Nippon TV’s Tom Miyauchi

Tom Miyauchi, head of formats, international business development at Nippon TV, shares his views on the current state of the industry with TV Formats.

A powerhouse in Japan, Nippon TV has proven itself as a compelling format generator. Its innovative concepts have been replicated around the world—from the business show Dragons’ Den/Shark Tank to the scripted drama Mother to the buzzy new series Old Enough! And Nippon TV has gained a reputation as a strong co-development partner, collaborating on new format ideas that are ready to travel.

***Image***TV FORMATS: The formats business was hit hard at the start of Covid. How have you seen the sector bounce back since then?
MIYAUCHI: The formats industry has suffered from Covid, just like many others. New production completely stopped in many territories, and the Covid protocols did not spark much creativity in the studios. However, format creators from around the world lived the new norm and spent the past two years concentrating on the development of new ideas. As a result, we are now seeing a burst of creativity in the market with many new formats.

Also, there have been successful reboots of traditional formats, and for Nippon TV, the always in-demand format Silent Library is now being enjoyed by audiences in France on TF1’s streaming platform MYTF1 MAX, and we have several other new deals lined up in Europe as well.

TV FORMATS: What are the genres you’re seeing broadcasters most interested in now?
MIYAUCHI: Studio game shows, social experiments and reality programs are becoming very popular new commissions, as well as our highly successful format Old Enough!, currently on Netflix, which has received many new inquiries. We cannot wait to see all the international versions of this unique format.

TV FORMATS: What opportunities do you see for format co-development across markets?
MIYAUCHI: Nippon TV is a pioneer in format co-developments, having partnered with major studios such as Red Arrow Studios for BLOCK OUT, ITV Studios for Stacking It!, The Story Lab for 9 Windows and many more. It does take some time to develop new formats across different cultural backgrounds; however, we have garnered many more opportunities and partnerships than ever before with format co-developments. We are expanding our global footprint by building new strategic creative collaborations with international partners to create original content for viewers worldwide.

TV FORMATS: How is the demand for paper formats? How important is having a pilot or sizzle?
MIYAUCHI: Since there are many new platforms and new ideas that are in constant demand, paper formats are becoming increasingly popular. Nippon TV launched a new creative team internally with a thriving group of young creators who specialize in developing new paper formats and new creative collaborations. Also, some ideas are bigger than life, and oftentimes, it does not make sense to produce a pilot or even a sizzle.

TV FORMATS: The megabrands are still faring well. Does that make introducing new concepts harder?
MIYAUCHI: Not really. At Nippon TV, creativity is in our blood. Our creators constantly keep coming up with new concepts. A prime example is our unscripted format Time Potion. Time Potion is an innovative high-concept game-show format where time is the ultimate ruler. The rule is: Save every second no matter what or drink the “time potion” and recover your life—or else you’re out. In the end, only time will tell who will be named the ultimate winner. At Nippon TV, we test new ideas on our pilot slots and produce new unscripted content on a weekly basis.