Banijay launched a brand-new global accelerator program designed to exclusively support women creators with promising unscripted formats. Unveiled at a breakfast in Cannes for Mipcom 2023, Banijay Launch is geared towards discovering and incubating untapped talent, to support the next generation of global franchise makers.
Initiated by Sharon Levy, Chief Executive Officer of Endemol Shine North America, and co-led by James Townley, Chief Content Officer of Development at Banijay, Banijay Launch will provide a selected women mentorship by Banijay’s global collective of creatives to aid them in developing bold new formats from concept to pitch to sale, thereby supercharging the group’s burgeoning pipeline.
Conceived as an enterprise-level strategy to address gender inequity and fuel creativity, Banijay Launch will seek out undiscovered formats with international appeal from an incredible pool of undiscovered women across the globe, providing a new opportunity for Banijay to further diversify both its talent and IP worldwide.
Banijay Launch was inspired by the Propelle program, a female-focused accelerator initiative created and developed in 2020 by Everywoman Studios’ CEO, Abby Greensfelder. With Levy and Endemol Shine North America partnering for two consecutive years with Everywoman Studios and Realscreen on the program, the pair have established a long-standing working relationship. Greensfelder consulted on the creation of Banijay Launch and will join the judging panel for the initiative’s inaugural year.
To support the program, Banijay Americas has commissioned a first-of-its-kind study with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, in partnership with Everywoman Studios. The institute is the only global data-driven, non-profit that researches diversity, equity, and inclusion onscreen in media and entertainment to mitigate unconscious bias, while fostering inclusion, and systematically reducing negative stereotyping. The ground-breaking study will investigate women’s inclusion in creative leadership roles in unscripted production across four distinct territories: Brazil, the UK, the United States, and one EU territory to be determined.
● HOW IT WORKS?
Banijay will first select the top three to five finalists who will be mentored by a local creative to develop their formats, with the aim of nurturing them to screen. The competition will culminate with a live pitch presentation before a judging panel led by Levy and Townley. Fellow judges include Marco Bassetti, CEO of Banijay; Pilar Blasco, CEO of Banijay Iberia; and Abby Greensfelder, Founder and CEO of Everywoman Studios. A winner will be crowned during London Screenings 2024.
“As a group, Banijay is constantly exploring new ways to support the broader content community, diversify its pipeline and ultimately, sharpen its creative edge. With an undisputed track record of travelling IP, expansive cross-territory network of first-class producers, and industry-leading unscripted infrastructure led by Creative Networks, the business is primed to open its doors to yet-to-be-discovered creative minds. Through Banijay Launch, and the partnership with the Geena Davis Institute, we hope to welcome women creators who may be struggling to have their voices heard, setting a new narrative for the industry, and fostering the next generation of break-out unscripted formats,” said Sharon Levy, CEO of Endemol Shine North America.
Marco Bassetti, CEO of Banijay, commented: “We are proud at Banijay to have over 50% of our managerial positions globally filled by women. However, we recognize the landscape has not always supported this demographic of creators in breaking through. With Banijay Launch, we are vested in spearheading a raft of new unscripted format ideas, ideated by women, and in doing so, we hope to bring new voices and talent to the market, with the potential of creating the next ‘Survivor,’ ‘MasterChef,’ or ‘Big Brother.’”
Through Banijay Launch, and the partnership with the Geena Davis Institute, we hope to welcome women creators who may be struggling to have their voices heard.” Sharon Levy CEO of Endemol Shine North America