Behind C21/FRAPA Formats Award
ONE of MIPCOM’s centrepiece events — the C21/FRAPA International Format Awards — is being sponsored this year by Fox LOOK, the Hollywood major’s new international business unit specialising in unscripted programming.
It is a perfect pairing, believes Fox LOOK president David Lyle, in that it brings together the format world’s best-in-class 2010 with a powerful new player that is “passionate about finding the world’s best content, produced by the best people in the best way”.
Now in their fourth incarnation, the C21/FRAPA Format Awards have firmly established themselves as a marker of excellence. Their USP is their democracy: formats are screened and voted for online not by a panel of pundits but by hardcore, hands-on professionals: C21Media.net’s 35,000-strong community of international entertainment executives. As C21’s editor-in-chief and managing director, David Jenkinson, puts it: “Entering means your show gets screened by thousands of potential partners worldwide and winning means true peer recognition.”
Fox LOOK, which was announced at MIPTV last April, sees the C21/FRAPA Format Awards as the ideal setting for a ‘soft’ launch party to mark Fox Networks’ move into unscripted waters. “I didn’t want to throw the traditional balloons-and-sequins event — I’d rather do that to celebrate the sale of our 100th show,” says Lyle, a co-architect of FRAPA and a format industry veteran, whose career spans 25 years, 20 countries and starring executive roles at Fox Reality Channel, FremantleMedia North America, Pearson Television and Australia’s Nine Network. “But everybody at the Awards ‘gets’ formats. Everyone in that room is buying, selling, producing and making money from formats. That makes it the perfect place, both professionally and personally, to pull together the industry’s past and present and bring it into the future with Fox LOOK.”
Lyle describes his new venture as “a distributor that sell like a producer”. The division’s initial focus will be on selling unscripted content from the US, both finished product and formats, to the wider world. “But in quick succession, we will be looking to represent formats that have popped up in other parts of the world and demonstrated their success,” he adds. “On the one hand, we have the size, scale, power and reach of Fox, but on the other we’re like a start-up boutique. We’re small, hungry and passionate about formats.”