Company Created 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?'

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LONDON -- Celador International, the U.K.-based creator of hit shows like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? has set up a branded entertainment division called Brand Alliances.
Celador's programs are licensed in 100 countries.

The division will work closely with brands and advertising agencies to offer consultancy services for the creation and exploitation of advertiser-funded programming, events, broadcast sponsorship, barter deals and other Madison & Vine opportunities.

Mat Freer, a former television format creator and advertising account director, has been hired as head of Brand Alliances.

Advertising background

Mr. Freer formerly worked as an account director at London agencies Havas' Euro RSCG and WPP Group's Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/ Y&R before leaving the advertising world to develop TV programming. Mr. Freer worked with a team at the BBC responsible for developing quiz show The Weakest Link and Strictly Come Dancing, a celebrity dance contest that has been licensed to 12 countries, including the U.S.

“Our intention is to be as international as possible,” Mr. Freer said of Brand Alliances’ intentions. “Our focus will be outside the U.K. The regulatory framework on the U.K. is restricting, so for us it is important to get into as many different markets as possible. The U.S. will hopefully offer many opportunities.”

Brand Alliance's revenue streams will come from monthly retainers, agency commissions or project-led fees.

The new company will operate alongside Celador International's five other divisions: format and program sales, interactive media, consumer products licensing, children's programming and international production.

British Independent Film Awards

Mr. Freer is already working on two projects in his new role. He is looking for sponsors for the British Independent Film Awards, scheduled for November, and working to exploit the rights to the FIFPRO World XI Player Awards, an international soccer prize ceremony, which takes place in September.

However, Mr. Freer insists that these projects are ones he inherited and will not be typical of the Brand Alliance offering.

"It's about starting with the brand's objectives," he said. “It's not about selling our properties, it's about talking directly to global brands and finding out exactly what they need. We are uniquely placed to help big brands find the properties they need. Our creative resource is not restricted to Celador. We have a broad range of production partners around the world.”

'Millionaire' licensed in 100 countries

Celador launched Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in the U.K. in 1998 and the show’s format is now licensed to more than 100 countries. ABC bought the rights to the show in North America, but in Venezuela and Chile, the property was licensed directly to Procter & Gamble Co. The company has also worked with McDonald's Corp. on Millionaire promotions.

Additionally, Celador has had international success with diet show You Are What You Eat, which has been licensed to 11 territories including Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and The Netherlands. The property has already spawned two hit books, a magazine and a snack food line in the U.K.

“Having built the biggest entertainment brand in the world through the strategic licensing of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? across television, interactive media, promotions and consumer products, we believe we are well positioned to assist other brand owners to exploit their rights to generate revenue, build audience share and brand loyalty,” said Adrian Woolfe, the managing director of Celador International.
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