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3-D Animation Global Channels Co-production Models

MIPTV EDITION

Disney Channels’ Carolina Lightcap BBC Children’s Joe Godwin Lagardère Active’s Pierre Belaïsch www.tvkids.ws

THE MAGAZINE OF CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING

APRIL 2010


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TV KIDS

4Kids Entertainment www.4kidsentertainment.com • Tai Chi Chasers • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds • Dinosaur King

“ These programs reach the core kids’ audience, ages 6 to 11, for broadcasters around the world.

Tai Chi Chasers, a 39-episode fantasy adventure series, is 4Kids Entertainment’s lead new property for MIPTV. It sits alongside several other productions in the company’s catalogue targeting kids aged 6 to 11, including new episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds and Dinosaur King. “These are all story-driven series, with kid-identifiable characters,” says Brian Lacey, the executive VP of international.“Over the years,Yu-Gi-Oh! has proven to be a franchise type of series, which enables broadcasters to effectively build a strand of programming year-in and year-out.Dinosaur King has racked up impressive audience ratings in virtually every market [it has aired in].We expect Tai Chi Chasers to follow in the footprint of Dinosaur King.” Lacey says his goals for MIPTV include strengthening the company’s broadcaster partnerships.“We hope to do this by providing new content—over 130 episodes of original programming—that continues to draw a loyal and strong audience following.”

—Brian Lacey

Yu-Gi-Oh!

9 Story Entertainment

IN THIS ISSUE Make Way for 3D

www.9story.com

Executives debate the feasibility of 3-D TV 32

• Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars • Survive This • Wild Kratts

The title character of the classic Harriet the Spy books is given a modern look in the new Disney Channel original movie Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars, which leads off 9 Story Entertainment’s new properties for MIPTV.The special stars Jennifer Stone of Wizards of Waverly Place as an aspiring writer who decides to blog about a teen idol starring in a new film from her father, a movie producer.The company is also bringing to market a second season of its kids’ reality series Survive This, which puts eight 14- to 17-year-olds through a variety of skilltesting survival challenges.Also available is an animated series, Wild Kratts,from adventurer zoologists Chris and Martin Kratt. “The markets are always a great forum for introducing our slate of programming to international broadcasters,” says Natalie Osborne,the executiveVP of business development at 9 Story.“MIPTV will give us a good sense of the direction the year is taking in the production and distribution of kids’ programming and is always a great steppingstone, for us, to MIPCOM later in the year.”

Hanging Tough Surveying the global channel brands

40

Partnering Up Co-productions have become essential

“ We are always

Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars

excited to meet with key buyers to talk about the new programs we’ve completed and showcase what we have in the pipeline.

—Natalie Osborne

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Interviews BBC Children’s Joe Godwin Disney Channels’ Carolina Lightcap Lagardère Active’s Pierre Belaïsch Mondo TV’s Matteo Corradi Marvel Animation’s Eric Rollman Rainbow’s Iginio Straffi Fresh TV’s Tom McGillis

54 58 62 66 70 72 74


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TV KIDS

Al Jazeera Children’s Channel www.jcctv.net • Saladin • Discover Science • Game Show Format • Nan & Lili • Al Maaa

Ricardo Seguin Guise

Publisher Anna Carugati

Group Editorial Director Mansha Daswani

Executive Editor Kristin Brzoznowski

Managing Editor Lauren M. Uda

Production and Design Director Simon Weaver

Online Director

Supported by the Qatar Foundation, Al Jazeera Children’s Channel ( JCC) is the Arab world’s first dedicated offering for kids. Since its launch in 2005, however, JCC has worked hard to expand outside of its regional borders. With a mix of original productions and acquired fare, JCC has been bringing its mission of educating kids aged 7 to 14 with entertaining content to territories outside the Middle East. JCC also expanded its target base with the launch in 2008 of Baraem TV, a preschool service. At MIPTV, JCC is showcasing the original programming it has developed for its channels, including the Malaysian co-production Saladin; Discover Science, a coproduction with Japan’s NHK; and the preschool shows Nan & Lili and Al Maaa. “We believe these are quite unique programs [that will] stand out for the quality of their content and production values,” says Malika Alouane, JCC’s director of channels’ programming.

Nan & Lili

“ We believe these are quite unique programs [that will] stand out for the quality of their content and production values.

—Malika Alouane

Phyllis Q. Busell

Art Director Tatiana Rozza

Sales and Marketing Director Kelly Quiroz

Sales and Marketing Manager Rae Matthew

Business Affairs Manager Cesar Suero

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Ricardo Seguin Guise

President Anna Carugati

Executive VP and Group Editorial Director Mansha Daswani

VP of Strategic Development TV Kids © 2010 WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, #1207 New York, NY 10010 Phone: (212) 924-7620 Fax: (212) 924-6940 Website:

www.tvkids.ws

Amberwood Entertainment www.amberwoodent.com Rob the Robot

• Rob the Robot • RollBots • The Secret World of Benjamin Bear

MIPTV marks the official launch of Amberwood Entertainment’s new preschool series Rob the Robot.The show will be Amberwood’s “major push” at the market, according to senior VP Jonathan Wiseman. Commissioned by Canada’s TV Ontario, the title stars a curious and adventurous robot, named Rob, exploring the planet with his friends. “Rob the Robot is an off icial treaty coproduction with Singapore’s One Animation,” Wiseman notes. “Knowledge Kids, ACCESS and SRC are also on board and Amberwood will be announcing several additional broadcast partners at MIPTV.” Wiseman adds that Rob the Robot “combines entertaining story lines with stunning visuals,” and features a strong educational foundation. Amberwood will also be in discussions with broadcast partners on several other properties, notably RollBots, which was commissioned by YTV, and The Secret World of Benjamin Bear, which is now in its fourth season and continues to shore up slots worldwide.

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“ The series [Rob the Robot] combines entertaining story lines with stunning visuals on a strong educational foundation.

—Jonathan Wiseman

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Australian Children’s Television Foundation www.actf.com.au Deadly

• Deadly • Lockie Leonard • My Place

The Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) is a major provider to the ever-growing list of broadcasters in need of live-action dramas and comedies. On the comedy front, ACTF is offering a second season of Lockie Leonard,which has “received an overwhelming response” since its MIPCOM launch, according to Roberta Di Vito, international sales executive. Another highlight is the 13-episode My Place. Di Vito is also excited to be showcasing an assortment of short-form content, as well as the animated series Deadly. “With a slate that mixes brand-new as well as evergreen kids’ programming, and spanning everything from tweens to family entertainment, we anticipate that our catalogue will be well received by buyers,” Di Vito s ays.

“ The really nice thing about our shows is that every series is a great entertainment experience with interesting characters and strong stories that kids can relate to.

—Roberta Di Vito

CAKE www.cakeentertainment.com

“These are five

• Ooohhhasis • Dead Gorgeous • Angelo Rules • Total Drama World Tour • Stoked

CAKE Entertainment continues its successful collaboration with France’s TeamTO on Ooohhhasis, about a curious lizard and his friends looking for adventure in the desert. This follows CAKE and TeamTO partnering on Angelo Rules. CAKE has also developed strong ties with Fresh TV through the Total Drama franchise—Total Drama World Tour is being launched at MIPTV—and with the comedy Stoked.Rounding out CAKE’s highlights is the live-action series Dead Gorgeous. “Each show is very different,” says Ed Galton, the managing director of CAKE Distribution.“We’re always looking for those properties that will resonate with client’s audiences worldwide, so having an international feel and humor is very important.” 282

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interesting programs that tick the boxes of what we look for when we take on a property: strong characters, engaging story and an impressive design, look and feel.

—Ed Galton Stoked


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Classic Media www.classicmedia.tv • My Life Me • Nan & Lili • Tracy Beaker Returns • OOglies • Tinga Tinga Tales

“ We’re excited to

Classic Media, which represents more than 3,600 hours of programming, has taken on several new brands recently. There’s the tween animated series My Life Me, the preschool animation Nan & Lili and the kids’ sketch show OOglies. These join the returning animated preschool property Tinga Tinga Tales, as well as the live-action series Tracy Beaker Returns, currently airing on CBBC, on the MIPTV slate. “Amongst the broad-ranging appeal of these shows, buyers will find comedy, fun, humor, learning and drama but above all, well-produced, entertaining content,” says Chloe van den Berg, the executive VP of international.

head into this market with a strong offering of new and classic brands.

—Chloe van den Berg

My Life Me

Cookie Jar Entertainment www.cjar.com • • • • •

Doodlebops Rockin’ Road Show

Doodlebops Rockin’ Road Show Magi-Nation Caillou Kung Fu Dino Posse Metajets

On the heels of the global success of the preschool live-action series The Doodlebops, Cookie Jar Entertainment is bringing to market the new animated offering Doodlebops Rockin’ Road Show. “By animating the show we have opened up a whole new exciting world that kids everywhere will love,” says Alison Warner, distribution VP. Older boy-skewing properties also feature, such as Metajets, Kung Fu Dino Posse and season two of Magi-Nation. Warner says that Cookie Jar will also be exploring international co-production opportunities at MIPTV, and “seeking partners for our new live-action shows in development. In addition, we are also open to co-producing third-party shows.”

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“Cookie Jar Entertainment is offering broadcasters a wide range of programming that will appeal to audiences of all ages.

—Alison Warner


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DECODE Enterprises www.decode-ent.com • Pirates, Adventures in Art • Martha Speaks • How to be Indie • That’s So Weird • dirtgirlworld

DECODE Enterprises has three sister production companies to draw on for its output to the international market: DECODE Entertainment, Studio B Productions and Halifax Film. New for MIPTV is the preschool art series Pirates, Adventures in Art, which “teaches kids to be creative,” says Josh Scherba,the seniorVP of distribution.Also on the slate are dirtgirlworld,Martha Speaks,How to be Indie and That’s So Weird.“A number of these series are still in production but have already been proven to connect with audiences and draw ratings in major territories— they are new first-run series but with less risk associated because of their track record.In the difficult financial climate we’re currently faced with, this is a big plus for buyers.”

“ These are all

Martha Speaks

series that have come from production houses with a good track record in producing successful kids’ shows.

—Josh Scherba

DQ Entertainment International www.dqentertainment.com • The New Adventures of Peter Pan • Lassie & Friends • Charlie Chaplin • The Jungle Book • Feluda:The Kathmandu Caper

DQ began developing its own intellectual property for the worldwide market with The Jungle Book. The company is now shifting its attentions to another literary classic in The New Adventures of Peter Pan. It is also adapting Satyajit Ray’s Feluda detective stories, as well as animating Charlie Chaplin and Lassie. Tapaas Chakravarti, DQ’s CEO, says that these brands are being “resurrected and adapted to 21st-century kids and families” using scriptwriters from Europe and the U.S. At MIPTV, Chakravarti says, “We are excited to showcase our new developments and look forward to strategic alliances to bring these great properties to life.”

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The New Adventures of Peter Pan

“The properties being developed by DQ are legendary brands with existing and recognized equity throughout global markets.

—Tapaas Chakravarti


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Edebé Audiovisual www.edebeaudiovisual.com • • • •

4 Angies Let’s Play with Boomchiki Boom Stoneboy Edebits

Edebé Audiovisual is promising a diverse slate of children’s programming titles at MIPTV, according to Eva Fontanals, the managing director of Edebé Audiovisual Licensing.The highlights differ in terms of style and target demo.There’s the environmental series Edebits; 4 Angies, a girls’ action series that was among the top 30 shows screened at MIP Junior; and new seasons of Let’s Go Play with Boomchiki Boom and Stoneboy. “Our series are strong as TV properties,” says Fontanals.“Our next big goal is to transform them, together with our licensing department, into recognizable brands, and this will only happen once we create awareness of the brands. MIPTV is a great market to do so.”

“Edebé Audiovisual, as a division of children’s publishing house Edebé, is committed to the production, distribution and ancillary exploitation of quality kids’ properties.

—Eva Fontanals 4 Angies

Fitz Roy Media www.fitzroymedia.com • • • • •

Fido Dido Funny Face Heathcliff Daktari Park Secret Wings

Originated more than 30 years ago, the jokester cat Heathcliff is being updated, courtesy of Fitz Roy Media and Magic Lantern. Fitz Roy and Magic Lantern are also collaborating on Daktari Park, based on the works by wildlife vet Sue Hart. Reinvigorating classic brands is central to Fitz Roy’s strategy, says CEO Hamp Hampton, who is also working on a series of oneminute interstitials for Fido Dido.Targeting a younger set is Secret Wings, a girls’ brand. Hampton adds:“The downturn in the market has created new opportunities for companies like mine that can say, ‘We’ve got great properties that are known, we’re going to develop them in a different way, and be out there in the market faster.’”

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Funny Face

The business was built around the idea of taking properties with a lot of equity that need to be rebranded and [bringing them] back in a different way.

—Hamp Hampton


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I.M.P.S. www.smurf.com • The Smurfs • The Smurfs and the Magic Flute

“ The values that

The Smurfs turned 50 last year,and the little blue characters continue to find their way onto television screens around the world. I.M.P.S.represents 272 half-hour episodes of the classic series,first broadcast from 1981 to 1989, as well as the 1975 animated feature film The Smurfs and the Magic Flute. “I.M.P.S. is continuing to see great interest in the classic animated Smurfs series,” says William Auriol, the company’s CEO. “The performance of the cartoon series in terms of ratings, which are very high, justify the continued interest in the series. It’s an evergreen character, but we have nevertheless adapted our brand strategy and image to constantly changing trends and we continue to work with strong brands, quality products and the best retailers to create Smurf universes worldwide.”

the Smurfs represent are universal and timeless— they appeal to people all over the world and to all generations.

—William Auriol

The Smurfs

Inspidea www.inspidea.com • Mustang Mama Football Fever • Mustang Mama Diehard Sports Fan • Mustang Mama X3 • Mat Kacau

With the football World Cup just a few months away,Malaysia’s Inspidea will be talking to its clients about a new season in its Mustang Mama animated shorts franchise, Mustang Mama Football Fever. This will be accompanied by Mustang Mama Diehard Sports Fan and Mustang Mama X3.Andrew Ooi, Inspidea’s managing director, notes: “The Mustang Mama series are poised to capture the programmers’attention when they’re looking for hilarious sports-based shorts.” The company is also launching Mat Kacau, co-produced with Malaysian kids’ network Astro Ceria. Ooi is feeling optimistic about MIPTV. “As always, our shows will not dent broadcasters’ pockets, so we aim to sell a lot at MIPTV.” 290

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Mat Kacau

“We are confident that our shows will appeal to more buyers at MIPTV because they are all about sports and 2010 is a gigantic sporting year.

—Andrew Ooi


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Mediatoon Distribution mid.mediatoon.com • Yummy Toonies • Contraptus • The Magic Roundabout • The Garfield Show • Chumballs

“ Mediatoon Distribution manages the Dargaud Media, Ellipsanime Productions, Dupuis and Storimages properties.

The new series Yummy Toonies, which Mediatoon is launching at MIPTV, teaches preschool-aged children about the importance of eating fruit and vegetables through 104 one-minute interstitials.The company will also be showing the CANAL J 3-D animated comedy Contraptus, based on the comic-book series Leonard by Turk and De Groot, which has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide. For the preschool set, the company is offering up a second season of The Magic Roundabout, a property that has already been licensed into more than 50 territories. Jérôme Alby, the deputy general manager, also lists The Garfield Show, with a second season under way, and Chumballs.

—Jérôme Alby

Yummy Toonies

Moonscoop www.moonscoop.com SamSam

• Tara Duncan • The DaVincibles • Zevo-3 • Dive Olly Dive • SamSam

At Moonscoop, Lionel Marty, the president of worldwide distribution,is expecting a positive 2010 for the company.“We feel in good shape for the year ahead,”says Marty,pointing to the breadth of the company’s slate.Topping the list is the new animated series Tara Duncan for the 8-to-12 set. Also new is The DaVincibles,which Marty describes as a “classic cartoon comedy adventure caper”for kids 7 to 11.Another show featuring a comedy angle is Zevo-3, about teens who develop superpowers. Capping off the Moonscoop list of highlights are second seasons of Dive Olly Dive and SamSam.“Both of these are performing extremely well internationally and the quick commission of further seasons is testament to their success.”

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“We have a strong slate of shows, with new series being well received, and established programming continuing to be popular with buyers.

—Lionel Marty


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Motion Pictures www.motionpic.com • Glumpers • Boom & Reds • Van Dogh • LMN’s • Telmo & Tula Arts and Crafts

“ Our

From the funny preschool series Van Dogh and Boom & Reds to the slapstick comedy of Glumpers, the educational content of LMN’s and the activityencouraging Telmo & Tula Arts and Crafts, Motion Pictures is stressing the high quality of its animation production. “We focus on non-violent content, with special preference for fun and comedy,” says Tony Albert, the commercial director. Motion Pictures is able to serve a wide breadth of broadcasters’ needs,Albert says. “We address all kinds of targets, from preschool to tweens, and we combine edutainment with comedy. Right now, our content is being broadcast in five continents and we expect to expand it to more territories.”

animation offer is wide and diverse, with the aim that any network that broadcasts animation can find content that fits their needs in our catalogue.

