Endemol Shine’s Cathy Payne on scalable formats, SVOD aggregation and streamers

Big Brother

Scalable formats remain key for the continued growth on the unscripted side of the content business according to Endemol Shine International CEO Cathy Payne, who added that the aggregation of SVOD services is set to transform the way the scripted part of the industry works over the coming years.

Payne was talking to TBI about the emerging trends at MIPCOM this week, where she has been heading up Endemol Shine’s sales of shows including dramas Deadwater Fell and Adult Material, as well as unscripted formats such as Your Home Made Perfect.

But veteran formats such as MasterChef and Big Brother are finding new leases of life, said Payne, comments underlined by the return of the latter reality show to Greece earlier this week. That deal marks the fifth country this year to bring back the 20-year-old format.

“You’ll see lots of the big shows coming back, Extreme Makeover and The Biggest Loser, as well as Big Brother and MasterChef, are still mega shows,” said Payne, who is set to leave ESI in early 2020, as revealed by TBI, but is remaining in the business.

Cathy Payne

“Everyone always wants the next big new thing, but as we know that is hard to come by. So everyone looks at the perennials and bringing them back and how they can work. Fremantle have done a lot of that, they have a great gameshow catalogue, and we have a brilliant slate of returning shows too. That trend will continue, with the odd spark that breaks through too.”

Payne, whose next move after ESI is not yet known, added that being able to ratchet the scale of formats up – and down – remained vital for global sales.

“My big thing is the ability to be scalable. You have a lot of markets to service and when you have a format you can’t just be thinking how to make this in the US, the UK, Australia or Germany. You have to think about those smaller Nordic and CEE markets for example too.”

Payne added that the use of hubs for format productions would also continue to grow, while on the drama side she said broadcasters are increasingly seeking longer VOD windows around their linear deals. Combining those requests on shows that are being co-produced with streamers remains a “challenge” Payne added, admitting that it simply comes down to finances.

“It is a fast-evolving world and it is interesting to look at the different [platforms] too,” she said, highlighting the aggregation of some streamers such as StarzPlay and Acorn TV through services such as Amazon Prime Video’s Channels offering.

“We used to talk about cable carriage and now it is about SVOD carriage. You can get Acorn TV on Amazon. It is about putting making a smaller service available on a bigger platform, and the same thing with Britbox.

“Then there is Apple TV, which is able to carry other services on their offering too, it will be very interesting to see how that all plays out.”

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