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Banijay wins Popstars format dispute with Talpa

A court in the Netherlands has ruled that Talpa cannot launch ‘The Next Popstar’ format under that name because it is too similar to ‘Popstars‘, the format ultimately owned by Banijay.

The Dutch version of Screentime format Popstars

The District Court of The Hague issued a ruling yesterday that the title of the upcoming Talpa talent show was too similar to that of Popstars, the format created by Screentime, now part of the Banijay group.

After a two-week case, the Court ruled that Talpa and Dutch broadcaster cannot use the name. John de Mol’s Talpa is about to start production on the show, which is set to debut early next year on SBS.

Talpa is understood to have indicated that it was willing to talk to Banijay about the issue, but was adamant it would not change the brand.

François de Brugada, executive VP, creative and commercial affairs told TBI: “When we saw The Next Popstar in a country where Popstars ran for three years on the same channel we thought there could be a misunderstanding among the pubic and that they would think it was the follow-up to Popstars”.

The Banijay exec added that the company was especially concered Talpa’s show would be seen as an official follow-up following articles in the Dutch press that all mentioned the original Popstars and featured images of contestants from that show.

A Talpa spokesman said that it has the right to appeal the decision, but has not decided whether to do so.

He said: “In our view words like ‘popstar’ are in general use and the view of our lawyers was that we would be able to use that word. The owner of Popstars and the judge disagreed with that.”

The original Popstars format has been sold into over 50 territories and in the Netherlands it aired on SBS6 between 2008 and 2010.

This is the second high-profile formats dispute Banijay has been involved with in recently. Last month is said it was considering taking action against Eyeworks, alleging that elements of Eyeworks’ Celebrity Splash are too similar its own show Stars in Danger. Eyeworks strongly refuted the claims. It has subsequently taken action.