—Tony Albert

Telmo & Tula Arts and Crafts

Nerd Corps Entertainment www.nerdcorps.com • • • •

Subterrainea Endangered Species League of Super Evil Storm Hawks

Subterrainea

Nerd Corps Entertainment put itself on the worldwide map with two properties: the action-adventure show Storm Hawks and the action comedy League of Super Evil.Both will be available at MIPTV, with a second season of League of Super Evil and 52 episodes of Storm Hawks still available for certain territories.Also on the roster are two development projects: Subterrainea and Endangered Species. All target the 6-to-11 set.“Broadcasters are looking for shows that deliver for this age group,” says Ken Faier, the company’s president. Discussing his goals for MIPTV, Faier notes:“We’re looking to keep the momentum going on our finished productions, and move our new projects forward, getting them through the development phase and into production.”

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“ These series deliver great comedy and action for kids 6 to 11, and it’s all done in a very characterdriven way.

—Ken Faier


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PGS Entertainment www.pgsentertainment.com • Iron Man: Armored Adventures • I.N.K.: Invisible Network of Kids • The Gees • The Little Prince of St Exupery • Toobo

Formed last year, PGS Entertainment is positioning itself as a key supplier to the kids’ market by delivering something “for everyone’s schedules,” says Philippe Soutter, the founder and managing director. The mix includes shows based on well-known brands, such as Iron Man:Armored Adventures and The Little Prince of St Exupery, as well as new properties, like the Flash-animated I.N.K.: Invisible Network of Kids. In addition, Soutter sees strong potential for “innovative short-form formats,” such as Studio Hari’s Gulli co-production The Gees and Toobo, a weather forecast for kids.“Our mission is to represent a benchmark of quality with the kids’ properties we are involved with,” Soutter notes.

“ PGS represents well-known brandfocused properties, shows with worldclass broadcast partners attached, innovative short formats and new formats.

—Philippe Soutter

Toobo

Portfolio Entertainment www.portfolioentertainment.com • The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!

Several episodes of Portfolio Entertainment’s new preschool series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot AboutThat! will be available for buyers to screen at MIPTV.“Our sneak-peek of Cat at MIPCOM generated tremendous interest from buyers across the globe and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to demonstrate how well Dr. Seuss’s Cat has transitioned from the page to the screen,” says Joy Rosen, co-founder and co-president.“The high-quality animation style makes it look as though the books have literally come to life. Actor/comedian Martin Short provides the voice of The Cat, endowing the character with his signature playful voice.” With Treehouse Canada and PBS Kids in the U.S. on board for a fall 2010 launch, Portfolio will be using MIPTV to continue signing up new partners. 296

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“ The series is engaging, funny and filled with extraordinary adventures of scientific discovery.” —Joy Rosen

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!


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TV KIDS

RDF Rights www.rdfrights.com • Waybuloo • Yo Gabba Gabba! • Mister Maker • Escape from Scorpion Island • Summer in Transylvania

Yo Gabba Gabba!

A veteran of Disney, National Geographic Kids Entertainment and Entertainment Rights, Karen Vermeulen recently joined RDF Rights as VP and head of global TV sales and co-production for its kids’ and family division. In this role, she is driving the exploitation of properties such as Waybuloo and Mister Maker, preschool series for CBeebies; Yo Gabba Gabba!,a hit show for Nick Jr.in the U.S.;the CBBC/ABC Australia adventure game show Escape from Scorpion Island; and the Nick U.K. sitcom Summer in Transylvania.All these shows,Vermeulen explains, have “universal relevance and appeal to an international audience.” In addition, she says,“We are coming to MIPTV with a very strong development slate. We are eager to talk to prospective co-production partners to come on board on two particular projects: one is an adventure comedy for older preschoolers and the other one is a kung–fu slapstick caper for 6- to 9-year-olds.”

“ All of our programming tries to bring something slightly different to the market norm and boasts high production values and quality story lines.

—Karen Vermeulen

Sesame Workshop www.sesameworkshop.org • Abby’s Flying Fairy School • Munchin’ Impossible • Elmo’s Backyard • 3, 2, 1 Let’s Go • The Electric Company

Sesame Workshop’s flagship series Sesame Street turned 40 last year and continues to deliver fun, educational content to children the world over.“We have a long history of creating an award-winning series that resonates with families,” says Renee Mascara,VP of international television distribution. “From that, we’ve spun off short standalones in which the beloved Sesame characters retain their wit and humor, but in new and different formats.” These include Abby’s Flying Fairy School, with Abby Cadabby; Munchin’ Impossible, which addresses “healthy eating, but in a really fun way”; and Elmo’s Backyard.“It’s all about nature and appreciating your community,” Mascara says. “These topics are incredibly relevant and the quality of the production is first class.” Rounding out the slate is the preschool block 3-2-1 Let’s Go, hosted by Abby Cadabby; and the new version of The Electric Company.

The Electric Company

“ We’re fortunate that buyers and viewers the world over love Sesame Street.

—Renee Mascara

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TV KIDS

Shaftesbury www.shaftesbury.ca • Baxter • Vacation with Derek • Overruled! • Connor Undercover • Life with Derek

Baxter

Shaftesbury recently received an order from Canada’s Family Channel for the new half-hour teen comedy series Baxter, which is slated to launch later this year. It follows Baxter McNab and his friends on their journey through the unique, high-energy environment at Northern Star School of the Arts.The show is the latest in a slate of live-action youth series from Shaftesbury.The company has also produced three seasons of Overruled!, also for Family Channel, which has sold into a number of territories—as has another Family Channel commission, Connor Undercover, recently licensed to Gulli in France and Boomerang Latin America. Shaftesbury built its reputation in the live-action kids’ sector off the back of the long-running Life with Derek. Shane Kinnear, the VP of sales, marketing and digital media, says he is excited to be launching at MIPTV a follow-up TV movie, Vacation with Derek.

“ New for Shaftesbury Kids in 2010 is Baxter, following kids in a school for the arts, and Vacation with Derek, the movie follow up to the very popular Life with Derek.

—Shane Kinnear

Skywriter Media & Entertainment Group www.skywritermedia.com • Live from Earth • Vivi • Echo Planet • Atomic Betty • Miss BG

“ We’re a new company made up of experienced individuals from across this industry who bring unique talents and fresh ideas.

Skywriter Media & Entertainment Group made its international debut last year at MIPCOM.The company, co-founded by Kevin Gillis, will be introducing several new brands at its second market, led by the live-action show Life from Earth.The show, says Gillis, executive producer and CEO at Skywriter, reflects the company’s commitment to assembling strong creative teams to drive its productions. Also new for MIPTV are Echo Planet, which Gillis refers to as a “kids’ adventure, environmental science mash-up series,” and Vivi, about a little girl’s adventures as captured in her scrapbook. Skywriter is also representing Atomic Betty and Miss BG, Gillis adds. He says of the slate: “The concepts are strong, wellthought out and we have researched the audience, their tastes, and broadcaster trends.” MIPTV will serve as a “major testing ground for the creative content we’ve been developing and hot-housing the last few months.”

—Kevin Gillis Vivi

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TV KIDS

Studio100 Media www.studio100media.com • Vicky the Viking • Enyo • Florrie’s Dragons • Kerwhizz • Zeke’s Pad

Enyo

The classic German series Vicky the Viking is being remade by Studio100 using 3-D CGI animation for a contemporary kids’ audience. “We are seeing a return to traditional characters and programs, mainly in the area of preschool programming,” says Patrick Elmendorff, the managing director of Studio100 Media. “Renowned characters are starring in newly produced adventures that intentionally keep up the ‘retro’-appeal.” Studio100’s other top shows include the preschool series Florrie’s Dragons and Kerwhizz; the kids’ title Enyo, a fantasy adventure; and Zeke’s Pad, a comedy. “Studio100 Media now has an extensive library of new and existing programming which we will be offering to buyers and we expect to sell our key properties into an increasing number of European markets and internationally,” Elmendorff says.

“ We have character-driven stories offering comedy, fantasy, action and adventure with strong story lines targeting both girls and boys.

—Patrick Elmendorff

Toei Animation corp.toei-anim.co.jp/english • • • • •

Sailor Moon Dr. Slump, Arale One Piece Strong World Marie & Galie Master Hamsters

Toei Animation is behind such hits as Dragon Ball and One Piece.At MIPTV, the company aims to cement its existing worldwide partnerships and develop new ones. According to Kenji Ebato, chief manager of the international department, the lead property for this market is Sailor Moon, which the company hopes to presell to European broadcasters.Toei will also be placing an emphasis on Dr. Slump,Arale, Marie & Galie, Master Hamsters and the animated movie One Piece Strong World. “Toei Animation is focusing on increasing broadcast and merchandising sales for our programs, building awareness about our new and existing properties, and getting more deeply involved in digital distribution,” Ebato says.“Buyers will be especially drawn to our programs because we have many shows being renewed for 2011 in the U.S., Italy, Europe and Asia due to their popularity with audiences.”

“ Our in-house produced programs are filled with action, adventure and relatable characters that have really resonated with audiences worldwide.

