Banijay Rights brings proven and brand-new hits to Budapest
BY Yako Molhov
Yako Molhov talks to Samia Moktar, VP CEE & Airlines, and Veronique Verges, SVP German Territories, Poland and Hungary, about Banijay Rights’ main highlights for the NATPE Budapest International market as well as the company’s major hits in CEE and the latest trends in the region.
Samia Moktar, VP CEE & Airlines, Banijay Rights

Samia, Survivor is one of the best-performing Banijay formats in CEE, with a number of deals confirmed back in February. Will the format travel to additional territories in the region and what are Banijay’s other formats that enjoy great interest here?
We are extremely pleased to see Survivor returning in numerous territories across CEE together with the territory premiere in Serbia. A super brand such as Survivor, that continues to see huge internationally success over 20 years on from its initial launch, is always a format we continue to push for in new territories. This format has demonstrated its longevity with its ability to capture audiences year after year and the ratings worldwide speak for themselves. Whilst nothing has been confirmed yet, I hope to have news soon on further territories in the region joining the Survivor family.

MasterChef and Your Face Sounds Familiar are also key contributors to the schedules of many channels across CEE and continue to perform year after year, while Big Brother and The Biggest Loser continue to make their mark in the region.

What would you say are the latest format trends in CEE?
Moving through the pandemic saw a desire for safe, established formats that have proven international success behind them, but as we seemingly start to get back to ‘normality’, we again start to see the search from broadcasters for new fresh formats, mainly sitting in the entertainment space. Family and reality entertainment have always been the focus in the region in my opinion and continue to be.

Which are the formats that you will highlight at NATPE Budapest International?
We have a fabulous slate of formats this year from new dating shows such as Language of Love and Romeo & Duet to fantastic, high adrenaline studio entertainment shows like Limitless Win, but Starstruck is the main focus for me – a family entertainment format, celebrating musical icons from across the globe, the series has been commissioned in Bulgaria and I look forward to seeing this great format travel right across the region.

Has the war in Ukraine had an impact on your business in CEE?
As it stands, the tragedy of the war in Ukraine seems to have little direct impact on business in its neighboring region. When the war first started many channels moved with caution and still continue to monitor the situation closely. But for now, I can thankfully say business is continuing as usual.

Veronique Verges, SVP German Territories, Poland and Hungary, Banijay Rights

Veronique, most of the major TV market events, including NATPE Budapest International, are now back in full swing. Can we also say the same about striking deals? What have you observed so far this year?
For the moment, our business across format and finished program sales has kept up its momentum. That said, we are of course fully aware of the concerns from our partners in the region, including the local economies being impacted by the war in Ukraine.

What have been the most-popular Banijay scripted and non-scripted titles in your territories?
Across Poland and Hungary, entertainment and reality remains a huge driver in the format space and our titles such as MasterChef, LEGO Masters, Survivor, Your Face Sounds Familiar, Big Brother and The Bridge are performing strongly. Meanwhile, lifestyle, travel and food shows are always in demand on the finished programming front with Say Yes to the Dress, Interior Design Masters and culinary programming including Rick Stein’s Cornwall, Mary Berry’s themed food collections, Best Home Cook, Michael Palin’s Travels of a Lifetime, Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railway Journeys leading the way.
Moreover, returning mainstream scripted fare like Grantchester is always a strong audience pleaser, as well as high end, thought-provoking series from our European hubs including Countrymen from Norway, Caliphate from Sweden and Hierro from Spain – all of which are finding their homes on premium services.

What new titles are you bringing to NATPE Budapest International? Can you mention some recent deals?
We have a strong scripted slate led by four successful Italian series: Fosca, The Bride, My Ballerina - in its second season - and Nurse Lea, as well as other highly anticipated premium series: Signora Volpe, Marie Antoinette and Rogue Heroes. In the factual space, we are very excited to launch a slate of historical series: Titans of Wall Street and Titans of Hollywood alongside Dynasty. Virtual reality looms large with new seasons of Your Home Made Perfect and Your Garden Made Perfect, while the excellent Your Body Uncovered is breaking new ground by taking virtual reality into health programming. The reboot of Embarrassing Bodies is another exciting launch in the health genre.

You are responsible for Poland and Hungary, both territories that share borders with Ukraine. How has the war affected your business?
As mentioned above, for the moment our business has - thankfully - remained very stable both across formats and finished programming, but we share the concerns of our local partners over the ongoing war.

Are there any particular trends that you can point out? How does viewers› taste change in Poland and Hungary, for example?
The tastes of each country remain vastly unchanged. For instance, there’s more female-skewed programming in Hungary compared to a bigger appetite for male-skewed titles in Poland. For formats, positivity and co-viewing are a big draw.

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