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While scripted TV tends to get more attention than unscripted programming, the executives gathered in Cannes this week for the 60th MIPTV international television market know that formats like reality TV and game shows help pay the bills.
And with budgets for high-end TV tightening worldwide, making more money off of those formats has never been as important as it is now.
For giant ITV Studios, home to a 90,000-strong catalog of more than 250 titles, including global formats Love Island, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and The Voice, extending established brands across different platforms has become a key to future growth.
ITV Studio veteran Ruth Berry, giving MIPTV’s Media Mastermind keynote on Tuesday, talked up how the group has pushed its non-scripted shows into the multiverse, with I’m a Celebrity jungle trials in Fortnite and metaverse extensions of The Voice.
“I’m so fortunate to be able to work with such incredible brands and refresh them and keep them fresh,” Berry said. “We are looking at how we can extend those brands and reach other audiences. [We] are starting to look at how those brands live and breathe beyond the TV screen.”
ITV reality shows are already omnipresent in the fast-growing business of online ad-supported TV, so-called FAST channels, with Berry highlighting recently-launched FAST channels for unscripted staples Come Dine with Me, River Monsters and Hell’s Kitchen.
On stage, Berry announced a rebrand of ITV’s sales division, which will see its finished tape business, formerly named global distribution, and its formats business, called global entertainment, folded into a singular operation, global partnerships, which Berry will run as managing director.
“We are bringing together the formats and the finished businesses to create a singular multi-genre, multi-brand, multi-dimensional commercial business to the heart of the studio, be that deficit financing or licensing rights to scripted slates,” Berry said. “From rolling out new formats to merchandising and the metaverse, my role really is to wrap my arms around all of that, as much as I can, and marry it up and align it to our buyers and the market.”
New formats Berry presented in a showreel at MIPTV Tuesday include celebrity reality show, Scared of the Dark and dating show My Mum, Your Dad.
Berry has spent a decade with ITV Studios. During her six-year stint as managing director, she expanded the focus from mainly English-language content sales of factual programming, to include scripted drama, both English and European, and non-scripted titles.
Prior to joining ITV Studios, Berry was at Shine International, where she was senior vp and head of EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), and at The Walt Disney Company, where her roles included head of branded services and digital media distribution, EMEA.
The 60th edition of MIPTV runs through Wednesday.
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