MIPTV: Israeli's Keshet Does Real-Time Investing With 'Elevator Pitch' (Exclusive)

Courtesy of Keshet Broadcasting
"Elevator Pitch"

UPDATE: The new format from the producers of "Rising Star" comes as Israeli competitor Reshet started production on its own interactive entrepreneurial reality show.

Keshet, the red-hot Israeli production company behind singing competition format Rising Star, is applying its real-time viewing technology to the business reality show genre with Elevator Pitch.

The new format, which Keshet has quietly been shopping to international broadcasters ahead of its official presentation at MIPTV in Cannes next week, is an interactive take on entrepreneur shows a la Shark Tank (aka Dragon’s Den).

STORY: Keshet CEO Avi Nir Leads List of ‘Israeli Culture’s 100 Most Influential Figures’

In Elevator Pitch, a would-be business tycoon is in a slowly rising elevator and has a limited time to pitch his big new idea: both to a panel of investors watching from the penthouse suite above him and to the audience at home. Investors and viewers vote live during the pitch. If they’re convinced, the elevator keeps rising. If the tycoon wins over enough viewers, he reaches the top and can launch his company.

“The investors vote too but they are committing real money,” explains Ran Telem, vp programming at Keshet. “If they vote yes, it means they agree to bid on the idea if the tycoon reaches the top floor.”

If the contestant makes it to the top, another live round begins, with the panel of investors bidding to invest their own capital to secure the idea.

Keshet is still in pre-production on Elevator Pitch, but Telem says the concept has already generated strong interest from international networks.

As with Keshet’s interactive singing competition Rising Star, Elevator Pitch uses technology Keshet developed in-house to allow viewers to vote live during the show via a second-screen app.

STORY: Is Israel’s ‘Rising Star’ the Next ‘The Voice’?

Interestingly, Keshet’s new format comes several weeks after rival Israeli producer Reshet Broadcasting announced its own interactive entrepreneurial reality show format, called Fundastic. In the Reshet format, entrepreneurs also pitch their ideas to a group of investors, who decide which of the pitches will go forward. In the second interactive round, viewers vote live via an app to choose how much of the allotted funding should be given to each entrepreneur. Casting calls for Fundastic were announced three months ago and the show, already in production, is tentatively slated for a summer launch locally.

Reality TV giant Endemol has a 33 percent stake in Reshet, a deal that has just passed regulatory approval in Israel.

Both formats will go head-to-head next week when Keshet and Endemol pitch Elevator Pitch and Fundastic, respectively, to international buyers at MIPTV in Cannes.

David Caspi contributed to this report.