Television

FremantleMedia bags multi-media deals for 'The Apprentice'

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MUMBAI: You're Hired! FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide (FLW) announced a slew of UK multi-media deals for one of the most talked about reality series in the world, The Apprentice. This will see the brand extended across several platforms including wireless, internet and consumer products.

FLW has secured deals with the BBC, leading mobile phone networks, Halsall and will manage all ancillary rights for The Apprentice worldwide, except the US.

The second series of The Apprentice launched in the UK on BBC2 yesterday. To coincide with the launch, the BBC commissioned FLW, as part of its public service multi platform trials, to produce a package of exclusive content which will be available via the BBC website (www.bbc.co.uk/bbctwo).

Audiences will be able to log on and catch up with entire episodes online, watch behind-the-scenes interviews with the candidates and producers of the show as well as read a weekly column written by last series' runner-up, Saira Khan.

In a separate ground-breaking and one-off experiment, FLW has also secured agreements directly with leading mobile phone networks to provide commercial mobile video clips which fans can access immediately after each episode is broadcast. The content has been edited and encoded for mobile delivery by Mobile Interactive Group, the global multimedia mobile services provider.

In another deal, FLW has licensed rights to Britain's biggest privately owned toy and giftware manufacturer and distributor Halsall, to create and produce The Apprentice TV plug and play games. Product is scheduled to hit shelves in July and will be available in all good retailers including Argos, Woolworths and Toys R Us.

FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide vice president, Licensing, UK Dom Wheeler said, "Whilst content is being made available on the BBC's multi-media platforms, through this trial with the BBC we can also offer some of the same content to fans on their mobile phones immediately after a show is transmitted. We are really excited about working with the BBC and our partners on such a high-profile brand as The Apprentice and we look forward to offering fans of the show a whole host of ways to interact with their favourite brand 24/7."

The BBC is working with FLW, as one of its independent production partners, to include The Apprentice as one of a number of key brands and titles as part of its TV Plus new media trials. The trials aim to explore new ways of engaging audiences with BBC TV programmes to enhance their viewing experience and enable the BBC and its partners to learn about maximising the value in this type of content for the viewer.

The first series of the UK version of The Apprentice, which aired on BBC2, was a ratings hit, outperforming the channel's prime time average by over 20%. The final episode achieved an audience of 3.8 million viewers and a 16.6% share, demonstrating a 100% growth since launch and doubling the broadcaster's prime time average.

The second series will see Sir Alan Sugar, one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs, takes the helm once again and guides 14 candidates as they vie for his approval and the knowledge that they can make it in the world of business. The one candidate who proves their worth and capability will secure a year-long job with one of his companies and a six figure salary.

FLW is managing all ancillary rights for The Apprentice worldwide (excluding the US). Key categories include gifting (executive stationery, gadgets, electronics), games, publishing and apparel.

Based on the hit US series of the same name The Apprentice was originally created by Mark Burnett and produced for NBC by Mark Burnett Productions. FremantleMedia, who is representing the format and distribution rights to the brand in most major territories outside of the US, has produced local versions of the show in 12 territories to date, with more deals in the pipeline, according to an official release.

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