& aims

‘The commercial strength of the formats industry depends on our capacity to protect our product’

Today’s multi-billion-dollar global formats industry is founded on the assumption that intellectual property (IP) rights exist. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t always agree. Too many judges in too many jurisdictions still maintain that formats are generic programme ideas as opposed to original creative works — and ideas, as everybody knows, cannot be protected by copyright law. Even in jurisdictions with ‘format-friendly’ legislation, copyright-infringement cases routinely fail.

Against this backdrop, format theft continues to be a threat to the very existence of the formats industry. The commercial strength of our business depends on our capacity to protect our product. What, after all, are the rights to a TV format worth if they cannot be reliably protected against unlicensed copying?

While the courts continue to deny the existence of formats, FRAPA will continue to fight for their recognition and protection by:

  • Lobby for the greater legal recognition and protection of formats
  • Advising members on their rights and recourses when their IP is threatened
  • Promoting good business practices in line with FRAPA’s Code of Conduct
  • Researching the economic power of formats and celebrating their creative impact
  • Fostering a culture of trust and friendship among all those involved in the international trade in formats.

Declaration of Cooperation

FRAPA stands to protect formats. We believe in free trade. We support the credo: “I will buy from you if you will buy from me.” It is always a two-way street.

In 2018 it became more and more apparent that the issue of format free trade was under attack. Increasingly, it seems that the global exchange of intellectual property has become weaponized in a larger cultural trade war that threatens our entire industry. Where once you could share drinks and create commerce with friends and strangers in markets large and small, political tensions, conflicting ideologies and overt nationalism has changed the landscape. We see countries intent on expanding their own culture while outright banning others. There is only selling and no buying.

We asked Reed Midem to address this situation at one of their next MIP conference, and to offer a platform for the wider industry to discuss this issue. We hope to share more information on this soon. Meanwhile, to underline our position, the FRAPA General Board has agreed to publish its DECLARATION OF COOPERATION, written by co-chairman Phil Gurin. This document is meant for every stakeholder in the format industry, not just FRAPA members. It attempts to clearly state the principals we hold dear and valuable, and should be passed around to all who share our mission.

History of FRAPA

Like all the best stories, it’s been a journey…

In April 2000, a small group of format-industry pioneers met in Cannes to debate the creation of an international industry body to combat the problem of TV-format piracy. The upshot was the Format Recognition and Protection Association (FRAPA), which opened its doors in October of that year.

But like all the best stories, it’s been a journey, as FRAPA co-chair Phil Gurin writes here


FRAPA voices

‘The best support available’

“Being part of the FRAPA family allows me to trade my formats safely. And if the worst happens, I know I’ll have the best support available. Being a FRAPA member is very helpful to format newcomers like me. I hope I can exchange ideas and experiences with other FRAPA members — and every FRAPA member now has a friend in Brazil.” 

Brazilian journalist and broadcaster André Anelli

Organisation structure

We are a non-profit organisation. All our board members work for free, carving out time from high-profile day jobs to serve an industry they love, value and desire to protect.

FRAPA’s organisation consists of a management board and a steering committee which, together, form the general board. The management board conducts FRAPA’s day-to-day business, sets and controls its budget and offers consultancy and advice to members. The general board is responsible for creating policy, as well as supervising, advising and supporting the management board.


The general board is also responsible for nominating FRAPA ambassadors. These are outstanding format professionals who have given a minimum of five years to FRAPA, contributing their time and knowledge to the greater good not only of the association and its members, but to the entire formats industry. FRAPA ambassadors can only be appointed by the unanimous decision of the general board.

Articles of Association Foundation FRAPA

FRAPA management board

Meet our chairmen

Phil Gurin

The Gurin Company

Co-chairman since March 2015 and board member since 2010

“FRAPA is the conscience of the global format industry. Protecting the business that feeds our families is why we do what we do. Join us”

Jan Salling

BBC Studios Nordic Productions & Missing Link Media

Co-chairman since March 2015 and board member since 2010

“FRAPA is a stamp of trust and approval for you and your business”

FRAPA management board

Lisette van Diepen

Marphes Media
Management board

“To me, content is king and format is the language”

Mike Beale

ITV Studios
Management board

Bianca Rootsaert

Managing director

Eric Kafoe

Project manager

FRAPA advisory board

Keri Lewis Brown

K7 Media
Board member

It profoundly shocks me to see companies stealing intellectual property. Please don’t”

Jin Woo Hwang

Something Special
Board member

“Ideas, know-how — do whatever it takes to protect your IP. FRAPA can help”

Michael Schmidt

Total Schmidt Show
Board member

‘Person, woman, man, camera, TV, Format, FRAPA”

Nicolas Smirnoff

Board member

“Prensario FRAPA makes business health more touchable”


Hayley Babcock

Board member

Original ideas are the foundation of your format. FRAPA helps you protect them“

Fumi Nishibashi

Tokyo Broadcasting System
Board member

 “Creativity should travel around the world with proper respect and protection. FRAPA works to safeguard it.”