Master Hamsters

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—Kenji Ebato

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TV KIDS

Toonz Entertainment www.toonzentertainment.com • Wolverine and The X-Men • Speed Racer,The Next Generation • Mostly Ghostly • Speed Racer Classic • Freefonix

India’s Toonz Animation has stepped up its international operations with the launch of Toonz Entertainment.The U.S.-based distribution arm is being led by Matt Cooperstein as executive VP.“Toonz Animation India had reached a point in its development [that it needed to] launch the next phase of growth by distributing its own series and features,” Cooperstein notes.“P. Jayakumar,the CEO of Toonz Animation India, and I see the opening of the U.S. office as a critical step towards [being] a fully integrated media company.” The company’s properties include two seasons each of Wolverine and The X-Men and Speed Racer,The Next Generation, as well as Speed Racer Classic, the Halloween specials Mostly Ghostly and the action-adventure show Freefonix. “Toonz Entertainment will use MIPTV to launch our new distribution company with eight products,” Cooperstein says.The mandate also includes acquiring third-party animated series for distribution.

“ Our programs will appeal to buyers because of the highprofile brands along with high-quality animation.

—Matt Cooperstein

Freefonix

Your Family Entertainment www.yf-e.com • Oscar the Balloonist • Wakkaville • Li’l Larikkins • My Dad’s an Evil Genius • Ninjured!

Formerly the managing director of Nickelodeon Germany, Markus Andorfer joined Your Family Entertainment (YFE) this year as senior VP of program sales and marketing. In his new post,Andorfer is leading the exploitation of a catalogue of 3,500 half hours. At MIPTV, Andorfer lists Oscar the Balloonist as one of the lead highlights, alongside Wakkaville, Li’l Larikkins, My Dad’s an Evil Genius and Ninjured! “We see a growing demand for entertaining, non-violent and educational programs,”Andorfer says of trends in the business.“This confirms YFE’s main focus and strengthens our position in the marketplace.”Andorfer is particularly keen to raiseYFE’s profile in markets such as Central Europe, China,India,South America and the Middle East.“Telecoms and VOD platforms and also independent DVD labels are of interest,” he adds.“With a track record of over 28 years, YFE continues to maintain its reputation for delivering world-class entertainment for the whole family.”

“ Our expert-driven research makes us acquire and produce fresh, educational and non-violent entertaining programs that parents trust and kids enjoy.

—Markus Andorfer 304

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Wakkaville


ALL NEW SHOWS AND

RETURNING FAVOURITES Baxter 13 x 1/2 hour NEW series

Vacation with Derek 1 x 1 1/2 hours NEW movie based on the HIT series!

Overruled! 39 x 1/2 hour NEW season of the HIT series

Connor Undercover 39 x 1/2 hour NEW season of the HIT series

Visit us at MIPTV 2010 booth R27.12


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While Avatar has taken the film industry by storm, television executives debate the costs and feasibility of 3-D on the small screen.

Make Way for

By Bill Dunlap Digital animation and 3-D just seem to go together. First, if you happen to be among the millions who donned 3-D glasses for a screening of Avatar in recent months, you saw a lot of it—CGI video in the movie and a lot of 3-D trailers for upcoming animated movies from DreamWorks Animation and Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios. Then, at about the mid-point of Avatar’s run as number one at global box offices in January, the Consumer Electronics Show convened in Las Vegas and the hot topic there was 3-D, too. Multiple manufacturers announced that they would be selling TV sets and DVD players with 3-D capability this year. That’s the kind of confluence that makes people in the children’s animation business sit up and take notice.It’s not a “perfect storm” by a long shot, though.There’s a big piece still missing. In the U.S., ESPN and Discovery have unveiled plans for 3-D channels for sports and documentaries, respectively, but none of the major kids’ broadcasters have followed suit. In the U.K., BSkyB is putting up a 3-D service, but so far it’s aimed more at sports fans watching in pubs. Although most kids’ animation makers aren’t converting to 3-D production yet, most of them are thinking about 3-D, many are planning for it and a few are already working on it with future broadcast in mind. Further into 3-D than most independent animation houses is HIT Entertainment in London.“HIT has been very interested in 3-D for quite some time,” says Lenora Hume, HIT’s executive VP of programming and production. “When I joined, in 2006, one of the first things we did was a 3-D test. We did a tiny 30-second piece with Bob the Builder in our own production facilities, and we did one for Pingu. At a company summit in 2007 we showed those.That was to get the company thinking about 3-D in the future.” Hume, who went to HIT from The Walt Disney Company, sees 3-D much like the transition to high defini-

HIT’s Bob the Builder. 306

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Popping out of the screen: Cyber Group produces and distributes a number of series in 3-D CGI, including Fish n Chips.

tion, which HIT adopted in 2006 even though there was little demand at the time. “You knew it was the way of the future,” she says. “Some TVs out there are already 3-D ready. It’s something that HIT will do, providing it’s not significantly increasing our costs, so that we are on the leading edge.” HIT’s first 3-D project, though, is not for television.The company is working with the Los Angeles-based SD Entertainment on Bob the Builder and the Roller Coaster, a 10-minute movie for Legoland theme parks. THE WAY FORWARD

The Paris-based Moonscoop Group is just beginning to dabble in 3-D, according to Bill Schultz, a co-CEO of Moonscoop U.S. in Los Angeles.“We are working on something that will require us to do some trailblazing,” he says. “We’re just at the beginning of the process.We’re working on a theatrical trailer that will run in the fall, a 30-second short featuring characters from the Wild Grinders.The property is already established, but it’s a 2-D flash property.The goal is to make it stereoscopic 3-D. It hasn’t been done. All the stereoscopic 3-D that’s been done has been CGI.We’re not even thinking ahead to television for it.” Schultz places himself at the beginning of the learning curve on 3-D, examining such issues as possible headaches caused by extended use of the glasses.“I’m looking at it from a content perspective and I think there is definitely a value added for the consumer when they can see something in an impactful 3-D,” he says. Steven DeNure, the COO of DHX Media and the president of DECODE Entertainment, says his company is developing some new projects and debating whether to do one of them in 3-D.“We haven’t budgeted it out, though,” he says. “It has to be a business decision. Unless there is somebody willing to pay a premium for a show in 3-D then probably from the production point of view it doesn’t make a lot of sense.What broadcasters do will dictate what we do.They’re our customers.” Genevieve Dexter, a partner and the commercial director at CAKE Entertainment in London,has taken notice of the “meteoric rise” of 3-D in the cinemas, but questions how much demand there will be for 3-D kids’ television.“At the moment everybody is still trying to find an HD market for children’s animated and live-action programs on television,” she says.“We all shoot in HD but we don’t get much call to deliver in HD.” What CAKE is doing is beginning to assess the cost of going back into the elements of some existing shows to upgrade them to 3-D. “We have started to analyze the cost of transferring some of our existing shows into 3-D to be able to offer them to 3-D channels in the future. We’re in the process of trying to cost that.” For now, CAKE is not considering development of any new 3-D series, Dexter says.“We’re putting our efforts much more into multiplatform entertainment than into stuff that there may or may not be a demand for.”

Also jumping into 3-D animation is Cyber Group Studios in Paris. “We’ve been looking very seriously about putting 3-D into our shows,” says the chairman and CEO, Pierre Sissmann.“We are in the advanced stages of production on one series and parts of a movie in 3-D.” The movie is Ozie Boo! The Magic Shell, based on Cyber Group’s popular preschool CGI series Ozie Boo!, which features a group of cuddly penguins. Because the 75-minute movie is aimed at preschoolers, who may not have the patience for a full-length feature watched through glasses, the film is only partially 3-D.“The scenes we’ll do in stereoscopic vision are the eight songs in the movie,” Sissmann says. “They are about a minute each and they convey a very different feeling.” Cyber Group is also in production on a series with 3-D elements that mixes animated characters with actual scenery from U.S. National Parks, called Tales of Tatonka. “We figured it would be interesting because of the style of animation and the richness of the background,” Sissmann says.“The series will be delivered next year.We’re doing it to gain some kind of experience in handling the technical tools and see what kind of artistic impression we can deliver to our audience.When we deliver the series, out of the episodes there will be a few 3-D images.” Sissmann acknowledges that there is zero demand for 3-D series, but still thinks it’s time to start producing them.“I think it’s important for us as producers to gain some kind of insight on how to produce with this technology, for the Floating to the top: Amberwood, which is currently working on the CGI series future.We have to be ready,” he says. Rob the Robot, expects to expand into 3-D within the next few years. 308

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Head of the class: Angelo Rules is among the CGI series being rolled out by CAKE.

Nor is Amberwood Entertainment taking the plunge just yet. “It’s definitely on our minds, but we have yet to strategize how we’re going to go about doing it,” says Craig Young, Amberwood’s VP of production.“We’d love to be one of the front-runners with it.We have several productions that would lend themselves quite well. RollBots has a lot of characters zooming around on these roller-coaster-type tracks. It would lend itself perfectly to 3-D.”

