TV pioneer John de Mol’s Talpa Media has new hit format

LONDON/LOS ANGELES/LAREN, Holland, January 19, 2011 – Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s leading music company, has concluded a global recording and artist services agreement for the world’s hottest new TV music property, “The Voice Of…”, with its producers, Talpa Media Group, headed by one of the television industry’s most visionary entrepreneurs, John de Mol.

The Dutch version, “The Voice of Holland”, has already become the country’s most successful new TV talent contest, with audience ratings which far exceed local versions of “The X Factor”, “Idol”, “Popstar” and “Holland’s Got Talent”. And this spring, U.S. network NBC will premiere the American version of the talent show, “The Voice”.

Under its new agreement with The Voice Talent Agency (TVTA), Universal Music Group will record and promote the new stars emerging from “The Voice Of…” series around the world (with the exception of Holland and Belgium, where rights are placed with 8ball Music). In addition, UMG and Talpa will work together to provide artist services, to maximise the potential of the franchise and the finalists internationally.

The innovative format of “The Voice Of…” features only real singing talent and has three stages of competition, starting with a “blind” audition process. The four celebrity coaches (successful artists in the music industry) can only hear the competing talent, but can’t see them. They pick talent for their teams only based on vocal skills, not distracted by looks. These Blind Auditions are followed by Battle Rounds where talent sings to survive one-on-one battles within the coaches’ team. And, finally, the artists perform live on a huge stage in pursuit of the title. The TV audience votes and selects the winner together with the coaches; this triumphant singer is named “The Voice Of…” the country in which the series is broadcast, and is awarded a recording contract with Universal Music.

The TV audience appeal of “The Voice of Holland” was evident during the series’ final ‘battle’ episode last November, when it attracted 3.2 million viewers at its peak, for a 54% market share in the 20-49 target group and 59% of the female 20-34 group. During the live shows phase in December and early January 2011, ‘The Voice of Holland’ was by far the most watched Dutch TV programme on prime time Friday night. Talents from the show already obtained numerous No. 1 hits in the charts as well as gold records.

John de Mol, owner of Talpa Media, commented regarding the deal: “I am convinced that the U.S. version of this format, ‘The Voice’, will be a great instrument in discovering genuine and amazing new singing talent in the biggest entertainment market in the world. It’s fantastic to have broadcaster NBC and Mark Burnett on our side in the U.S., but Universal Music makes the picture complete.”

Lucian Grainge, Chief Executive, Universal Music Group, said: “Innovation breeds success, and in television, John de Mol’s track record is second to none. He evidently has another winner with ‘The Voice of…’ format, and we’re proud to be partners with Talpa in finding some of tomorrow’s most exciting new singers.”

TVTA’s President Tony Berk added: “Universal Music, with strong local A&R departments all over the world, is by far the best partner we could imagine to deal with outside our own territory. The Universal brand will ensure real talent to take part and go for it in this incredible contest that is ‘The Voice Of…’ ”

Max Hole, COO, Universal Music Group International, said: “We like betting on singers, and the immediate ratings success of ‘The Voice of Holland’ proves that there’s plenty of room for innovative thinking about music and television. This is a format with immense international appeal, and we’re looking forward to working with Talpa to bring fresh talent to audiences worldwide.”

About Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group is the world’s leading music company with wholly owned record operations or licensees in 77 countries. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, the industry’s leading global music publishing operation.

Universal Music Group’s record labels include A&M/Octone, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Disa, Emarcy, Fonovisa, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, Machete Music, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Polydor Records, Show Dog – Universal Music, Universal Motown Republic Group, Universal Music Latino and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalogue of music in the industry, which includes the last 100 years of the world’s most popular artists and their recordings. UMG’s catalogue is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, its new media and technologies division; Bravado, its merchandising company; and Twenty-First Artists, its full service management division.

Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi, a global media and communications company.


Talpa Media, based in Laren, the Netherlands, is the holding firm that comprises John de Mol’s media activities. The company has its focus on several parts of the international media industry. In the past few years Talpa Media established itself as a full service development and production company. With Talpa Content the group operates its own creative development unit aimed at formats for television and multimedia concepts. Genres include reality, daily and weekly infotainment magazines, variety, game shows, fiction, comedy and feature film. Talpa Productions is the group’s own TV production unit. Talpa Distribution is dedicated to the worldwide licensing of Talpa Content’s formats and finished series. When it comes to the free to air platforms radio and TV, Talpa Media Group is a shareholder in RTL Nederland ( <> ). Talpa Media operates its own music division Talpa Music ( <> ). In 2010 Talpa Media acquired a stake in successful Russian producer Mir Reality. Besides this, Talpa Media and Shine France have a fifty-fifty joint venture aimed at the exploitation of Talpa formats in Europe’s French speaking markets. The cooperation with Warner Horizon for the US market is similar, like the ones with Warner Bros. International Television Production in the UK, Boomerang TV Group in Spain, SPT’s Toro Produzioni in Italy and Sony’s SPT Arabia for North Africa and The Middle East, Axel Springer’s Schwartzkopff TV in Germany and CBV in Portugal. Talpa and Shine Australia work together in Australia and New Zealand. Recently Talpa and Nordisk Film TV set up a joint venture aimed at the TV markets in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden.