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Adapting Concepts for New Markets

What to consider when determining if your concept has potential across borders

Many unscripted shows that captivate today’s television audiences have their roots in adaptations from other markets to cater to an American audience. American Idol, derived from the UK’s Pop Idol, and the immensely popular Big Brother (originally from the Netherlands), are prime examples. Dancing with the Stars found inspiration in the UK’s Strictly Come Dancing, and Howie Mandel’s Deal or No Deal, another hit, traces its origins back to the Netherlands. Notably, Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen was adapted from the UK show of the same name. If a television concept thrives in another market, it might just be ripe for acquisition, adaptation, and exploitation.

Embarking on the journey of producing unscripted television for a new market requires a fresh perspective, resilience, and a keen understanding of the nuances that make a concept resonate globally. For new producers stepping into this dynamic arena, here’s a refined guide on how to navigate the intricacies of adapting unscripted TV concepts for diverse audiences.

Understand the Local Culture


To hit the ground running, new producers must immerse themselves in the local culture of the target market. Attend local events, engage with communities, and soak in the essence of daily life. This cultural immersion serves as the foundation for creating a concept that feels authentic and relatable.

When adapting a unscripted television show concept from another market, realize that what works in one market may not work in another due to differences in values, beliefs, and customs. It’s important to research the target market and make any necessary changes to the show’s format to ensure it resonates with the local audience.

Audience Psychology


New producers must master the art of understanding audience psychology. Beyond demographics, delve into the emotional and psychological aspects of the audience. What motivates them? What are their fears and aspirations? This deep understanding is crucial for crafting content that strikes an emotional chord.

Explore the emotional triggers that resonate with the audience. What themes or narratives have proven successful in the past? Identify common emotional responses to content within the target demographic. This exploration helps in understanding the emotional landscape you want your content to navigate.

Scrutinize social media platforms and online communities where your target audience engages. Monitor conversations, comments, and discussions to identify prevalent emotions and sentiments. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and online forums offer valuable real-time insights into audience reactions and preferences.

Strategic Adaptation


While drawing inspiration from successful formats is a starting point, new producers should approach adaptation strategically. Consider how the original concept can be seamlessly woven into the cultural fabric, creating a viewing experience that feels both novel and intimately familiar.

Modify the narrative to reflect the cultural nuances of the new audience. This involves adapting storylines, character backgrounds, and plot developments to align with the local cultural context. Ensure that the storytelling feels organic and relatable within the framework of the target market.

To help you, build a diverse team that brings a variety of cultural perspectives to the table. By including individuals with different backgrounds and experiences, you create an environment that naturally incorporates cultural nuances into the creative process. Foster open and honest conversations about cultural differences within your team. Encourage team members to share their unique perspectives and experiences. This exchange of ideas helps build a deeper understanding of cultural nuances.

Consider hiring cultural consultants who specialize in the target market. These experts can provide valuable insights into cultural norms, etiquette, and sensitivities. Their guidance ensures that your concept is respectful and aligns with the cultural values of the audience.

Inclusive Collaboration


For new producers, collaboration remains a cornerstone. Form alliances not just with industry professionals but also with local storytellers, artists, and influencers. Inclusive collaboration ensures that a diverse range of perspectives contributes to the richness and authenticity of the final product.

Fostering Creative Synergy


Embrace creative synergy by fostering an environment that encourages diversity of thought. New producers should create spaces for team members to contribute unique perspectives and ideas. This collaborative approach can lead to unexpected creative breakthroughs that resonate universally.

Allocate dedicated time for creative exploration and experimentation. This could involve periodic “creative days” or specific project phases where the team is encouraged to explore unconventional ideas. This freedom fosters a sense of ownership and creativity.

Legal Prudence


Arm yourself with a solid understanding of legalities and licensing specific to the new market. Beyond permissions, explore potential collaborations with local content creators or co-production opportunities. This proactive legal approach safeguards against complications and enhances the marketability of the concept.

Pitching with Passion


Crafting a compelling pitch goes beyond showcasing uniqueness; it requires infusing passion into the narrative. New producers should communicate not just the appeal of the adapted concept but also their genuine connection to the material and their commitment to delivering an exceptional viewing experience.

