Distraction Formats closes its doors

Montreal company 'too fragile to resist' economic downturn, says Michel Rodrigue. Nine jobs lost

Distraction Formats is closing its doors. The company, the first to focus specifically on format distribution, said Tuesday it has been hit too hard by the economic downturn — leading to its liquidation and the loss of nine jobs in Montreal.

The distributor was responsible for a catalogue of ’80 odd formats,’ according to founder and head Michel Rodrigue, that now will return to the original creators. Rodrigue launched the company in 1996, after producing TV formats in France and Quebec.

Speaking from L.A., where he is spending some time with his wife after commuting to and from Montreal for 10 years, he says Distraction started to ‘feel the pain’ after MIPCOM last year.

‘It’s not just Distraction,’ he says, ‘the crisis hit in September/October last year and I think a lot of people were hurt, but Distraction just happened to be too fragile to resist.’

However, he still sees the format industry as the best thing that has happened to international television. ‘It’s the best way to globalize the television world and I think it has good opportunities,’ he says. ‘Formats is the thing to do, you just have to know how to deal with it.’

The close of Distraction affects nine jobs in Montreal plus a number of sales agents around the world who, Rodrigue points out, were not relying completely on Distraction as their source of income.

Rodrigue plans to settle down in Los Angeles and spend more time with his wife while he weighs his job options. ‘We’ve been married 10 years and up until last December we hadn’t spent more than six weeks [in a row] together,’ he says. ‘So I want to work out of L.A., and then I’m open to different possibilities. Some of my employees have a taste to restart something and will want me involved and I will gladly work with them.’

From Realscreen Daily