Endemol taps format guard

Lawyer specializes in media law, property protection

AMSTERDAM — Global production outfit and format king Endemol has stepped up its fight against format theft with the appointment of Wim Hoen as intellectual property rights manager.

He will report to Mike Morley, managing director of Endemol Licensing.

Hoen specializes in intellectual property and media law and has worked at Endemol for three years drafting TV format contracts and property protection. Before that, he was legal counsel for a Dutch music rights society.

Endemol is a founding member of the Format Recognition and Protection Assn., an org of format makers that banded together to try to solve the problem of format theft.

Hoen told Daily Variety that the industry was still taking baby steps in tackling format theft. “The legal situation in most countries denies the economic and cultural importance of a format simply because a lot of them are mostly basic ideas,” he said.

Endemol, a subsidiary of Spanish media conglom Telefonica, has battled more than one charge of format theft.

Hoen said he will throw Endemol’s support behind a code of conduct for the industry, something the format association has been trying to tackle.

In related news, Endemol has pacted with Holland’s largest newspaper, De Telegraaf, to form a 50-50 joint venture to develop multiplatform projects. Deal gives Endemol a print platform for its productions for the first time.

De Telegraaf publishes magazines on autos, health, living and other lifestyle interests and owns a third of SBS Broadcasting Dutch subsid SBS Broadcasting BV, which includes three channels and some production interests. Endemol produces programs for the Dutch SBS channels including “Lotto Weekend Millionaire.”

The joint venture is aimed solely at the Dutch market.

Meanwhile, Werner Schwaderlapp, managing director of Endemol Germany Holding, is leaving to set up a media management consultancy in June.

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