief.

“It started originally as a reset to announce to the world that ITV Studios was a formats player and that it wasn’t all about Endemol, FremantleMedia and Shine,” says Beale (right), ITVS’s executive VP of formats and development.

It’s no coincidence, then, that ITV started doing the event six years ago when Beale joined. Held in February, it usually attracts around 120 to 140 people, including international buyers and ITVS partners in the market, to acquire new formats. Beale says this normally works out to about a 70-30, global buyers to others split, and those in town come from Europe, Canada, Latin America and Asia.

This year, a supersized event for 150 attendees is being rebranded as the ITV Studios Formats Festival 2017.

It follows the 2015 acquisitions of UK-based Twofour Group and its sales arm, Twofour Rights, and the Netherlands’ Talpa Media. Some programmes from ITV America will also be on show.

Twofour had one of the international format hits of 2016 with This Time Next Year, while The Voice creator Talpa had success with 5 Golden Rings, Dance Dance Dance, The Wishing Tree and The Story of My Life.

ITVS also had a strong year in 2016, in part thanks to its formats day twelve months ago. Label 1 show The Job Interview soft-launched there, and by the time MIPCOM came round, two deals were already in place.

This year’s highlights will take centre stage in the morning of ITV’s event, while there will also be producer pop-ups and interactive productions sessions in the afternoon.

MIKE_BEALE_015“The Formats Festival allows the buyers to spot this stuff early – it’s shortcutting a six-month period to help them cut through the thousands of ideas out there,” says Beale.

Materials created for the Formats Festival can be re-used at MIPTV and other markets, and are often used as ITV Studios Global Entertainment-branded showcases in far flung territories such as China and India, the ITVS formats chief adds.

This year’s event will feature a family-themed reboot of daytime gameshow The Chase, a Norwegian reality series Best Firefighter, Game of Chefs: On the Road from Israeli broadcaster Reshet, medical format Autopsy, and a first look at Noel Edmonds auction series Sell or Swap.

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