MIPTV 2013: Sparks Eccho Sets Up Development Fund

The Scandinavian-Asian format group's cashpool is backed by Spain, Greece and the Middle East and aims to spark fresh format TV shows for the global market.

Scandinavian-Asian format group Sparks Eccho has set up a development fund for TV formats with backing from Spain, Greece and the Middle East.

The fund aims to provide seed money to paper formats and existing ideas "with the aim of piloting them and getting them to a stage where they are a sound business proposition."

Eccho Rights, Sparks Eccho group's sales division, will then distribute the formats.

Investors in the fund are Sparks Eccho Group, Zebra Producciones from Spain, Kapa Studios from Greece and Imagic from the Middle East.

Sparks Eccho Group's Nicola Soderlund said the fund should go some way to "plug the creative hole that has opened up in the market."

She said recently there have been "few new formats coming through, and those that do tend to be from the big conglomerates."

The newly-established development fund aims to give other players the chance to see their formats on screen.

"We want to use the fund to create a world-class catalog of successful international formats," Soderlund said.

"Sparks Eccho Group and its partners in the fund have experience of all aspects of getting a format to air from development of the idea right through to distribution," she added.

A steering group made up of the investors will govern the fund and an executive producer will source the projects to be supported. Each project will have a tailored treatment including mood tapes and pilots.

There are no set criteria for applying to the fund, except that the fund "will ideally support the big prime time reality formats and long running daily shows."

At MIPTV in Cannes this year, Eccho Rights' fiction section includes a Korean drama, Ice Adonis.

The show comes from CJ Group in Seoul and is already a hit in many territories in Asia.

And on the entertainment side, Eccho Rights is to tout the brand new Watch Out panel game show from France and the Russian hit comedy talent show Crack Them Up to buyers on the French riviera.

The amount of money invested in individual projects will vary according to what treatment is required and the number of investors involved.

The backers said they hope to secure a broadcaster as an investor on each project that gets green lighted for a pilot to help stimulate sales.

The development cashpool size is not being disclosed.