Banijay in Mid East formats pact

Banijay International has signed an exclusive production pact with Middle Eastern prodco Periscoop, TBI has learned.

Sebastian BurkhardtThe deal means Periscoop will handle adaptation and distribution rights to non-scripted formats from Banijay Group’s international sales wing throughout the Middle East.

The pair has an existing relationship, as Periscoop previously produced Banijay format Taratata for pan-regional broadcaster Dubai TV for seven seasons.

Periscoop is also behind Middle Eastern format remakes of shows such as Zodiak Media’s Back to School: The Big Class Reunion for Egypt’s Al Hayat. It also produces talk shows, scripted comedies and game shows for the likes of MBC, New TV and Futur TV.

Banijay’s formats include Temptation Island, BFF: Best Friends Forever, Beat the Star, 71 Degrees North, Mentor and Popstars.

“We’re delighted to team with such an expert partner in the Middle East,” said Banijay International’s senior VP, international distiribution Sebastian Burkhardt (pictured). “Péri Cochin and her team at Periscoop have a wealth of knowledge and experience of successfully adapting international formats for this market and this collaboration will provide a host of further opportunities for our hit shows in this vibrant region.”

“There is always strong demand throughout the Middle East for innovative new shows and we’re very pleased to exclusively partner with Banijay International in showcasing their diverse formats portfolio to this market,” said Cochin.

“We’re already in talks with local broadcasters and look forward to bringing some fantastic new productions to Middle Eastern viewers.”

The formats business in the Middle East has become a key region for various international distributors as the region’s infrastructure improves and broadcasters break away from traditional pan-regional deal structures to commission local shows at higher rates.

Banijay recently sold a version of its French-created comedy panel show It’s Only TV to Lebanese broadcaster MTV, news TBI revealed earlier this month.

Local format representation deals have also become more commonplace, with Talpa recently tapping former Sony Pictures Television Arabia chief Ziad Kebbi to oversee its slate as CEO of Talpa Middle East and Red Arrow International launching a joint venture with Dubai-based Sync Media mid-way through 2013.