V10 Entertainment’s John Stevens

Despite strains on budgets, a highly saturated market and the overall state of disruption, formats are still finding success across platforms and channels. In particular, “low-cost and repeatable is where we are seeing the most success,” says John Stevens, CEO of V10 Entertainment, a private equity-backed company founded in 2023 to invest across a range of entertainment properties.

Recently, “we have launched three new series (two on The CW platform and one for Discovery) that are repeatable comedy clip shows, and they are all performing well,” Stevens continues. “Competition and dating formats are doing well in the marketplace, and we are also developing heavily in this space.”

No matter the genre, however, “noisy formats and engaging characters are always a winning combo,” he adds. “Celebrity-fronted projects hold particular appeal in 2024, especially in today’s saturated market.”

The projects don’t have to be fronted by A-list Hollywood stars to achieve success, either. Bethany Mota, YouTube star and influencer, hosts V10’s Follow Me, which pits aspiring stars against each other in business-themed challenges. The format has gained traction after airing on a range of platforms, including Amazon Freevee, Roku, Tubi, Samsung TV Plus, Pluto TV and FilmRise, among others, via Crackle and The CW App.

The contestants themselves serve as interesting characters, with season one featuring a model, personal trainer, gamer, dancer and more. “Follow Me season one exceeded our expectations, with the show having more than 700 million impressions and millions of viewers in the 18-to-34 demo,” according to Stevens.

Follow Me serves as an example of what V10 is able to offer the industry. “As a well-capitalized media company with our own production studio, we have the ability to co-finance projects, produce them in-house and bring sponsor partners in to keep costs down for the buyers,” Stevens explains.

V10 has lined up Mars Wrigley as a major sponsor for the upcoming second season of Follow Me, which will see contestants be tasked with creating content inspired by Mars Wrigley’s portfolio of brands such as M&M’s, Skittles, Snickers and Orbit. The first season saw the winner receive $50,000 and the chance for branded moments with partners Six Flags, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Dave & Buster’s and Versus Games. And this is just one example of what V10 is capable of.

“We have the versatility to deliver a wide range of content—from expensive premium to episodes that are less than $100,000 per half hour,” Stevens says. “Buyers responded well to our positioning in 2023, and we have an exciting lineup in store for 2024.”

No matter what, though, the main key to introducing a format—be it brand-new or adapted from a foreign concept—“is to simplify it,” he notes. “The U.S. audience prefers formats that are easy to digest and provide a lean-back and relaxed viewing experience.”