HD it probably added 10 to 20 percent to the cost. The increase to 3-D could be comparable to that, unless there’s some new plug-in that does it automatically.” DeNure at DECODE says CGI animation, already commonly called 3-D but not of the stereoscopic variety, is the simplest medium in which to do true 3-D.“Doing 3-D computer animation is probably the easiest, because it’s all done in a virtual world anyway,” he says.“There’s a way to create those layers you need to create a 3-D show.” Canada’s Nerd Corps Entertainment has set itself up as a leading provider of 3-D CGI animation.“It’s just something that we felt would give us a strategic advantage when we were starting the company eight years ago,” says Chuck Johnson, cofounder of Nerd Corps and its senior VP of production.“We wanted to try and create a scenario where we weren’t just any other animation studio on the block.At the time we started,3-D animation was not considered to be the best new thing.The broadcasters had found some failures early on and at the time 3-D was not necessarily the shining star of the industry.We wanted to come in and prove that it could be done better.” With series like Storm Hawks and League of Super Evil, Johnson says, Nerd Corps found that it could “manipulate the process, the pipeline, to create something that was reliable and quite different.3-D animation has in the past employed a process of overdoing everything. Layering on more detail, more complexities, and it really takes a surprising amount of creative control to [stop] yourself from overdoing it.We took a lot of principles from classical animation and other art forms and really put those into the pipeline and found ways to make it viable long term.” Hume points out that HIT’s internal 3-D demonstration films were done when Bob the Builder and Pingu were both stop-motion properties but that the current CGI animations are more amenable to 3-D. HIT is one of several animation houses thinking about upgrading existing animation to 3-D where possible.“Those files exist,” says Dern, referring to the HIT properties.“If you separate them and put them into two eyes, and you have the expertise, you can go back into those digital files and dimensionalize a library. Even 2-D animation looks pretty cool in 3-D.”

EASY DOES IT

FINDING THE RIGHT AUDIENCE

The general consensus at this early stage of development is that 3-D animation doesn’t require totally new skills or massive investments in personnel, equipment or software. Jonathan Dern, a co-founder of SD Entertainment, which developed the 3-D animation in HIT’s Bob the Builder Legoland movie, says it’s very important to understand 3-D before you deliver it.“Once you do, it’s not rocket science. It is the future; it’s really important for my company that we embrace it and take the lead in producing in 3-D.” He pegs the incremental cost increase at 10 to 15 percent. Cyber Group’s Sissmann says it’s “not difficult, just different. For a director of a series or movie it presents more challenges, but it’s exciting because it’s a new way to create. It does have a cost, which is not massive. At this point we estimate it at 10 or 15 percent on top of what we are spending.” Moonscoop’s Schultz sees the cost similarly. “3-D will be more expensive because you will be rendering the same image twice,” he says.“Rendering can be a time-consuming, expensive part of the process.When we went from standard to

One unanswered question about 3-D animation is which age groups can appreciate it. Amberwood’s Young doesn’t think younger preschoolers will sit still for a show viewed through glasses.“Trying to get a three-year-old to sit with a pair of glasses on probably is not going to happen,” he says. “But kids are very sophisticated these days. From about the age of five I can see it being somewhat appealing to them, definitely a novelty. I can see 5 to 11 eating that up and being mesmerized by it.” HIT and SD are both doing research with advisory groups on the subject.“A good proportion of our library is preschool,” Hume says.“We are always cautious about doing things that are age-appropriate for our audience.With the Bob the Builder movie we wanted to make sure we weren’t going to terrify a child. You have to be careful about how you use the 3-D, and I believe we were very sensitive to our audience and that this 10-minute film is age-appropriate and works for a preschool audience.” Cyber Group’s Ozie Boo! movie is also aimed at preschoolers, which is why the 3-D elements are short and tied to musi-

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Seeing red: Nerd Corps has carved a niche in the production of 3-D CGI series such as League of Super Evil.

cal numbers.“You can’t put glasses on the eyes of preschoolers for 90 minutes,” Sissmann says.“So people who do 3-D movies have to be careful which audience they direct it to. Eight, ten, twelve years old and up, there is no problem.We think it will enhance the movie.” DeNure sees the sweet spot for kids’ 3-D audiences in the 7to-12 range.“We’re thinking it’s not going to be important in preschool,”he says.“In terms of the older,boys’action-adventure or action-comedy genres, 7 to 11 or 7 to 12, there would probably be high interest.We think less so for live-action tween-, teen-targeted shows, but that remains to be seen.” 3-D OR NOT 3-D

such an exciting phase, and I know our shows will translate phenomenally well into 3-D.” Many others in the animation community agree it’s coming.“I worked 12 years at Disney and they’re always thinking five or seven years ahead,” Sissmann says.“It starts with market penetration by the manufacturers of TVs. Let’s talk around Christmas four years from now and look at the sales. I think we’ll be in a different economic cycle; the recession will be over.The first things are going to come from the big broadcasters. It’s moving very fast in the cinema. I think, on the television side, we’re three to five years behind.” Hume calls Avatar the catalyst that will drive 3-D television.“SD and HIT were rolling along on a fairly aggressive plan, and it seems everybody is interested now,”she says.“It seemed a novelty prior to Avatar,but now people are looking at it differently. I think people will be asking about it at MIPTV.” Amberwood’s Young expects to see animators pitching 3-D shows in the next couple of years.“It’ll take someone with a great series idea with broadcaster backing,” he says.“It wouldn’t surprise me if in the next year or so Amberwood starts planning a project with that in mind.” CAKE’s Dexter remains somewhat doubtful.“3-D television does seem quite a way away. In addition there is quite a bit of skepticism about the application of 3-D TV to the children’s area. I think it’s applicable for event television for older children, but I can’t see anybody sitting down and watching it with specs. I can see it for event programming on television for animated features. People will want to experience the same thing when they buy the DVD that their friends experienced in the cinema.” But Dern from SD, who calls himself a zealot on the subject, says it is coming:“Sooner than you think.Anybody who’s seen a 3-D movie in the last year will feel cheated if they don’t see it in 3-D in the home, once it hits the downstream. Just like standard def to high def, there will be a break point, whether it’s in three years or seven years. It’s a natural progression. Studios are investing billions.When Warner Bros. announces that the next two Harry Potters are going to be in 3-D, the wave has been set. Ultimately the technology will come along and you’ll be looking at a glasses-free environment and 3-D as the standard.”

But the real question still on the table is whether the whole concept of 3-D television will catch on and become part of the mass viewing experience. There are many true believers. Sony, which is partnering with Discovery and IMAX on a 3-D channel, says that in its fiscal year starting in April 2012, 3-D televisions will make up 30 percent to 50 percent of its sales. Similarly, Samsung Electronics America, DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor have formed a global partnership for the delivery of a complete 3-D home-entertainment package this year. DIRECTV says it will launch three U.S. 3-D channels in June, offering pay-per-view events and movies, video on demand, and a variety of free sports, music and other entertainment. At the same time, skeptics question whether consumers are ready, in a tight economy, to shell out money for another high-end display and DVD player just a few years after HD sets and Bluray gained traction, and they wonder how the glasses will be accepted. And more specifically to animation, no plans have been announced for a 3-D kids’channel.Cartoon Network says 3-D animation is on its radar, but it’s too early to identify any projects or airdates. Disney says it has no plans for 3-D on Disney Channel or Disney XD. At Nickelodeon, meanwhile,“The buzz around 3-D at the moment is big,” says Steve Grieder, the executive VP of Nickelodeon and program sales for MTV Networks International. “Nickelodeon is committed to developing breakthrough creative across all the mediums and technologies that kids and families are excited about—so we’re absolutely Skating ahead: Moonscoop is working on a stereoscopic 3-D trailer working on plans to enter the 3-D space shortly. It’s featuring characters from the 2-D shorts Wild Grinders. 312

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By Mansha Daswani

The big boys of the global kids’ channel space are all pushing 30—indeed, that’s a milestone that Nickelodeon passed last year.With maturity has come tremendous expansion: Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network all reach in excess of 160 territories. But as they have moved from being the new kids on the block to established majors, the international children’s channel brands have also had to adapt to a radically different landscape. In addition to facing competition from each other, Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, and their sister kids’ brands, are up against strong local-market services like France’s Canal J and the U.K.’s CBBC, up-andcoming independents such as CBeebies, KidsCo and JimJam, and all the other things that can take up a child’s time, from video games to social-networking sites. “You’re constantly trying to reinvent how to do everything you do better and smarter,” says Cecilia Persson, the VP of programming, acquisitions and presentation for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Turner Broadcasting. “That’s an ongoing challenge for all kids’ channels.”

Baby Antonio’s Circus on JimJam.

STANDING OUT

From the established majors to up-and-coming independents, the global kids’ channels are relying on creative programming initiatives to remain fresh and relevant.

