THE SIXTH C21/FRAPA Format Awards are under way — and, thanks to a change in the judging structure, they promise to be more relevant, more representative and more influential than ever before.
This year, a jury of top international buyers and programmers has been recruited to select a winner from the top five entries in each of the seven categories, which are voted for online by C21Media.net’s global community of 35,000-plus entertainment executives.
The decision to bring in a jury of format power players is, says Ute Biernat, FRAPA chairman and CEO of Grundy Light Entertainment, a sign that the awards have come of age. Back at its inception in 2007, the competition was very much a format family affair, designed as FRAPA co-founder David Lyle put it at the time, “to hold up the best to show how exciting, clever and dynamic format creators are” in a world that still tended to dismiss formats as the fast-food of television.
What a difference six years, a string of uber-hits and a global industry now worth upwards of €9.3bn a year makes. Today, in addition to basking in the warm glow of peer approval, the 2012 winners can also expect very real commercial benefits to flow from their moment on the podium. “The awards have become serious business,” Biernat says. “Any format that wins in Cannes is likely to see an immediate increase in its market value. That’s not only raised the bar in terms of the quality of the entries, which get better and better by the year, but it’s also raised the pressure on us organisers to ensure that the winners are truly the best in their class.”
|The judging panel for the 2012 C21/FRAPA Format Awards|
Among the judges tasked with identifying this year’s top performers are CBC Canada’s Julie Bristow, BSkyB’s Phil Edgar-Jones, Channel 5 UK’s Jeff Ford, NCRV’s William Hoes, RTE’ Dermot Horan, RTL’s Markus Kuttner, ProSiebenSat.1’s Sascha Naujoks, TV2’s John Ranelagh, Mediaset’s Esther Sanchez, SVT’s Markus Sterky and Mongol TV’s Nomin Chinbat. “Adding a panel of judges to this year’s awards takes them to a new level,” says C21’s editor-in-chief and managing director, David Jenkinson, who drove the jury-selection process. “Each of these senior programmers is well versed in formats and has been chosen for their creativity and in-depth understanding of the business.”
Biernat also picks up on this point, explaining that jury members will be present at the gala awards ceremony in Cannes — to be held on Wednesday, October 10 at ClubC21 — to share insights and offer feedback. “I think it will be of real value to hear what the judges, all of whom are experienced and successful buyers, were looking for in the winners, what they believe makes a show appealing to broadcasters and what special qualities separate a good format from a great one.”
The C21/FRAPA Format Awards are open only to programmes first broadcast between September 1, 2011 and August 31, 2012 that are now being marketed internationally as formats. There are seven prize categories: Best Studio-based Gameshow, Best Comedy Format, Best Competition Reality Format, Best Factual Entertainment Format, Best Multi-platform Format, Best Scripted and Brand-driven Format.