If you’re ready to build your idea into an idea you can present to the world, PITCH can help. Our experts understand the process of taking the nugget of an idea and growing it into an appealing outline and deck. Through our collaborative system, you’ll be ready to showcase your idea to a world of Hollywood decision-makers who will be excited to take on the idea you’ve crafted for a marketable audience.

In the landscape of unscripted television, new producers bring a fresh perspective and a hunger for innovation. PITCH’s award-winning producers can help you with strategic adaptation and inclusive collaboration. They can help you carve a niche for your project in the global market. The key lies in embracing the challenges, learning from the process, and continuously evolving to meet the ever-changing demands of a diverse and dynamic audience.
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David Risley

Technology Lead

David is the founder of Blog Marketing Academy. He is a veteran blogger and online entrepreneur, having founded a technology blog in 1998 and growing it into a six-figure, multi-author business which was found in publications like PC World, PC Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. He turned that blog into a commercial success using a combination of advertising, affiliate revenue, online courses, writing and selling books and CDs, and even a membership site before it was cool. 

Jaden Weiss

Co-Founder & Head of Content

Jaden is an experienced video editor with a successful career track record of production and post-production expertise across film, television, streaming, and custom video. Jaden supports all digital content initiatives at PITCH.

Yael Romanes

Graphic Design Lead

Yael is a UI/UX designer, Front end developer, the Creative Director and CEO of UL-UX studio – where we bring life into client’s ideas and create beautiful and useful interfaces. She supports all of PITCH’s graphic design requirements.

Ilana Susnow

Social Media Director

As a marketing expert with multi-platform creative and strategic experience, Ilana thrives on finding the right messaging for the right audience on the right platform. She has deep experience with building awareness and engagement for content properties and brands. Ilana’s breadth of experience ranges from social and digital to traditional marketing plans to target and reach audiences across various demographics, platforms and organizations.

Danielle Cruz

Television Writer / Producer

Danielle is a writer and producer who currently coordinates development at Scott Sternberg Productions, a Los Angeles-based company that has sold and produced award-winning original series for Netflix, Oxygen, ID, HGTV, DIY, GSN and more. Above all, Danielle believes in the power of television to not only entertain, but to empower and inspire. She earned an MFA in Screenwriting from Boston University and an BA in Modern Culture & Media from Brown University.

Jack Sullivan

Community Manager

Jack is a multifaceted artist with a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon. He has written, directed, and produced various plays, films, and scripts, some of which have been staged, optioned, or adapted. He has also worked on major feature films and television productions, taught courses in film and video production, and mentored students online. He is currently based in East Los Angeles, where he continues to explore his creativity through stand-up comedy, podcasting, editing, and blogging.

David Goldman

Co-Founder

David is a 24+ year veteran serving in a variety of global technology and operations leadership roles. David has lead technology-enabled transformation projects across the world for a range of leading companies including, PepsiCo, EY, United Airlines, Blackboard, CVS Health, Inspire Brands among many others.  As a co-founder of PITCH, David serves as head of operations, providing strategic direction and oversight for all aspects of business processes, technology, as well as innovation initiatives to continuously enhance and improve PITCH’s service offerings and capabilities.

Charlie Weiss

Co-Founder

Charlie is an Event & Awards Producer, Trade Publisher, and Communications exec with 25+ years of experience in the Entertainment & Media industry. Charlie served as Senior Vice President for NATPE (National Assoc. of Television Program Executives), as well as Publisher for Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News, MIX, and Backstage, among others. Charlie is a co-founder of PITCH, working in partnership with a global community of content creators and on behalf of programmers looking for their next big success.

Scott Sternberg

Co-Founder

Scott and his companies have been producing and creating non-scripted content for over 30 years.  The formats include game shows, talk shows, reality, reality competition, true crime, lifestyle, music, and more.  He has also sold to the US, international formats from the UK, The Netherlands, and Korea and has also sold his formats globally.   His companies have produced programs in Spanish for both Telemundo and Univision.  Sternberg adds director to his resume of music specials and series.  The companies are based in Los Angeles, New York, and Amsterdam.   The website is ssprods.com.