Tony Stern

Tony Stern

Fremantle Media
Board member

“I very much look forward to contributing to the important work FRAPA does promoting global respect for format rights and providing a voice for the formats industry.”


Carlotta Rossi Spencer

Carlotta Rossi Spencer

Board member

Format ideas and the people behind them deserve recognition, respect and protection. Frapa has been the go-to place for this for over 20 years and I am honoured to be part of it.


Tony Stern

Nick Smith

Board member



FRAPA honorary member

David Lyle 1950 – 2017


FRAPA ambassadors

Robert Chua

Production House Company

Ambasador since 2013

“FRAPA is here to protect the creation of our original formats and we all need to support its work”

Ute Biernat

Grundy Light Entertainment

Lifetime ambassador since 2015

“FRAPA means not only rights protection, but also developing the formats industry and being connected with key players… FRAPA is a friendly bridge to becoming involved.”

FRAPA Format Awards: 2003-2019

How it all began...

The FRAPA Format Awards were launched in 2003 at the Monte Carlo TV Festival, moving to the Rose d’Or Television Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland in 2005. In those first two years, awards were presented in just three categories: best game-show format, best reality format and best scripted format, with the winners selected by a jury of industry experts.

In order to raise international impact, FRAPA accepted the invitation from industry trade publisher C21 Media in 2015 to become a partner in the C21 International Format Awards. Now rebranded as the International Format Awards, these are a co-production between C21 Media, FRAPA and EMC, in association with MIPFormats. The annual event now takes place at an exclusive beach-front venue in Cannes, attended by some 250 MIPFormats/MIPTV delegates. 

The International Format Awards are unique not only because they are devoted exclusively to television formats, but also because of the online screening and voting mechanism that lies at their heart. The judge and jury are C21’s 35,000-strong online community, which votes via the video portal. As a result, the awards are truly international, truly democratic and a true reflection of the best creativity in the global format industry.

Each year, the awards committee also presents a Golden Award to an organisation or individual that has made an outstanding contribution to the worldwide format business.

International Formats Gold Award
2020: Wayne Garvie
2019: Peter Fincham, Expectation Entertainment
2018: Alex Mahon, Channel 4
2017: Paul Gilbert, CBS Studios International
2016: Gary Carter
2015: Annie Wegelius
2014: Mark Itkin, William Morris Endeavor
2013: Stephen Lambert, Studio Lambert/All3Media
2012: David Lyle, Fox Reality
2011: Dick de Rijk, creator of gameshow hit Deal or No Deal
2010: Reg Grundy, former CEO of Grundy Television
2009: Peter Bazalgette, former creative director of Endemol Group
2008: Stephen Leahy and Trish Kinane, Ludus Entertainment
2007: Merv Griffin, creator of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy
C21/FRAPA Format Award winners: 2019

Best Brand-Driven Format: Back to Mine (Shiver)
Best Studio-Based Gameshow Format: What Would Your Kid Do?  (Boomerang – Twofour Group)
Best Scripted Format: The Fall (Avalon Television Ltd with Birdbath Productions and Merman)
Best Multi-Platform Format: Make Your Country Great Again (FC Panache)
Best Comedy Format: Stories from Norway (Concorde)

Best Competition Reality Format: All Together Now (Remarkable TV)
Best Reality Format : The Circle (Studio Lambert, Motion Content Group)
Best Host of a Television Format: Amy Poehler – Making It (Universal Television Alternative Studio)
Best Factual Entertainment Format: What Would Your Kid Do? (Boomerang – Twofour Group)
Best Returning Format; Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (Stellify Media)

C21/FRAPA Format Award winners: 2018

Best Brand-Driven Format: Old People’s Home For 4 Year-Olds (Red Arrow Studios International)
Best Comedy Format: Did You Get The Message? (Be-Entertainment)
Best Factual Entertainment Format: Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds (Red Arrow Studios International)
Best Multi-Platform Format: Vlogglebox (All3Media International)
Best Scripted Format: Catastrophe (Avalon Distribution)
Best Competition Reality Format: Game of Clones (The Story Lab)
Best Studio-Based Gameshow Format: The Wall (Endemol Shine Group, Glassman Media, Springhill Entertainment, NBCUniversal)
Best Reality Format: One Night With My Ex (Twofour Rights)
Best Host Of A Television Format: Stephen Mangan – The Fake News Show (Hat Trick Productions)

