Enjoy Istanbul with Marc Guillet

Create, find and sell cutting-edge content to be adapted around the world

5 Mar
Written by Marc Guillet
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In order to be successful in life you don’t have to work 18 hours a day in an office. “But my mind is always busy”, says Izzet Pinto. “That’s how I succeed”.

Photo: Marc Guillet

in: Disbook #4 March 2014

Global Agency in Istanbul has become one of the fastest-growing distributors of formats, TV series and films. Broadcasters and producers around the world now associate Global Agency with one thing: content that creates buzz!

Izzet Pinto is not your regular CEO. While his team starts in the office at 9 he starts late in the day, around noon and he leaves his headquarters at 7 PM. His office is not his home. But he makes phone calls while he is driving his car and when he is at home and answers dozens of e-mails while watching television. In the middle of the night when he wakes up he checks his mail as well. “In order to be successful in life you don’t have to work 18 hours a day in an office”, he says to Disbook. “But my mind is always busy. That’s how I succeed. I see work as a pleasure, a game.”

With his international team, and bases in Turkey, the Netherlands, Portugal and the US, their knowledge of the global entertainment industry allows them to find and sell cutting-edge formats that can be adapted in territories around the world. Pinto is proud of the success of his young company. “Now we have an experienced team of 24 people, which is quite big for a distribution company, and we achieved a growth rate last year of 98 percent!”

Pinto: “It makes me happy that people talk about Turkish formats. We started this trend. That’s really cool!” In the last years everybody talked about ‘The Voice’, an interactive singing competition based on the original ‘The Voice of Holland’, created by John de Mol in 2010. “My biggest new project that I created is a new interactive competition show to find singing talent with the title ‘Keep Your Light Shining’. This is the next big thing. We sold the format already to 9 countries in the last three months, like China, France, Germany, Italy, US, all the main markets. The concept is that 12 contestants share the same song and they are judged by a jury of three. The spot light is only on the one who is singing for 20 seconds until the next takes over for 20 seconds. At the end of each show there is one winner who is in the safe zone with a green light. After twelve weeks the twelve winners compete in the finals. It is a fun game show, different, and very catchy. It didn’t air in Turkey yet.”

Another of the popular formats he sells on the international market is “Shopping Monster”, a daily show that he sold in 30 countries. “Rivals in Law”, a weekly1-hour show where two women compete with their cooking skills, has been sold to six countries. “Love Bird” is a popular drama show from the producers of “The Magnificent Century”, that still sells very well. The same applies to “Thousand and One Nights”. Global Agency sold the script rights from this drama series to Mexico.

Important trends in the television landscape in Turkey nowadays are the same as on the international markets, according to Pinto. “Interactive talent competitions, drama series, reality shows, fictionalized historical dramas, shopping, cooking fashion formats.”

Pinto doesn’t believe in the potential of co-productions in Turkey. He sees more obstacles than opportunities. “We cannot use foreign casts and it is too time consuming”.

With a bright smile he answers my question: What makes you get up every morning? “I enjoy life. I’m a very lucky guy. The first thing in the morning I do after waking up is going to my 9-months old son Aksel, which means ‘God of peace’. He gives me so much joy.”

He considers himself in the first place an entrepreneur and a creator in the second place. “And this year I will become a producer. Every year I want to add something new”.

Dutch media tycoon John de Mol is one of the few persons Pinto envies, he says. “He is the most creative producer in the TV business. De Mol developed highly popular reality television series like Big Brother and The Voice. I never met him, but I love success stories and his story is very inspirational.”


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