Be-Entertainment Hails Belgian Creative Boom

Since 2017, Be-Entertainment has been bringing a bevy of formats from Belgium out to the global market—and is doing so with much success. “Belgian content has a fresh kind of creativity,” says Gepke Nederlof, managing director. “Original and with heart. I like to use the word ‘craftsmanship’ when it comes to Belgian programs since the creators are more focused on making a great show for Belgium (first) instead of eagerly trying to create the next worldwide hit. This automatically gives it more heart and eventually also results in shows with high production value, especially when considering the size of the country.”

Indeed, a mantra of Be-Entertainment is: “It may be a country small in size, but it’s big in creativity.”

***Image***“We’re part of the same group as and work closely with VTM, the biggest Belgian commercial broadcast channel, when it comes to newly developed content,” Nederlof says. “This gives us the opportunity to indicate at an early stage which formats in the pipeline are most interesting for international exploitation. The fact that these are then produced with lots of care, and result in beautiful programs that tend to score well, is a great base for international distribution.”

Among the buzziest titles the company has on offer, Destination X is a larger-than-life adventure reality competition. In it, ten contestants embark on the road trip of a lifetime. Once they’re on the innovative Destination X Bus, reality is regularly tweaked to mislead them as well as the viewers at home. Every bit of information comes with a clue designed to help the contestants decide if they can trust what they see. The contestant who places their X furthest away from the actual location has to leave the game and loses their shot at winning a cash prize. The surviving participants search for the location of the host, who interacts with them from his secret command post.

“The idea evolved from the creative brain of the original producer, Geronimo,” Nederlof explains. “The creative team at VTM recognized the power of the basic idea and decided to jump and invest in the development from paper, resulting in the brilliant program that it turned out to be. The strong visual branding and technological elements of the show make it stand out from other adventure reality competitions out there, together with its amazing production value. It’s a real ‘eXperience’ that takes the contestants and viewers on an adventurous trip while seeing them playing along with the show at home.

RTL4 in the Netherlands recently commissioned the format for a local adaptation, marking the sixth territory. Seals are also in place in the U.S. (NBC), the U.K. (BBC), France (M6) and Germany (ProSieben).

“Broadcasters need content that makes them stand out in the crowded marketplace,” Nederlof says. “In order to do so, they need big and bold formats that people talk about the next morning, real must-see ideas that attract viewers on different platforms. Destination X is all that and is one of the few shows out there that is extremely interesting for linear broadcast.”

Nederlof acknowledges that it is more difficult and takes more time for a brand-new format to find its way to the screen these days. “While broadcasters worldwide are reluctant to take risks, we’re lucky to work with VTM, which will launch 22 new programs on linear TV in 2023 alone,” she adds. “We are bringing new successes to the Belgian market and to the world like Finder$ Keeper$Destination XStranded on Honeymoon Island and The Big Bang. This allows for new formats to evolve and grow and for the world to acquire a format that is already tried and tested.”

Looking at the international landscape, Nederlof sees a trend for fewer but bigger ideas. “There is a demand for ideas that really stick with a broad audience and can play out over different platforms,” she says.

Right now, Be-Entertainment is thriving amid a creative “Belgian boom,” according to Nederlof. “Aside from Destination X, we have lots of other inspiring formats that we are bringing [to MIPCOM] and that absolutely deserve to be seen and heard.” A few brand-new titles this year are already gaining traction, such as The Big Bang, which has successfully launched in Belgium and the Netherlands. Featuring a balloon-popping obstacle course with celebrities, the format “brings back good old uncomplicated entertainment for the entire family—what you see is what you get,” Nederlof says.

Be-Entertainment is also bringing to the market the new dating format Swipe Around and will be sharing more news on Finder$ Keeper$Out of Office and The Musical of Your Life.