Factual formats have become increasingly important for broadcasters as they adapt their strategies to maintain mass audience engagement in a digitally disrupted world. The scheduling of water cooler shows such as Married at First Sight, The Bachelor, My Kitchen Rules etc have never been more important. Formats have their own sub genres such as dating, food, talent, lifestyle, fashion, hothouse competition and many more. And each of them are often shaped for particular audience demographics to better target the advertising dollar.
So what is a format? When does an observational documentary become a format? What are the ingredients of a successful format? What are the secrets to making them sellable to other territories? What tweaks are needed to foreign formats to get them to work in Australia? What is the competition for rights like? How come some of the successful formats keep changing hands? How much do they cost to buy? How expensive are they to make by comparison to other genres?