International TV market is booming at the MIPTV conference
Keshet and other companies are finding that the world wants their shows.
Folks in the television industry have been excited about MIPTV this week. Despite its funny name, its influence in the world of international digital and television media is huge, as it's one of the biggest marketplaces in the industry. Production companies from around the world come to MIPTV, which just concluded its 2015 edition in Cannes, France, to put their shows in front of thousands of buyers from TV networks from over 100 different countries.
Keshet International is one of those companies. The Israeli firm, which has brought shows like "Homeland," "Rising Star," "Deal With It," "Your Family or Mine" and others to the U.S., was at the conference to present two new shows to international buyers, along with their other established properties.
The most anticipated is a game show called "Trade Up," where two families are transported to an airplane hangar and are told to get in the car they want to win. They have to answer a trivia question, knock the other family out of the competition, then pick a key that hopefully starts the car. After all that, though, there's a twist: Now that they've won the car they want, do they want to "trade up" to a nicer one?
It may sound complicated, but it's a heck of an opportunity for a car company to have one of its products on screen for a significant period of time. The show will start airing in Israel this fall, but Romanian network Prima TV bought the rights to develop a version of the format for their audience. And other countries may soon follow suit.
What does Keshet look for in a show that it wants to take to international buyers? First, it looks for good shows, as Ran Telem, Keshet Media Group's VP of content, told From the Grapevine. "We can detect elements of promise from the beginning. We look for ideas that intrigue us. We always ask ourselves: 'Would we watch it?' We also want to gauge if a show has a strong 'life expectancy,' or the potential to evolve and continue to attract audiences."
The next key, Telem said, is to find the right people to make those shows. "this is one of the most important puzzle pieces," he said. "We deliberate which talent can really bring the show to life. We are always involved in the entire development process for each of our shows to ensure that the show runner’s vision is realized."
"Texas Rising" was another hit at MIPTV. The latest epic miniseries from the History channel – this time about Texas' independence from Mexico – had its world premiere at the conference. It starts with the fall of the Alamo and goes from there, chronicling the efforts of Sam Houston (Bill Paxton) to defeat Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (Oliver Martinez) and gain independence.
Another standout at the conference was a drama called "Versailles." It's Louis XIV meets "House of Cards" in this English-language series produced by the French company CANAL+. Think scandal, intrigue and political gamesmanship, set in a world of powdered wigs, pantaloons and the elaborate and beautiful palace in Versailles.
Keshet wasn't the only Israeli company busy this week: the Israeli division of Endemol touted a show called "The Orpheus Project," whose description sounds like it could work just about anywhere: "A group of medical students discover their professor’s hidden research which holds the secret to giving supernatural psychological powers by manipulating a hormone."
A second new show offered by Keshet during the conference was the scripted comedy "Imported," where an Israeli soccer player is recruited by the Chelsea football club in Britain. He thinks the life of a London soccer star will be great ... until he brings his dad and girlfriend with him.
The factors that go into bringing a TV show to an international market like MIPTV can vary, but as Telem said, "We know that when the foundation of the show is strong, and when it tells an exciting, human story, that it will translate abroad, no matter how 'local' it may seem at first." He uses Emmy-winner "Homeland," which was adapted from a hit Israeli TV series, as an example of that. The show "at first glance seems to be a very 'Israeli' story. However, it has elements of a drama as well as a thriller, and it is a show about consequences and aftermath of a jarring homecoming." The story has been so universal that it's been adapted in countries as diverse as Russia, Mexico, South Korea and Colombia.
Telem said that Keshet gets the opportunity "to work closely with creators and talent to continually develop modern, inventive shows and stories that appeal to international territories, which are always looking for something new and fresh."
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