The key, channel executives agree, is having a point of distinction that is reflected in all of your programming.“We are laserfocused on our brand identity and work hard to make sure all of our content supports our brand,” states David Levine, the VP of worldwide programming strategy, acquisitions and coproductions for Disney Channels Worldwide. Levine notes that at the heart of Disney Channel’s strategy is delivering “fun, relevant programming that connects with kids and tweens—they feel it’s made just for them.The messages and themes in our content are always positive—express yourself, believe in yourself, follow your dreams and celebrate your family.”The Disney brand, Levine adds, means that the channel can “appeal to families as well.” Reaching a broader audience is also important for Nickelodeon, says Jules Borkent, the senior VP of global acquisitions and international programming.“Research has shown that a lot of our shows now seem to be attracting a lot of coviewing.We’re growing [our audience] a little broader, while not forgetting that we still are at our core a kids’ channel.”

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Dunsford explains that JimJam has been able to do that as a result of its ability to draw on the programming library of co-owner HIT Entertainment, which supplies 60 percent to 70 percent of the channel’s schedule.“The HIT content has been a driving force for the channel because when you sit down with a [platform] and you mention Bob,Thomas, Barney, the door opens and you’re taken quite seriously.Those brands are critical to the channel’s success.” CREATIVE WELLSPRING

On the lot: Live-action tween dramas are still important for Nickelodeon, which has just begun rolling out Big Time Rush.

For Cartoon Network, meanwhile, the “class clown” image still stands, Persson says, thanks to the channel’s slate of comedic animation. “It’s the channel you have fun with,” she notes. “Now, with Ben 10, we’ve added that adventure, fantasy aspect.” Angling for its own piece of the pie, two-year-old KidsCo is positioning itself as the “fourth global network,” states Paul Robinson, the managing director. Launched in September 2007, KidsCo is now present in 85 territories. “We’ve designed ourselves to be complementary to the existing channels,” Robinson says.“We have huge admiration for Disney, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.What we’re trying to do is something different.We’re filling a gap in the market internationally, and this is for boys and girls six to ten. Overall, our strategy is to super-serve that audience with fantastic shows: family safe, no violence, no inappropriate content.” Given the stiff competition for the 6-to-12 set, two upstarts, CBeebies and JimJam, are targeting a much younger demographic.“CBeebies uniquely targets just the preschool audience,” says David Weiland, the senior VP of programming at BBC Worldwide Channels, which has rolled CBeebies out to Asia, Australia, Latin America, the U.S. Hispanic market, Poland and Africa.The channel’s slate,Weiland continues, is designed to “stimulate interest in a diverse range of subjects, such as storytelling, make and do, music and movement, science, natural history and puzzle programs, all of which encourage children and parents to continue playing and learning when the channel is switched off.” “We came into this market very late,” admits Wayne Dunsford, the general manager of JimJam, which made its debut in late 2007 and has since expanded to about 50 territories.“We needed to have something very, very different that would allow us to launch, allow us to survive and to stand out from the competition.We’ve focused in on how JimJam can contribute to the positive development of a child through a trusted, safe environment.” 316

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For all the global channels, tapping into an established, proven portfolio of content has been crucial. KidsCo takes much of its content from its three joint-venture partners—Corus Entertainment,Cookie Jar and NBC Universal—while Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney are all looking to the original shows from their sister U.S. channels. It’s a strategy that works— Ben 10, iCarly and Hannah Montana are among the U.S. shows that have proven to have universal appeal.Nonetheless,some element of localization is a must for all global brands.At the very basic level, content is dubbed, local presenters are used to introduce programming throughout the day and shows are interspersed with original interstitials from the market in question. Disney, for example, developed interstitials in Europe, the Middle East and Africa featuring local kids performing songs from Camp Rock as part of the “My Camp Rock” competition. “Our goal is to present stories that reflect kids’ real lives and Disney core values,” says Levine.“We look at trends, ratings and have a great research resource. Our research team is in the field with viewers on a daily basis, all around the world. From there, our global creative team works to deliver content—stories, characters and music—that connects with kids and their families. A key element is to insure that there are universal themes to which all kids can relate—not every kid might have exactly 104 days of summer vacation like Phineas and Ferb but all kids can relate to their exciting adventures, their big dreams and sense of adventure.” For Levine, the best examples of Disney’s localization strategy are the original series commissioned by its feeds in markets around the world. In Japan, for example, Disney Channel has fared well with the locally produced Stitch, an offshoot of the U.S.-originated Lilo & Stitch. Based on the Japanese success, the animated series has been re-versioned for the international market and has since premiered in Australia and Southeast Asia, with more territories to follow. Disney is also rolling out versions of some of its biggest hits—most notably High School Musical. In Latin America, there are three versions known as El Desafío, produced in Argentina, Mexico and Brazil.“The Argentinean and Mexican versions are rolling out throughout Europe in 2010 to support the High School Musical brand,” Levine says. “It’s already delivering high ratings in Poland and Romania.” This collaboration between Disney Channel programmers worldwide is essential, Levine says.“We have one brand and one vision, so we work very closely with our colleagues around the world every day—video conferencing has made the world a lot smaller!” At Nickelodeon, Borkent, too, has an international group of commissioners to correspond with on a regular basis. “I would identify seven to eight people that sit with me in a group” to discuss programming ideas. “We really use this worldwide net of programmers that we have.” 4/10


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Watch this: Cartoon Network’s Burbank studios have churned out a number of global hits, among them Ben 10.

One area the Nickelodeon team is pursuing is formats. “We have investigated where it would make sense to look at some of our live-action properties, particularly the game shows,” Borkent notes. He is also looking outside of the Nickelodeon portfolio to see if there are innovative concepts on the market that could work for some of Nick’s global feeds. A LOCAL SPIN

Nickelodeon has also been co-producing with partners worldwide as part of its efforts to develop locally relevant content. Nickelodeon Latin America, for example, is working with Televisa and Illusion Studios for a coming-of-age telenovela, Sueña Conmigo.The series will be produced in HD in Spanish with an adaptation in Portuguese for Nickelodeon Brazil. “We’re looking at rolling that out on some of our international networks as well,” Borkent says. For Turner Broadcasting EMEA, where the portfolio of channels includes Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonito and the free-to-air Boing, only about 10 percent of the schedules consist of co-productions. The company does, however, commission a fair bit from the region, Persson notes, and has set up its own production hub in the U.K., Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe. The Amazing World of Gumball, which Turner commissioned from its sister British production arm, is due to roll out on Cartoon Network worldwide this year. CBeebies, meanwhile, which has since launch acquired 100 percent of its content—half from BBC Worldwide and the rest from independent providers—has just dipped its toes in the original-production waters, with Penelope K, By The Way.“It’s set to launch in April in Australia before rolling out to the other international CBeebies channels and the U.K. channel,” Weiland says.“We are planning to get much more active in this field in 2010 and are interested in a number of different models from straight commissioning to co-producing and more pre-buying.” KidsCo, too, is expanding its original programming remit, with recent examples that include the crafts show Jass Time! and the animated Boo & Me, produced with Malaysia’s Inspidea. At JimJam, meanwhile, Dunsford explains that “the business, financially, is not at the point where we’re in a position to start commissioning our own programming.And we don’t feel the actual need to do that just yet.We’ve got a sufficient range of programs that we don’t need to be augmenting it with commissioned programming.We’re still only two and a half years old and we’ve been focusing more on how we can market the channel.We’ve put money into a refresh of the channel on air and following that through with off air, so that the channel looks fresh, it looks appealing, it’s got a relevance to the audience, and I think those are more important than spending huge sums of money on our own commissions.” The channel is, however, working with the team behind The Wiggles on Baby Antonio’s Circus. “That’s gone on to all of our feeds, but it’s


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Wild wonder: KidsCo is stepping up its original programming efforts following the success of shows like Boo & Me, produced with Malaysia’s Inspidea.

