TBI Tech & Analysis: Running the numbers on global formats

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? UK

TBI’s deputy editor Mark Layton dives into K7 Media’s annual format report to uncover the most in-demand genres over the past year and explores the option-grabbing IP that points to where the trend is going next.

The past 12 months have seen a rising demand for tried-and-tested unscripted content, with the global pandemic having brought scripted productions to a shuddering halt at the outset.

Audiences, largely stuck at home, were consuming content like never before and broadcasters and streaming platforms alike looked for IP that they could produce to fill their schedules and expand their offering – an opportunity that savvy unscripted producers and distributors have been able to capitalise upon.

The 2020-21 edition of annual report Tracking the Giants: The Top 100 Travelling TV Formats, from UK-based analysts K7 Media, offers keen insight into exactly what formats have been in highest demand in the face of Covid-19.

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Social connection

K7’s report reveals that quiz show formats have dominated in terms of global distribution, with 97 sales and options across multiple titles during the past year. Talent shows followed, with 70 sales and options, while challenge-based game shows (56 sales and options) and factual entertainment dating shows (49 sales and options) close behind.

It is, however, the fifth best performing genre, factual entertainment society, that the report says is worth keeping an eye on.

“These are shows that are, as the category suggests, about communities, cooperation and shared nostalgia. They are almost always uplifting in tone, and foreground “feel-good” stories. Given the global situation in 2020, it’s easy to see where this demand is coming from.

“Successful formats that lead with a tone of social connection and harmony include Fremantle’s The Great Giveback, in which a well-off family works with a less fortunate family from their local area to improve their lives.”

The report continues: “What is most interesting about the strong placement of this nascent genre is that whereas quiz shows, talent shows, challenges and fact-ent dating are all fairly evenly split between sales and options, factual entertainment society places in the Top 5 on the strength of options alone – with three direct sales, but 43 options taken out.”

The survey concludes that “time will tell” as to how many of those options reach production and broadcast, but “the swell of interest in this sort of material from production companies and distributors is definitely worth watching in the short term.”

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Global favourites

When it comes to the most popular formats available on the global market, perennial favourite Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? continues to top the list of best travelled, ending 2020 with 102 lifetime sales for distributor Sony Pictures Television.

In second place is Banijay Rights’ Deal Or No Deal, which has accrued 85 lifetime sales, with the Got Talent franchise in third place, securing 78 sales for Fremantle.

The remainder of the top 10 from K7 Media’s recently compiled list of the 100 best traveling formats is made up by The Voice, Family Feud, MasterChef, Dancing With The Stars, Minute To Win It, Survivor and Are You Smarter Than?.

While just two Fremantle-distributed formats (Got Talent and Family Feud) are in the lifetime top 10, the report highlighted its more recent success, with the media giant claiming four of the top 10 best-selling formats of last year.

Unsurprisingly, Masked Singer made 23 sales, I Can See Your Voice snared seven, Game Of Talents bagged five and My Mom Cooks Better Than Yours took four. In total, Fremantle was responsible for almost 24% of all format sales activity in 2020, followed by BBC Studios, ITV Studios and All3Media.

Breaking down format point of origin, meanwhile, sees 42% of the top 100 best-selling formats last year coming from the UK. The Netherlands was next at 10.3% and South Korea and the US tied with 10.1%.

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