C21/FRAPA Format Award winners: 2017

Best Brand-Driven Format: Special Delivery (Warner Bros. International Television Production)
Best Comedy Format: Immigrants Guide (All3Media International)
Best Factual Entertainment Format: This Time Next Year (Twofour Rights)
Best Multi-Platform Format: Stupid Man, Smart Phone (BBC Worldwide)
Best Scripted Format: The A Word (Keshet International)
Best Competition Reality Format: Get The F*ck Out Of My House (FremantleMedia)
Best Studio-Based Gameshow Format: Doctors Vs Internet (Magnify Media)
Best Reality Format: 60 Days In (A+E Networks)
Best Host of a Television Format: Alec Baldwin – Match Game (FremantleMedia)

C21/FRAPA Format Award winners: 2016

Best Brand-Driven Format: The Outlet Challenge (DRG)
Best Comedy Format: Lip Sync Battle
Best Factual Entertainment Format: The Secret Life Of 4 Year Olds (Zodiak Rights)
Best Multi-Platform Format: The Last Hours of Laura K
Best Scripted Format: The Last Cop (Red Arrow International)
Best Competition Reality Format: Bear Grylls: Mission Survive
Best Studio-Based Gameshow Format: You’re Back In The Room (BBC Worldwide)
Best Host of a Television Format: Bear Grylls: Mission Survive – Bear Grylls (Electus)

C21/FRAPA Format Awards winners: 2015

Best Brand-Driven Format: BFF (Banijay International)
Best Comedy Format: …And The Rest Is History (The New Flemish Primitives)
Best Factual Entertainment Format: 24 Hours In Police Custody (ITV Studios Global Entertainment)
Best Multi-Platform Format: The Secret Life Of Students (ITV Studios Global Entertainment)
Best Scripted Format: Jane The Virgin (Electus International)
Best Competition Reality Format: Adam Looking For Eve (Warner Brothers International Television Production)
Best Studio-Based Gameshow Format: My Mum Cooks Better Than Yours (FremantleMedia International)
Best Host of a Television Format: Adam Richman – Food Fighters (Electus International)

C21/FRAPA Format Awards winners: 2013

Best brand-driven format: Be the Boss (All3Media International)
Best comedy format: Hotel Zimmerfrei (from Nordic World)
Best factual entertainment format: Googlebox (All3Media International)
Best multi-platform format: Pissed Off (ITV Studios)
Best scripted format: It’s a Date (ABC Commercial)
Best competition reality format: Mentor (Banijay International)
Best studio-based game show format: Take on the Twisters (ITV Studios)

C21/FRAPA Format Awards winners: 2011

Best Competition Reality Format: The Voice (Talpa Distribution)
Best Comedy Format: Wall of Fame (Hat Trick International)
Best Multiplatform Format: The Only Way is Essex (All3Media International)
Best Factual Entertainment: Angels of Reality from (Can’t Stop Media)
Best Studio-based Gameshow: Epic Win (BBC Worldwide)
Best Scripted Format: Friday Night Dinner (BBC Worldwide)
Best Brand-generated Format: nPower: What’s Ypur Goal? (North One Television)
IFY Gold Medal Award: Dick de Rijk

C21/FRAPA Format Awards winners: 2009

Best Competition Reality Format: Relentless (Zig Zag Productions)
Best Comedy Format: I Get That a Lot (CBS Studios International)
Best Multi-screen Format: Married on MySpace (Endemol)
Best Observational Documentary Format: Undercover Boss (All3Media International)
Best Gameshow: Pretty Smart (Talpa Distribution)
Best Scripted Format: Being Erica (BBC Worldwide/Temple Street)
IFA Gold Medal Award: Peter Bazalgette

C21/FRAPA Format Awards winners: 2008

Best Factual Entertainment Show: Born to be Wild (Zodiak)
Best Competition Reality Show: Make it Short (Distraction Formats)
Best Multi-screen/Future Media Format: The Cell (Endemol)
Best Studio-based Gameshow: The Encounter (Sera Film Services)
Best Sketch Comedy: Headcases (ITV Global Entertainment)
Best Scripted Format: El Cartel (Caracol TV)
IFA Gold Medal: Stephen Leahy and Trish Kinane

C21/FRAPA Format Awards winners: 2007

Best Factual Entertainment Show: Wasted (Fumes)
Best Entertainment Reality Show: Just the Two of Us (BBC Worldwide)
Best Multi-screen/Future Media Format: 40 Weeks (Magyx)
Best Studio-based Gameshow: 8 out of 10 Cats (Zeppotron)
Best Sketch Comedy: Spoons (Endemol)
Best Scripted Format: Serial Frank (Distraction Formats)
Best Competition Reality Show: Ladette to Lady (RDF Rights)
IFA Gold Medal: Merv Griffin