effectively a program that we are premiering, but it will be available for other broadcasters as well.” For the acquisitions that fill the 30 percent to 40 percent of JimJam’s schedule that is not derived from HIT, Dunsford says that he and his team are looking for properties that will work across multiple markets.“The only dedicated feed [we have] for a single territory is the Italian feed, the rest— Asia, Middle East, pan-European—cover so many different territories.” At KidsCo, a focus for this year will be content for its Western European feed, Robinson says.“We’re going to be expanding, particularly in countries like Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the U.K. So our spending will be up this year.” Persson at Turner has her eye on comedy animation for kids 6 to 11 for Cartoon Network.“That’s a global need,” she says.“We’re all working very closely together on trying to fill that pipeline.And for Boomerang, from a European perspective, we’re looking again for comedy, probably along the lines of classic remakes.We’ve had a lot of success with Garfield and Strawberry Shortcake and things like that.” Levine at Disney is on the lookout for content for both the Disney Channel and Disney XD brands.“All of our acquisitions need to fit our brand identities—they need to sit next to our programs on our schedules and deliver the same quality to our viewers; this is especially important as we build a brand, as we are with Disney XD. Any show that is not adding to our overall effort is, in effect, taking away—so we need to be vigilant about the shows we acquire for our platforms.” Disney XD’s buying mandate includes “character-driven comedies with a boy skew,” Levine says.“The storytelling should reflect that life is about the journey and getting to the next level no matter how big or small, it’s showing boys that you may not at first succeed, but you try again.” For Disney Channel, meanwhile, acquired content should “skew more towards contemporary, high-concept comedy,” with stories that “provide navigational guidance to kids and tweens.” Levine adds, “We are looking for more co-production opportunities for all of our brands to support our own content.” In fact, Disney Channels Worldwide has entered into its first global movie co-production, for Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars. At CBeebies,Weiland says he is looking for shows that are “structured in a way that makes them easy to dub in multiple languages and have a range of characters and environments that are understood by children in different cultures.” Borkent is keen to spot some new live-action shows at MIPTV, as well as “companions for our animated series. Comedy is my number one priority. I’m also now looking for a little more in the boys’ action arena, for Nicktoons in the U.S.” As they look out for new programming concepts, all the major kids’ channels will be figuring out ways to expand their market share and keep kids tuning in day after day.At the end of the day, JimJam’s Dunsford says, “You’ve got [to have] a proposition that is sufficiently compelling to stop you from just being another kids’ channel.”


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ZDF Enterprises’ Dance Academy.

Pairing Up

For many in the kids’ business, co-productions remain a favorite way of sharing creative and financial resources. By David Wood One of the effects of the recent global downturn has been a

surge in interest in international co-productions. In times when broadcasters have been busily reducing the license fees they are willing to pay, and financing has been harder to find, more producers have been forced to look at co-production partnerships to get their projects off the drawing board. Nowhere is this more evident than in children’s programming, where there has been a surge in international co-productions in recent years. Ira Levy, a partner and executive producer at Breakthrough Films & Television, estimates that a third of the company’s output is co-produced.“It’s always been a crucial part of our strategy in animation and live-action kids’ programming. But now more than ever a lot of projects just wouldn’t get off the ground unless we did them as co-pros,” he says. Breakthrough’s currently slated projects include My Big Big Friend, a 52x11-minute co-pro with 2D Lab in Brazil. MarVista Entertainment also has a good track record in co-producing. “One of the highlights of the early stages of MarVista was our co-development arrangement with Brookwell McNamara Entertainment,which led to the co-production 322

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between us and MTV Networks on the series Beyond the Break,” says CEO Fernando Szew.The series aired on The N (now known as TeenNick) in the U.S. and sold to major broadcasters around the world.“That was a successful creative and business deal for us as well as for all the partners,” continues Szew.“Each one of us needed the other parties to make it happen. From our perspective, I would venture to say that, as an incipient independent, we were able to make the series happen by aligning ourselves with strong partners.” Now MarVista has teamed up with Disney Channel to coproduce 16 Wishes, starring Debby Ryan, who was in the series The Suite Life on Deck, and Jean-Luc Bilodeau of Kyle XY fame.The TV movie will premiere in the U.S. this summer and later on Disney channels around the world. It would be naïve to suggest that the interest in international co-production wasn’t largely about money. If producers can leverage 20 percent to 50 percent of the cost of a 4/10


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Ball of fun: Breakthrough’s slate of kids’ co-productions includes the animation My Big Big Friend, with Brazil’s 2D Lab.

project through co-production partnerships, then it’s little wonder that they are an increasingly critical part of children’s TV production. “Co-productions bring different creative forces together that collaborate to produce better content,” says MarVista’s Szew.“That’s the benefit on the creative side, but they often also help on the business side by mitigating risk and sharing on the potential upside, which is inherently necessary in today’s increasingly globalized market, where most content is aimed at foreign exploitation as well as domestic consumption.” As any experienced co-producer will tell you, successful co-production partnerships are about more than money. “It’s just as important to look at the organic unions that are going to contribute to the creative side of the project and raise everyone’s game,” says Joan Lambur, Breakthrough’s executive producer of animation, live action, family and children. Some co-productions lend themselves to particular territories, adds Lambur.“So if it’s about girls and horses, it makes sense to reach out to Australia or the U.K. for partners. Sympathetic cultural approaches Bright spots: 4Kids aligned with Microsoft for the colorful animated series are what make [co-productions] work.” Viva Piñata. Kevin Gillis, the CEO and executive producer at the Skywriter Media & Entertainment Group, adds, “You co-productions and development for children and youth at Germight find a better director in France or Brazil.The beauty of many’s ZDF Enterprises, who currently has 15 co-productions co-pro is you can sit down with your partners and look at on his slate, including Dance Academy, a 52-part teen drama who can bring the most creative talent to the project.” Gillis is co-produced with ABC in Australia and Screen Australia. currently reaching out for co-production partners for his new “We have partners we have worked together with for live-action series Live from Earth, among other projects. years—in Australia, Canada and Europe. We benefit from Another big advantage is that co-producing can make their editorial input and get a show which has an internathe final product more commercially viable, adds tional appeal.” Gillis.“These days TV shows have to work culturDoug Schwalbe, the executive VP of production and proally in many different territories, and that takes gram sales at Classic Media, is adding to his current MIPTV co-production. It’s all about being able to tap into property list Casper’s Scare School, a three-way co-production the best in each territory, allowing you to expand with producers Moonscoop in France and DQ Entertainthe show’s cultural reach.” ment in India.“The advantage is you get a preapproved creIt’s a point backed up ative concept—I know I like it, I know the French like it by Arne Lohmann, and the Indians too, which probably means it’s saleable in the the director of U.S., France, and throughout Asia. We know it’ll have a global appeal, which projects that aren’t co-produced don’t necessarily have.” THE ART OF CO-PRODUCTION

If there is an art of successful co-production, it’s—not surprisingly—all about picking the right partners, deciding who can offer different editorial perspectives as well as different strengths and assets that they can bring to the table. The right partner will vary depending on the type of coproduction relationship. Often, partners can bring structural funds or tax breaks, other times they might have a relationship with a broadcaster or access to retail outlets. 4Kids Entertainment’s executive VP of international, Brian Lacey, admits, “If somebody brings us a project that we like and they have a big broadcast partner on board, that raises our interest substantially. It helps us appreciate the likelihood that there will be wider exposure, which will contribute to other revenue streams.That’s important with production costs around $250,000 to $300,000 per half hour or maybe more.” 324

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The most successful co-productions are the ones where all partners share complementary skills and a common goal. Not all, however, work.“The pitfalls are similar to those in any collaboration or any relationship,” says MarVista’s Szew. “There is the possibility for conflict and divergent views and interests, which can lead to projects that do not fulfill their vision.” That’s an area that John Vandervelde, the senior VP of business development and international co-production at Canada’s Cookie Jar Entertainment, knows all about. “I have been doing co-pros for 20 years, and more than ever it’s about picking the right partner,”Vandervelde stresses.“It’s not about price but finding somebody that you trust and want to be in business with long-term. Getting them up to speed is a lot of work and you don’t want one-off relationships.” But there’s no avoiding the fact that while co-pros are increasingly popular, they can be a headache.“In the last year we have had two co-pros fall apart and we had to scramble to fix them because our co-production partners ran out of money,” says Vandervelde. The current financial climate can cause problems, and only serves to underline the fact that with co-productions you are reliant on somebody else.“We have got some on-going issues trying to get co-pro partners to file their paperwork,”Vandervelde continues. “If they fail to file, we lose two ways; first, we don’t get the government funding, plus it doesn’t count as Canadian content to our broadcaster—which won’t amuse them.Try selling another show to those guys!” When it comes to co-productions treaties, which always involve plenty of paperwork, making sure your co-producer has good administrative backup is key, advises Skywriter’s Gillis. “Sometimes territories don’t quite understand the importance of co-production treaty administration. Getting documents signed, certifying them as co-pros, is vital because the Canadian producer needs that to release Canadian funds.”

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Get it right and co-production treaties can be a very effective way of leveraging finance. Canada, for example, is well known for building up a major international co-production business based around a combination of soft funding, tax breaks and broadcaster license fees, which the funding body Telefilm Canada reported added up to 77 international projects in 2008 worth a total of C$387 billion ($379.7 billion). TOO MANY COOKS?

