Sony Pictures Television is the latest company to roll out a bespoke virtual event in October.
SPT, which pulled out of Cannes TV market Mipcom in July, is set to debut a month-long showcase of its latest format offerings, beginning Oct. 1. The studio’s Virtual October Formats Fest follows ITV Studios, which unveiled plans for a fall TV festival in late July.
With its formats offering, Sony is building on an existing virtual footprint. The studio was the first to go digital for May’s LA Screenings, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. This new event will effectively replicate the virtual LA Screenings portal, which paid off for Sony, allowing them to connect with more than 1,500 clients around the world. The October showcase will similarly rely on Zoom and eCinema for personalized pitches and presentations of new formats.
The expanded slate will feature titles from France’s Satisfaction Group for the first time, following SPT’s joint venture with the entertainment outfit in July. This will include the ambitious zombie-themed adventure-entertainment gameshow “District Z,” which was developed as a co-production between Satisfaction and TF1, and is being lined up as the French broadcaster’s next hit.
Other Satisfaction shows on the slate include multi-season titles in the popular “The Villa” franchise (“The Villa of Broken Hearts” and “Battle Of The Couples”); as well as celebrity fish-out-of-water comedy format “The Tourists.”
SPT will also be shopping acquired format “Time Is Money,” which was previously produced by TBS in Japan as “26 Hours.” The format sees celebrities and contestants performing an array of “life-hacks” that can gain you an extra two hours in the day.
The rebooted format will be developed for Germany by Sony Pictures Television Germany, and for the U.K. by East Media, part of The Whisper Group, which SPT acquired in February.
In another sign of the times, the festival will also highlight how SPT has adapted classic formats to COVID-19 production conditions in key territories such as the U.S. and U.K. as well as “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: A La Maison” in France, and “Dragons’ Den” in Germany and the U.S.
Another COVID-19 production highlight is “Celebrity Snoop Dogs” (pictured) for Channel 4 in the U.K., which is titled “Celebrity Snoop Pets” for the international market.
The full festival slate includes scripted and unscripted titles, including “Call That Hard Work,” “Raid The Cage,” “Here Come The Girls” and “Pretty and Single,” which is currently airing a second season in Holland for NPO3 and is in production in Finland for YLE Arena.
Sarah Edwards, senior VP of international creative development at Sony Pictures Television, said: “Following the success we experienced with our LA Screenings Portal earlier in the year, we have an acute understanding of the potential and the benefits available through virtual platforms.
“It’s hard to say anything is ‘business as usual’ in this unprecedented year, but SPT’s global formats business has met the challenges and explored the opportunities presented by the impact of COVID-19. From ‘District Z’ to ‘Celebrity Snoop Dogs,’ and ‘Call That Hard Work’ to ‘Time Is Money,’ this is a slate with broad appeal that will really connect with global audiences, and we can’t wait to present it to clients and partners around the world through the month of October.”