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‘Masked Singer’ Named 2019 Format of the Year by U.K. Firm K7 Media

In a recently released industry study, U.K.-based research firm K7 Media has named “The Masked Singer” as its ‘Format of the Year’ for 2019.

Entitled ‘Tracking the Giants: The Top 100 Travelling Formats,’ the annual study explores the global marketplace for unscripted formats, offering an overview of sales, trends and other forces driving the market.

For 2019, the research team tracked nearly 400 deals, which included 345 new licenses, in an effort to determine what was on the way up, formats on the way out and titles that remained evergreen.

With close to 25 sales announced in 2019 alone, MBC/Fremantle’s musical game show “The Masked Singer” was leader of the pack for the past 12 months.

First introduced in South Korea in 2015, the franchise has since spread to 22 different countries, with more to come this year. Earlier this month, the U.S. version’s third season premiere, which got the lead-out from the Super Bowl, scored 23.73 million viewers for Fox.

“‘The Masked Singer’ is the perfect example of a format whose success could not have been predicted,” says K7 Media CEO Keri Lewis Brown.

Because this young format did not figure on the 2018 study, and in a year’s time has found global success, Brown argues, “it is fantastic to look deeper than the spectacle and truly understand what keeps audiences across the globe tuning in.”

K7 Media also notes that “Masked Singer” embodies the current desire for ‘positive competition,’ arguing that the playful and ostentatious concept has had an outsized impact on the global television landscape, comparable to that of “The Voice” in 2010.

The report also named Fremantle as ‘Distributor of the Year.’ Leaving “The Masked Singer” aside, Fremantle had four other titles in the top 15 best-sellers rankings, with formats such as “Family Feud,” “Got Talent,” “5 Guys a Week” and “Eating with My Ex” encompassing more than 20 sales as well.

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