Formats Trending This Winter

The trend-trackers at The WIT have identified format adaptations that have been making waves on social media this winter, charting those with the greatest followings on Instagram. Competition series, in particular, were top draws, with talent-based shows such as Saudi Idol and Zénith garnering sizable followings after their debuts.

The Saudi adaptation of the hit Idol format that sees four judges search for a new pop star notched up 69,000 Instagram followers after its premiere on MBC1 on December 20. Its popularity was boosted by the dedicated follower counts of its host, Saudi musician Rajeh Alharthi, who has 3.9 million of his own, and judges Ahlam Alshamsi (14.6 million), Assala Nasri (11.2 million), Majid Almohandis (2.9 million) and Aseel Abubakr (31,000).

In French Canada, ICI Radio-Canada Télé’s live music competition Zénith amassed 42,000 followers after its mid-January debut. The format brings together four artists from four different generations (Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z) to compete in front of 100 people from the public, who act as judges and are also divided by generation. Fronted by TV and radio personality Véronique Cloutier, who has 331,000 followers, the series features actor Félix-Antoine Tremblay, musician Claudia Bouvette and actor Élyse Marquis as team captains. Each has their own sizable followings as well, with 113,000, 197,000 and 20,000, respectively.

Avastars also picked up a large following—34,000—after it launched in the Netherlands on SBS6 late last month. As a singing talent and a dancing talent pair up and transform into one virtual super talent (an AVASTAR), their performances are reviewed by a quartet of judges, including DJ Nicky Romero, singer-songwriter Simon Keizer, singer-songwriter Nick Schilder and TV personality Dan Karaty. Romero has a whopping 3 million followers of his own, while Keizer has 222,000, Schilder has 173,000 and Karaty has 138,000. The show’s host, YouTuber Kalvijn, boasts 1 million followers.

South Korea’s Peak Time, which draws on the popularity of K-pop boy bands, made waves last month as well. Hosted by singer Lee Seung-gi, whose Instagram counts 4.4 million followers, the competition sees new K-pop boy bands compete in singing and dancing challenges while eight experts coach them. The Korean talent competition picked up 10,000 followers after its February debut on JTBC.

It wasn’t just talent search competitions that generated buzz on Instagram this season, though. O Triângulo (The Triangle), which began airing in late February on Portugal’s TVI, amassed 38,000 followers, aided by host Cristina Ferreira’s following of 1.5 million. In the new reality competition, contestants live together in a house and are surprised week after week by unexpected challenges that test all of their abilities—physical, intellectual, emotional and psychological—24 hours a day.

The French-speaking Belgian adaptation of RuPaul’s Drag RaceDrag Race Belgique—also performed well, taking on 15,000 followers after premiering on February 16. As ten contestants compete for the title of Next Drag Superstar, they are judged by influencer Lufy (1.2 million followers) and singer Mustii (11,000). Canadian drag queen Rita Baga, who has 191,000 followers, hosts the adaptation.

Though competition series have proven popular as of late, telenovela adaptations have found success as well. In Portugal, the SIC telenovela Flor Sem Tempo (Timeless Flower) amassed 88,000 followers, while Mexico’s El amor invencible (Invincible Love), an adaptation of the Portuguese telenovela Mar Salgado, picked up 75,000 followers. Elsewhere, Chile’s Juego de Ilusiones (Game of Illusions) garnered 59,000 after its debut on Mega, and Turkey’s Kan Çiçekleri (Blood Flowers) racked up 29,000 after premiering on Kanal 7.