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Reality is still the top draw

Territory report: Holland/Scandi

AMSTERDAM — Scandinavia and Holland continue to churn out some of the hottest reality formats on the globe and competition among broadcasters for them has not abated.

The highest-profile battles across Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, as well as Holland, however, are sliding over to the glamour front.

In Denmark, Distraction format’s “Star for a Night” on public broadcaster DR1 is battling it out against TV2’s “Pop Stars” and TV3’s “Idols,” with DR1 pulling in the top auds.

Reality remains popular, but there is a slight tarnish around the edges and will not be the hot object of desire at Mipcom, notes Claes Braagaard, TV buying director for media ad buying firm OMD in Denmark.

“There was a lot of hype around the reality shows for a while, but it has died down. ‘Big Brother’ is always interesting, but that’s because people run around naked.”

Not to be outdone, Iceland and Finland are becoming the latest to be struck by “Idols'” allure. Icelandic Broadcasting Corp.’s pay TV Channel 2 has waged its costliest campaign for “Idol — Search for a Star,” which began in September, notes Heimir Jonasson, head of production.

In Sweden, rustic goes up against glam and control freaks in the 7-8 p.m. timeslot, with Strix’s “The Farm” on TV4 Sweden, TV3’s “Fame Factory” and Kanal 5’s Endemol format “The Masterplan.” SVT is showing “Expedition Robinson.” “Farm” is reaping the heftiest aud shares.

Biggest headache for commercial outlets in Holland is Tuesday night soccer on public Channel 2.

“It can be counterprogrammed but it’s not easy,” notes Bart Soepnel, a veteran Dutch buying exec and senior VP of acquisition for the entire SBS chain of stations across Europe. Net 5, another of SBS’ three channels in Holland, has skewed female, counterprogramming the soccer mania with a solid block of “Sex and the City.”

With local programs strong in the Nordic territories and Holland, there will be little lust for international fare at Mipcom.

Soepnel, Ake Kallqvist, head of program acquisitions at Norwegian pubcaster NRK, and Anneke Lindberg, deputy head of acquisitions at TV4 Sweden, do say, of course, that they will be on the look out for the next hot thing.

Says Kallquist, “It happens more often than not. Suddenly there’s a title no one has heard of but everyone wants.” If need be, he adds, “we’ll get down and fight for it.”

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