Channel 10 will bring one of the world’s boldest television formats to Australian screens on Sunday July 17, when the first local interpretation of hunt prime ministers.
In the new series, nine pairs of ordinary Australians will become fugitives and attempt to disappear without a trace with a team of elite investigators in pursuit. With limited funds and resources, fugitives must find ways to survive and stay on the run undetected for 21 days, for a chance to win a share of $100,000 in cash prizes.
Media Week spoke to Marty BensonContent Director, Melbourne, Endemol Shine Australia, and Tamar HovagimianDirector of Effect Partnership, Paramount ANZ, to talk about how 10 brought this unique format to local screens.
Why 10 decided to launch hunt?
Benson said this new series took years to prepare, with 10 being the station brave enough to take the plunge.
“We’ve been trying to sell it to Australia for years. 10 suddenly realized it was time for them to take a bet and go for it. We have been trying to sell this format in Australia for some time. Many years.
“I’ve been in this industry for 25 years, and this is the most exciting content I’ve ever created. This is a real-life thriller. It’s fascinating because I saw everything what was happening from the hunter’s point of view, but I couldn’t see anything of the fugitives during filming, so to put it together and get the full picture is just fascinating.
How the show was filmed
When asked how the production team was able to film the show without revealing the contestants’ locations, Benson said it was due to having a director or producer embedded in the crews.
“The fugitives had someone with them all the time. This person is an integrated producer/director. This person films and asks them questions. They are the third wheel, so if they ask strangers to lift them, they must have room in the car for three of them, otherwise they can’t take them.
“They use a handy little but pretty good quality camera with that rustic racing feel. A lot of people tell me, how can you hide it if there’s a whole film crew with them? There’s not a whole film crew with them, there’s one person running around, behind them most of the time.
When asked about the preparation for this first Australian production, Benson said there was a series of rehearsals before the show was filmed.
“We had two weeks of rehearsals. We had fake fugitives running around and we got all our systems in place. When we actually started the hunt, the integrated producers and directors knew exactly what they had to do.
The series is set in Victoria, with the fugitives being dropped off at Federation Square in Melbourne, which Benson says was facilitated by the show’s partnership with Visit Victoria.
“They’ve partnered with us, which is fantastic. It made life much easier. All Victoria is going to be seen over these nine episodes, I’m sure they’re going to be thrilled. Simple things like we knew we wanted to do the Federation Square start because it was a great starting point. When you go to Fed Square with the people from Visit Victoria, they just open their arms and say, come in, what do you need? »
How 10 monetized the format
Hovagimian said that while new and unreleased formats are always a challenge from a business perspective, especially on a show where there’s no established script, setting or faces, this 10 was able to create strong brand exposure both indoors and outdoors Hunt.
“Marty Benson and his team have always approached integration in a genuine and transparent way, but that rings even truer on a show like hunt. We didn’t want to impact the course of the fugitives or the strategy of the hunters. You’ll see there’s strong brand exposure within the program, but we can also be very creatively smart outside of the program – leveraging our broader business ecosystem such as 10 Play.
Hovagimian also said 10 offered authentic integration into Hunted, which was supported by commercial assets including embedded billboards, program IDs, launches, and themed TVCs.
“We are constantly developing new and engaging assets for brands to appear differently in content and in commercial breaks. The streaming experience can be replicated on BVOD through 10 Play’s suite of premium advertising products such as Premium Pause, Countdown and Content Carousel to provide truly exciting opportunities for brands.
“The Effect team works closely with our clients, production companies and our in-house creative unit, Imagine, to develop truly innovative opportunities to complement key themes, scenes or beats. We are well versed in creating premium, authentic and complementary brand integrations and sponsorship opportunities for our clients.
When asked how huntcompares to other top 10 entertainment properties in commercial offerings, Hovagimian said integration opportunities are different from a show like Chef Where I’m a celebrity… Get me out of here! based on the unpredictability of content.
“We don’t know what products our fugitives will use to escape a situation, we don’t know what they will eat, wear or talk about.
“Our business opportunities are similar to other shows, but the strongest opportunities with hunt are the creative ways brands can align content around the show.
There are strong opportunities for brand alignment in technology, digital, automotive, banking, QSR, food delivery, vitamins, fitness, etc., but a trade show like this also offers the possibility of a truly unpredictable brand alignment.
How the game played out behind the scenes
Benson said every effort has been made to make the game as realistic and fair as possible.
“For every fugitive and embedded producer or director there is also an advance team and the advance team gets all the CCTV footage as it comes. They also return all the data and information about the fugitive’s actions, for example, that he just got into a white car, it’s a Toyota, and the rego is such and such.
“Each team has a special data manager that compiles a database of every move. When hunters request information such as CCTV footage, it will be with that specific data wrangler. It’s a very complicated process, but within two minutes of withdrawing money from an ATM, for example, we reproduced the CCTV footage and then sent it via WhatsApp, then hunters can request this information after receiving a ping on the person card.
“The arbiter between fugitives and hunters is the former Victoria Police Detective Inspector, Ken Ashworth. He said that in real time the police would get it in 15 minutes, so we would wait 15 minutes and then we would send it. He had to oversee all the hunting and make sure everything was fair.
The production teams were even separated, to keep the game as fair as possible, which Benson said was an important task.
“It’s like having two productions at once, and you have to be on top of both at the same time. We actually separated the fugitives production office from the HQ site. Anyone who worked on the hunter side didn’t have no communication with anyone who worked on the fugitive side.They have no idea who these people were, and they had no idea what their emails were, or what information was coming in or going out.
With this format, the producers risk seeing the show end before it even really begins if the hunters quickly capture all of the fugitives, an outcome that Benson admitted absolutely petrified him.
“Hunters want to catch fugitives, I believe more than fugitives want to go all the way. Hunters have their reputations at stake. They are legitimate and credible investigators, cyber experts, police, military and British intelligence. The one thing that gave me hope that we would last was that nowhere in the world do you see an elite team of detectives chasing 18 fugitives at once. I was told by David Craig, the leader, that normally you have a team of around 100-150 people, chasing down a fugitive. They started catching people pretty quickly as you’ll see from the first episode.
How they selected the fugitives
When asked how they chose the fugitives for the show’s inaugural season, Benson said they were looking for a good mix of people.
“We needed to find people from every state, this is very important for Network 10 as we cover almost all of Australia. Besides, we needed something different, we couldn’t have all the couples, it would be boring. We wanted to make sure we covered all the bases. They were also people we found interesting. They go into this blind, they’ve all seen the UK show but the fact that it’s never been shown in Australia before, I thought most people who applied would be able to. They’re just ordinary people, to be honest.