Global Agency’s Izzet Pinto

Izzet Pinto, the founder and CEO of Global Agency, talks to TV Formats about what makes The Remix stand out in the marketplace.

Earlier this month, the music reality show The Remix made its debut as an exclusive on Amazon Prime Video India. The series is now streaming across some 200 territories worldwide. This is quite the kudos for a format that began as a one-sheet paper pitch. Global Agency saw promise in the concept right from the start and nurtured the idea to bring about the success it is seeing today. The format has now been sold to around 15 countries, including Indonesia, China, South Africa and Vietnam.

***Image***TV FORMATS: Where did the concept for The Remix originate and how did it come to the Global Agency catalog?
PINTO: It is a unique and interesting story. Seven years ago, Rahul Sarangi, the format’s creator, arrived in Cannes for the first time to attend MIPCOM. He took the airport bus to the city center, and there was only one other person on that bus, whom he sat next to. That person was Andrew Sime, who was our acquisitions manager at the time. They chatted about the project, and Andrew promised to send him an email to set up a meeting.

During the meeting at that same market, Rahul presented his format, The Remix. He didn’t have any visuals to present—no pictures—it was just a one-page document. Global Agency always believes in good ideas and supports format creators. ***Image***That day, we saw the potential in his idea. We decided to invest in it, to create a pilot.

The pilot was shot in India; it was quite a small-budget pilot. For two years, we tried to sell it with no luck. After two years, we were able to close our first deal, with a license to Vietnam.

It took the Vietnamese broadcaster two years to put it on air. Finally, the paper format made its way to the screen after four years. It had such a big success that it even beat The X Factor and The Voice in the ratings. The broadcaster ordered a second season, and with that track record of success, we were able to close other deals, like in China, Malaysia and Indonesia. In China, for example, the superstar Psy is in the jury seat. Since then, we have closed several option deals, notably in Europe. Now, after seven years, it’s an Amazon Prime original. We are relaunching it at MIPTV. After its success and news of the Amazon deal, all eyes are on The Remix.

TV FORMATS: Landing a deal with Amazon for a format is quite a coup! What can you share with us about that iteration?
PINTO: For the first time, Amazon is putting an original entertainment show on its platform. It is being streamed in close to 200 territories. That’s very unique. It’s very smart for them to have a music show. If you look at the YouTube digital platform, the videos that have the most number of hits are music videos. Music shows work well for digital platforms.

In The Remix, we have ten teams that each consist of a singer and a DJ. They take well-known songs and turn them into a brand-new, updated cover. People fall in love with the new sound, and those covers become popular. We have a panel that consists of three well-known artists, and each week they eliminate one team. While each team prepares their song during the week, they are joined by a dance team with amazing choreography. Visually, the show becomes very rich. In India, it’s been shot with a very high budget, with great set décor. It becomes a big music event.

TV FORMATS: What makes it unique in the music-reality space?
PINTO: Until now, it has always been singers who are center stage. In this format, the jury is scoring two people. They give five points for the singer and five points for the [music]. These are strong teams, but if one of the members doesn’t deliver, they lose. In the past, there haven’t been any formats that put together singers and DJs with big choreography. The format is simple, unique and easy to adapt. It’s not only about the singer; the DJ becomes the producer. They create brand-new sounds. It’s a challenge, of course, because people are so familiar with the original songs and suddenly they hear it sounding totally different and decide if they like it or not.

TV FORMATS: What’s next for The Remix?
PINTO: The buyers seem very excited. We have a lot of interest from Germany and France, in particular. A sale to either of these major markets opens new territories in Europe. There’s good buzz so far. I’m happy to have such a success story in our catalog. It’s a good case study; we never gave up on the concept, and now it has become a hit. Success doesn’t always come quickly. We are a company known for being open to paper formats and pilot projects, and I always tell creators that it takes time to find the right partners. It takes some risk for a broadcaster to launch it but then it can become a big success. Patience is the key.