Q&A with Global Agency’s Izzet Pinto


Izzet Pinto, the founder and CEO of Global Agency, speaks to World Screen about future plans, including eyeing the apps business, and how he is able to maintain the momentum of the company’s ambitious growth.

At each and every MIPTV and MIPCOM, Global Agency manages to outdo itself with another buzz-generating promotional campaign. In April, the company took out one of the largest billboards in Cannes to promote the singing talent format Bring Your Fame Back, which gives former celebrities a second chance to regain their fame. The massive poster depicted U.S. President Donald Trump in an imaginary future, having lost everything he had and starting a singing career on the streets in Mexico. Bring Your Fame Back is one of the latest formats to be created by Izzet Pinto, the founder and CEO of Global Agency.

***Image***WS: What’s driving the company’s growth at present?
PINTO: It has always been about the passion—not only mine, but the whole team’s. Each department is doing its best to increase sales and everybody is eager to design a better brand image. Investing in research, development, innovation and marketing has always been our main focus for the company’s growth. Especially on the marketing side, we do believe that the businesses will disappear sooner or later if they don’t invest in it. As Global Agency, we are not running promotional activities only when it is needed. We have an annual content marketing strategy, specifically based on the MIP markets. Vigorous and ongoing marketing is one of our main communication tools with the industry to show them our unstoppable growth. In this challenging and competitive world, this approach is our main difference, which makes us the leading independent distribution company and additionally, we are becoming one of the majors in the industry.

WS: Last time we spoke, you had mentioned you wanted to get the revenue split between drama and formats at around 50-50. How is that progressing?
PINTO: Since the drama business is booming, we see that it’s difficult to have it 50-50. The revenue from drama is getting bigger each year. With this booming scale, even having the split at 75-25 is pretty good. I’m happy because the business is going so well, so to have the format revenue not decrease to less than 25 percent, that’s a success.

WS: Global Agency recently added some Portuguese telenovelas to its catalog. Is this part of an effort to diversify your drama business?
PINTO: Turkish drama is perfect content for prime-time programming. Many of our clients are looking for daytime content, though, as well. That’s why we needed some kind of telenovela-type series. This led us into a partnership with SIC in Portugal. We are


representing a couple of their titles. We have already sold them to Macedonia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro and several countries lately. That’s going well, since daytime series were missing from our catalog.

To have more diversity, I was also looking for English content. We have now started representing two successful English-language programs. One is Mercy Street, from Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions, and the other is Queens, from the Spanish legend José Luis Moreno. Both are shot in English with huge budgets. So, we finally have some English programs to offer, and this came at the right time to our catalog. We will be focusing on them at MIPCOM.

WS: Are you still going to be focusing on creating your own formats as well?
PINTO: When you push yourself to create something, it doesn’t always come that easily. You need to get inspired and have a big imagination. This comes maybe once or twice a year for me. Last MIPTV, I was lucky to have Bring Your Fame Back as my own creation. I still want to focus on Bring Your Fame Back at MIPCOM. Hopefully, the format will go on air soon in Italy, where we are working with Ballandi Multimedia. If they produce it, I think we will see huge interest for it worldwide.

WS: Are you also pursuing opportunities in the mobile apps business?
PINTO: Absolutely, that has been a focus of ours. We will be launching two formats at MIPCOM that have mobile apps attached. One is In & Out, a game show from one of the creators of Shopping Monsters. The other is Beat the Wheel, which is a French format. We believe that the app-based games will drive big interest.

WS: As you look toward future growth, where are you concentrating your energy?
PINTO: I am focusing on growing the team. We now have a bigger legal team, we just hired a very successful COO and we also have some new people on the sales team as well as in operations. While we are having strong acquisitions in terms of content, I am also trying to have a good acquisitions team. That is very important for growth.