Fremantle sets up in Japan


In a bid to crack the notoriously tight Japanese TV market, FremantleMedia has signed a production alliance with Japanese giant TV Man Union.

The agreement, the first of its kind between a Western production company and a major Japanese player, will see the companies adapt each others' formats for their respective territories and co-produce original international content.

"The Japanese market is very different than any of the markets we work in," Fremantle CEO Tony Cohen said. "It became extremely clear to us that the only way we could have any kind of commercial enterprise there is through a partnership with a local company."

Japan has proved resistant to most international formats, with viewers preferring local series.

"Japan is a very domestic market, and Western producers have trouble getting their shows on the air there," TV Man Union chairman and CEO Yutaka Shigenobu said. "We have relationships with all the major Japanese broadcasters, and we understand how to adapt a Western format."