TV4’s Alex Adamo

TV4 in Sweden is home to a number of the biggest format brands around, Survivor and Idol among them. In looking to add to its slate, the channel is after shows that can deliver big laughs and big emotions. Alex Adamo, senior developer and format manager, tells TV Formats about TV4’s entertainment wish list and what he’d like to see more of out there in the format landscape.

TV FORMATS: What’s guiding TV4’s entertainment strategy at present?
ADAMO: Having most of the big-time formats in our territory, we continue to look for the next ones to bring to our viewers. We look for broad, entertaining and captivating ideas and formats that have the power to engage everyone. Added to the consideration is the VOD aspect. Ideally, we want whatever we commission to have success on all our platforms. But to be a bit more specific, we can see that to be relevant to the viewers today, we have to be “bigger, better and bolder” and try to find the titles that create that buzz.

TV FORMATS: What have been some of the most successful adaptations of international formats for TV4?
ADAMO: We have quite a few with longevity, but Survivor is one. It’s a rather unique adaptation where we air more than 40 episodes per season, in a mix of stripped commercial half-hours in prime access across the week to a full commercial hour on the weekend to wrap up the week. It’s been hugely successful for us over the years. It’s also a super strong driver for our VOD platform, which is of utmost importance today.

Another one is Idol, which continues to be very strong. Similar to Survivor, we do a high volume of episodes, where the most devoted viewers can watch several episodes across the week, and on the weekends, we have the big studio-week finale.

TV FORMATS: Do you require a solid track record before you’ll evaluate a format for adaptation?
ADAMO: Track record is not the first thing on our checklist, but it helps if there is one and depends a bit on what type of show it is. For the big entertainment titles, it is of importance, in combination with the territory. Usually, a big success in English-speaking territories (U.S., U.K., Australia) will grab our attention and warrant consideration.

We do commission paper formats, but mostly if it’s from one of the local production companies that we have a history and close relationship with. So, in a sense, that is track record, but mostly we trust what we know of our local market and feel we have the ability to assess an idea whether it’s been produced previously or not.

TV FORMATS: What’s on your wish list for entertainment and format acquisitions?
ADAMO: Formats that make us laugh are something we could have more of. Big-time adventures or experiences that have the power to move. The “must-see” formats that have everyone talking, and being TV4, we can’t miss an opportunity to mention the shows with the big emotions!

In general, we have to be relevant and in sync with our viewers and find content they ultimately care about one way or the other. Successfully launching new titles today is a big challenge with so much competition out there, so whatever new show we take on, it has to have the power to break through and stand out.

TV FORMATS: Are you looking more for prime time, access prime, daily strip?
ADAMO: We never say we aren’t looking for something necessarily, as we can always challenge what we already have if we come across something we deem stronger. Also, having a strong digital platform, we can be flexible with what we acquire and when. But saying that, we mostly focus on the prime-time type of shows, I suppose, as that tends to change more often.

TV FORMATS: Anything you’re not seeing enough of in the market that you’d like to see more of?
ADAMO: Personally, I would like to see more bold original ideas not based on or closely related to existing brands. I think the audience has shown that when something new, fresh and (in a good sense) slightly strange comes along, they will watch. The Masked Singer is an obvious example, perhaps, and Taskmaster is another. I think there is courage among the viewers that isn’t necessarily always reflected in the formats market.

TV FORMATS: How does entertainment complement the wider TV4 slate?
ADAMO: It’s a huge part of our core and an integral part of our experience—especially true if you look at our prime-time schedule. One of our strengths is to house the big format brands, and we will continue to do that moving forward.