The BATTLE OF BIDDING, Buying and Selling

UFA Show & Factual’s Bianca Barth and eOne’s Matt Walton give Toby Bourne the lowdown on BIDDING WARS – the eye-opening new entrepreneurial reality show.

The boom in online shopping and a rise in returned goods might not sound like the jumping-off point for an edgy, of-the-moment competitive reality show, but it really is. In the UK alone, consumers spend billions a week online, but almost one in three of those items is sent back again.

What few people realise is that returned goods rarely go back into stock. Instead, they’re sold in bulk, sight unseen, among a mish-mash of other items. A growing band of entrepreneurs – lone operators, close friends or family pairings – then sell the goods on, often for significant profit.

This is the inspiration behind BIDDING WARS, an innovative, flexible format currently in production in the UK and Germany.

It pits real traders against each other as they compete to win pallets packed with mystery goods, then reveals what they’ve won and what they believe they can earn from their acquisitions.

“You could say this show will appeal to anyone who buys online and makes returns,” says Executive Producer Bianca Barth, who’s overseeing the German edition for RTLZWEI, only half joking.

The two versions are currently in production, and both take place in an iconic warehouse space.

Channel 4 have a TV-savvy auctioneer to marshall proceedings when necessary. The German production has a more traditional host role. “We gave this a lot of consideration,” explains Bianca. “Eventually we recruited someone who knows about buying and selling, and understands people like this and how they work.”

Run times also differ. RTLZWEI is ramping up the bids even more with 90-minute primetime episodes across the series, showcasing its scalability. “Despite a studio setting,” says Bianca, “it reveals this world and these people. And what makes it work for all viewers is the combination of the bidding and the unboxing.”

Matt Walton, Executive Producer at eOne, who’s making the show as a 15 x 30’ series for Channel 4, says what makes BIDDING WARS a surefire winner is

“a cast of passionate characters, a contemporary phenomenon at its heart, and multiple reveals to keep people watching.”

Those reveals come in quick succession, as viewers meet the day’s buyers and auctioneer, are given sketchy details of what each pallet may contain, and witness the auction itself. Then there’s unboxing the pallet, estimates of its worth and a summary of what the traders actually make from it.

“It feels a bit like Christmas or a birthday, when what’s actually in the pallet is revealed,” says Matt.

Want to hear more? Then watch the video below.

And of course the all-important social media element is more than covered. Younger bidders are often active influencers, with masses of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube followers – and speeded-up clips of the unboxing are precisely the stuff of TikTok!