In some ways, nothing much has changed in the 20 years since FRAPA was founded. In other ways, the world in 2020 would be almost unrecognisable to a time traveller from 2000.
What hasn’t changed is that the formats industry is still in need of an international industry body to protect, promote and unite it. What has changed is the nature of the challenges confronting our business, from digital disruption — the streaming revolution, social media, big data, AI, online video — to, now, the economic, social and psychological ravages of COVID-19.
FRAPA remains deeply committed to the fight against IP piracy. As co-chair Phil Gurin puts it: “It’s still imperative to protect formats from theft. If every distributor or production company or platform felt they could copy IP with impunity, the entire financial underpinning of the global formats business would collapse.” However, these days FRAPA’s brief has expanded far beyond its initial promise to “ensure that television formats are respected by the industry and protected by law as intellectual property”. Today, it is a vibrant community of friends, colleagues and competitors, dedicated to supporting not only each other but the grassroots creativity that drives the entertainment industry.
But how did FRAPA evolve from a small club of format pioneers into the inclusive global organisation that it is today? For this special anniversary edition, Phil has written a comprehensive history of FRAPA’s first 20 years, based on the memories of those who helped shape the industry that is now responsible for some of the biggest entertainment brands on the planet…
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