Much as it did with October’s Mipcom, Israel’s Keshet International dominated the just-wrapped Mip-TV market. The savvy folks behind Rising Star energized the Croisette this week with ticking time bomb format Boom!, which closed at least a deal a day including in the U.S., France, Spain, Belgium and Hungary. And, interactive singing competition Rising Star, which had already locked down more than 25 territories since last October, is still selling. But save for Brazil, which on Sunday became the first territory outside Israel to debut a local version of Rising Star, the shows have yet to be tested abroad and Mip was abuzz with anticipation, mixed with some skepticism, about the ultimate results. Underscoring that, Brazil, which scored strong numbers, had a technical glitch that meant some home viewers had trouble entering their votes. I understand this was not the same sort of situation suffered by NBC’s Million Second Quiz last year when its app crashed during the premiere. In the case of Rising Star, I’m told there was no loss of connectivity and the live show was not affected. But, it’s a fair bet that other networks who have acquired the format are keeping a keen eye on the international rollout. Portugal is next to bow in May, and ABC debuts the format in June; it’s playing close to the vest with details.
In Cannes this week, execs up and down the Croisette praised the folks at Keshet International for their marketing acumen, enthusiasm and ability to generate creative formats. The company is often credited with putting Israel on the TV map thanks, most notably, to scripted drama Prisoners Of War, aka Homeland. The deal success of Rising Star, and now Boom!, had more than one observer marveling this week that Keshet has taught “a masterclass in marketing.” A key element of that masterclass includes bringing both formats to the Riviera sales shows hot on the heels of their respectively record-breaking debuts in Israel on Keshet Channel 2. Each format’s gimmick has also been highly touted. Rising Star‘s interactive app, incubated in Tel Aviv’s cutting-edge start-up community, lets viewers control the show’s outcome. Boom! is more of a straightforward quiz show. But the concept of contestants defusing (fake) bombs onstage, while shocking some, has made buyers sit up and take notice.