Demanding Times

After shaking up the drama market in immeasurable ways, the FAANGs have started to sink their teeth into entertainment.

Project Runway power duo Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum recently announced they’re saying “Auf Wiedersehen” to the hit U.S. show after 16 seasons to do a global fashion reality series with Amazon. Facebook is reportedly working on a virtual singing talent competition. Among Netflix’s recent raft of commissions are The Final Table, a global culinary competition series that is being exec produced by MasterChef and MasterChef Junior alums, and Flinch, a comedy game show.

Programming like high-tension game shows and shiny-floor talent competitions are so well-suited to live viewing—with their watercooler moments and emotion-packed finales—that the notion of watching them on-demand may take some getting used to on the part of the viewer. Perhaps that’s why some streaming platforms are testing the waters by licensing finished entertainment product first before going all in on a big-budget global format buy. Netflix, for one, scooped up the U.K. rights for America’s Got Talent, while Amazon has the U.K. rights for American Idol.

As audiences become more accustomed to streaming the types of entertainment shows that have long been the domain of live TV, those in the format industry are starting to face a new set of questions. What types of formats work for an OTT platform? If it’s a global service, how does that impact the traditional market-by-market rollout for local versions? Are viewers ready to get their talent shows on-demand? It’s early days, and the verdict is still out as to whether or not the FAANGs stand to upend the entertainment market in the same way they have with scripted.

For now, the majority of viewers are still flocking to their TV sets to catch the entertainment megahits live. Many of the classic juggernauts continue to pull in big numbers for live viewing as well. In the MIPCOM issue of TV Formats, we look at the keys to keeping a mega-format franchise fresh. We also explore what’s new in game shows and examine the popularity of formats that place kids at the center of the action. ABC’s Robert Mills tells us about how the U.S. network manages its successful entertainment shows, including American Idol and The Bachelor. Mike Fleiss, the mastermind behind The Bachelor and its spin-offs, is also featured in this issue. Peter Salmon talks to TV Formats about some of the biggest hits from the Endemol Shine Group portfolio. He tells us there’s “enormous potential” for entertainment shows on OTT services. Watch this space!

You can read the MIPCOM edition of TV Formats here.