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Ginx TV Gets In The Game

The world of computer games is big business;the global industry is worth more than US$40 billion,and is projected to grow by 10% over the next three years.TBI looks at how videogame broadcaster Ginx TV is hoping to share in some of this bounty.


nternational channel operator Ginx TV is one of the companies looking to exploit the videogame market with one of the founders of MTV Networks Europe, Michiel Bakker, leading the charge as chief executive. “We want to do for video games what MTV did for music,” says Bakker, who joined the company in April 2010. Ginx was founded by Cosmo Spens, former head of marketing at PR and marketing agency Cobalt Media, and Udi Shapira, former director of program- ming at Israeli broadcaster Game One, in 2007, although both have since left the day-to-day running of the company, in Shapira’s case this March. It has launched channels in markets including Turkey and Indonesia and branded blocks in India and New Zealand. Video games like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto

and Pro Evolution Soccer are huge franchises and are often exploited in the same way as international tele- vision formats. Some games such as Angry Birds and Farmville are even set to transition from the video screen to the television screen and the big screen. “TV execs are starting to open up to the fact that computer games are becoming a big part of their world. However, they still haven’t properly translated to television,” says Bakker. “Previous attempts for gaming channels have come from the online and publishing worlds. We are TV people. We love games but when we were creating Ginx, we created it from the big screen point of view.” The company, which recently closed a US$2.8 mil- lion round of investment funding with venture capital trust IBIS Media, produces a lot of its shows including Gameface, Get Fragged, The Quest, The Blurb and Planet of the Apps in-house in its West London studio. However, it is also keen to talk to independent pro- ducers from around the world about developing ideas and series. “I always want our doors to be open. We’re definitely interested in pitches related to gam- ing and we’re already talking about outsourcing our news provision,” Bakker says.

One of the key markers for the international chan- nel operator is the launch of the channel in the UK. Ginx, which hired former MTV exec Will McGillivray as channel manager last year, has been in talks with satellite pay TV platform Sky and cable operator Virgin Media for months and hopes to ink a deal soon. This will bring more opportunities and has

30 TBI April/May 2011 Michiel Bakker

alerted interest from France, Poland and Serbia among other terri- tories. Bakker says he is keen to run the channel as one international feed – barring some changes in games mad Korea and

Japan. “I’d like to keep one channel for games because games get released around the world at the same time,” he says.

3D television is at the top of Ginx’s list of priorities.

“We’re experimenting in 3D. I think 3D is a more immersive experience,” he says. A number of pay TV platforms are launching 3D channels, sometimes known as a ‘pizza’ channel, that includes 3D content from a raft of programmers. “We could provide con- tent for pizza channels, we could be a slice of that pizza.”

Ginx is already considering spin-off channels as well as additional branded blocks, although Bakker admits this is further down the line. “I think you can see possible plans in the future where there’s Ginx Kids,” he says.

It is also keen to distribute its original productions to international broadcasters after setting up an interna- tional sales arm, run by Zoe Duffelen. Gameface, for instance, has been sold to a number of international broadcasters including to recently defunct British pay network Bravo – it is now on Challenge – and expects to close a number of similar deals in the coming months. The operator is using MIP TV in Cannes to kickstart these international plans and Duffelen will be cruising the Croisette alongside channel distribu- tion exec Tony Vavrick and Bakker. TBI

Timeline: Founded – 2007

Channel launch in Indonesia – 2008 Bravo acquires Gameface –2009 Channel launch in Turkey – February 2010 Michiel Bakker joins as CEO – April 2010 Zee TV launches branded block – January 2011 TVNZ launches branded block – February 2011 Channel launch in the UK – March 2011

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