Can Okan, CEO and founder of Inter Medya, talks to TV Formats about formats with global appeal and adapting to the new normal.
There are niche formats that have a reach limited to the market of its origin and perhaps a few nearby neighbors, and others that have enough range to cross an ocean to another continent or two. But a truly global format is a rarer thing for which three criteria must be met, according to Can Okan, CEO and founder of Inter Medya. “A truly global format should be unique, original and entertaining,” Okan says. “The idea is key, and we think of ourselves as exporters of those ideas. Audiences love and appreciate innovative and new ideas. As long as an entertaining and captivating idea is presented to audiences, it becomes globally successful.”
On the ground floor of the formats industry, Okan has seen its impressive growth on the international level and the competition, in turn, getting steeper. The industry “became more competitive as more and more countries started to produce local formats and export them worldwide.”
“We can count some exceptional formats that truly became global brands. In addition to well-established formats, new and exciting programs are created every year, then adapted to new markets,” Okan adds, noting that the kind of formats most in demand depends on the territory and network, with a variety of titles and genres taking off in different countries across the globe.
Among the highlights on Inter Medya’s slate is the quiz-show format Money Monster, which was developed by the company’s in-house production team. “It’s a quiz show in which the prize money that the contestant wins totally depends on his or her performance of counting some cash money,” explains Okan. “The show offers contestants a limitless amount of cash and they win as much money as they count in 60 seconds after each correct answer.”
The company has in its catalog Mother In Style, a reality fashion show in which a competition ensues between mothers-in-law and brides. There’s also the dating show The Perfect Couple, which takes place on a private island and is therefore a format that, with the right precautions, can be produced relatively safely amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “We can ensure the safety of our crew members and contestants in The Perfect Couple by keeping them in quarantine for a limited time period on the isolated island where the show takes place,” says Okan.
With COVID-19 showing no signs of going away anytime soon, Okan recognizes the continued need to adapt the formats in Inter Medya’s catalog, with the health of all involved top-of-mind. He also sees the unprecedented circumstances as fertile ground from which fresh ideas can sprout.
“We are all faced with difficult times and it is very hard to foresee what is coming next and waiting for us,” he says. “With the new normal, all production sets have to implement new production and safety measures to ensure the safety and health of everyone on set. On the other hand, this may be an opportunity to develop new ideas and formats for every genre.”