A typical co-production will involve two or three companies, with most producers working on the basis of the fewer the better. One way to minimize the potential for things going wrong is to reduce the number of partners to two or a maximum of three, says Vandervelde, who currently has a number of three-way co-pros going on, including Doodlebops Rockin’ Road Show with Argentina’s Illusion Studios and Germany’s Optix Entertainment, and the boys’ comedyaction series Kung Fu Dino Posse with Sunwoo Entertainment in Korea. “Where we work with an Asian animator I try to throw in a European post-production partner so the project gets European content status.Three is the max, though.You hear about those feature films with five, six or seven co-producers and nothing good ever comes of that!” Lohmann of ZDF Enterprises insists that the best structure is often fewer partners investing more.“That can make things run more smoothly,” he says. Skywriter’s Gillis adds,“It’s true that with too many cooks you’ll end up with a burnt pie. I try to keep the numbers to a minimum, as it’s difficult enough to get two people in bed. With a ménage-à-trois somebody’s going to feel left out!” Of course, the more partners you have on board the more potential there is for creative disagreements—the single biggest problem with co-productions.“We try to ensure that at the outset we share the same vision,” insists Lohmann.“You

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Head of the class: Casper’s Scare School is a collaboration between Classic Media, Moonscoop and DQ Entertainment.


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Going green: Skywriter is looking for co-production partners on its new series Live from Earth.

have to discuss things such as production design and characters, otherwise it will be really horrible.” Breakthrough’s Levy agrees.“Making sure all partners buy into the creative concept at the outset is key.You need like minds with the same sensibility—it’s like a marriage.” Although co-productions are business agreements, it’s very important to like your co-pro partners, says Stephanie Betts, the director of development and licensing at Breakthough. “You’ll be together for four years and you’ll have to agree [on] everything together.When designs come in you have to agree [on] them.We set up approval marks every step of the way, with color, rough cut, voices and music. At every stage we go back and forth between co-production partners.”

complain about having to make creative compromises with co-productions just aren’t working with the right partners.” Sometimes it can get more complicated, says Gillis. “At the end of the day, the broadcasters call the shots, and if we agree on something with our broadcaster that their broadcaster doesn’t like, the only way out is to compromise.” Typical areas of contention are the script, music and casting.“But as time goes on, the clock is ticking, the animators have to work and the shows have to get delivered,” adds Gillis. “We find that these pressures push the parties towards a meeting of the minds.” One way of managing conflict is to give all partners joint approval, no matter what the split in terms of financial contribution, which is what Gillis recommends. “Our philosophy has always been no matter if it’s fifty-fifty or twenty-eighty, there has to be joint approval, because if one party has got more say it tends to create resentment.” 4Kids’ Lacey has another tip for successful co-pros: avoid beginners.“If you are working with people for the first time it can be a huge, huge challenge—in some cases a nightmare. Especially if people don’t understand the marketplace in terms of broadcast license fees and different media platforms.” He adds, “My experience has been if the people who are sitting across the table from you haven’t done this before, the likelihood is that you’ll want to walk away from the table because the kinds of things that emerge when you get going can just get worse and worse.” Perhaps the best rule of thumb for finding the best partner is to go with your gut instinct. Skywriter’s VP of distribution and acquisitions, Paula McLaren, recommends paying a lot of attention to red flags when you see them. “The instinct to know when not to work with someone—even though you love the project—comes with experience, and it’s an instinct that’s really important to listen to.”

BUILDING TRUST

Face-to-face meetings are the best way forward, although when partnering with producers on other continents, this isn’t always possible, increasing the potential for miscommunication and misunderstanding.“Everybody has to be on the same page, so Skype gets used a lot,” says Betts. Skywriter’s Gillis recommends actively seeking out partners who demonstrate flexibility and an ability to collaborate. “Your partner needs to be collaborative or it will be a nightmare from the start,” he declares. “What I do is to send over some basic creative overview notes to see how they respond,” reveals Gillis.“If they are too defensive or say, ‘No, we can’t change that because we have our own deal with the writer,’ then you begin to think: Hang on, this is going to be a struggle.” But in any co-production—as in any kind of TV production—you should anticipate creative conflicts, warns Classic Media’s Schwalbe: “I really think that people who 326

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Dino-mite: On the comedy-action series Kung Fu Dino Posse, Cookie Jar partnered with Sunwoo in Korea. 4/10


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TV KIDS: I often hear producers say that educational pro-

gramming is fine for preschoolers, but once children start school the last thing they want when they turn on the TV is to see something educational. But where is it written that educational can’t be entertaining? GODWIN: I would absolutely agree with that. I would also agree that it’s also about semantics.After working in children’s television so long I know that if you label a program “educational” it will be a turnoff.We’re not talking about educational with a capital E, we’re not talking about pedagogic television, we’re talking about programming that is entertaining and inspiring, but which has got facts that children use as currency: “Mum, did you know that…?” It’s a powerful thing, acquiring facts, and it’s just about how you dress it up. I think children want that, and at other times of the day they want to kick back and watch something that is just funny. So for us it’s about making sure they’ve got enough choice so that in their different moods, on different days, when they’ve got different needs at different points in their lives, they’ve got that range of programming to choose from.

A Big Vision for Young Viewers

The BBC’s Joe Godwin For 25 years the BBC has been providing children’s programming as a dedicated branded block—a block that was so successful it was spun off into separate digital channels: first CBBC, aimed at school-age children, and then CBeebies, for preschoolers. Joe Godwin has spent the past 20 years working in children’s media and last November was appointed director of BBC Children’s, a division that the BBC sees as one of its five key priorities.

By Anna Carugati

TV KIDS: BBC Children’s has been serving children for many years. In the U.K.’s crowded TV landscape for children, what are CBeebies’ and CBBC’s mission? GODWIN: The mission for both is very similar. CBeebies is for preschool children and CBBC for children aged 6 to 12, and both are an extension of the mission the BBC has had since the 1920s, which is to educate, entertain and inform. It’s very much about public service; it’s about encouraging children to be good citizens. It’s about inspiring them and their natural curiosity and opening their eyes to the world, because children are hungry for knowledge and want to understand the world, and both entertainment and factual programming can satisfy that curiosity. Our mission is very much to create memorable and inspiring content for children, which hopefully will stay with them forever and shape their outlook on the world and their lives. And within the context of the crowded market, it’s therefore about complementing the choice that they’ve got from other channels, and we’ve obviously got a key part to play in providing U.K. content. 328

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TV KIDS: And is that range one of the things that the BBC has been able to offer that the competition has not? GODWIN: We offer a huge range of programming that is designed primarily for British kids, which will help them grow up in Britain today, but also complements the large amount of non-British entertainment that our competitors offer. Now, to be really clear about this, what our competitors do I think is fantastic. I worked at Nickelodeon, and the quality of what they do is amazing. I am not one of those people who say there is too much American TV for kids in Britain. I think it’s important that they’ve got choices that will fill their different needs, and we provide a lot of British content, and the range we offer is huge. On one end we do a daily news show for children, Newsround. It’s been airing for 40 years, and we now do several bulletins every day on our digital channel, and it’s got a fantastic website.We have our classic magazine program Blue Peter, which is all about exploring the world from a kid’s point of view.We do games shows. Now, why do we do game shows when the competition does game shows? Because these are about British kids, and I do believe that part of our mission is to reflect children’s lives back to them. So if you are a kid growing up in London or Manchester or Glasgow or Cardiff, it’s really important for your development as a British social being that you see people whose lives are like yours. Now, Hannah Montana is great, but her life probably isn’t very much like yours. It’s really important that we offer the children of Britain the chance to watch their own lives reflected back. We also offer factual programs, really challenging factual programs.We’ve won awards for a program we did about children coping with bereavement. I don’t think there are many broadcasters in the world who make programs like that for children.We are the leading purveyor of programs like that in the U.K., and that is vitally important. Children need serious factual information and support, because life isn’t always easy being a kid, sometimes it can be quite challenging. It’s a big part of our mission and a big part of our remit to provide the factual information they need.We also do a lot of factual entertainment programs, which bring information and knowledge to children in a much more entertaining way.We do a lot of comedy, which isn’t frivolous although it is very funny and very high quality. Learning 4/10


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to understand comedy is a big part of growing up.Through comedy you can understand how relationships work, how the world works, and comedy in a very soft way can be a very important aspect to a child’s development. At the other end of the spectrum we do lots of drama, ranging from fantasy dramas—The Sarah Jane Adventures, which is a spin-off from Doctor Who—to a fantastically successful drama called Tracy Beaker, based on the hugely popular Jacqueline Wilson novel.We also do very serious dramas as well, like Dustbin Baby, which has also won awards. So our range is huge. Most of our programming is British—about half of it is made in-house by the BBC, about half is made by independent producers in the U.K.—and [the rest is] acquired. Given that there are 25 other children’s channels in the U.K., we offer a huge and completely comprehensive choice for kids. TV KIDS: In what ways are you reaching children away from

the TV screen, whether online or on mobile devices? GODWIN: Online is very important for us and we are trying

Inner child gone wild: British content is at the heart of the CBBC schedule, with local commissions like Big Babies.

as much as possible, where appropriate, to commission multiplatform concepts, so that a brand can exist on both the web and on television. It’s not only TV programs with websites and information on them, but real immersive experiences on the web. We have a brilliant program called BAMZOOKi, which is a TV game show but it starts on the Internet, where kids can create their own creatures that can then take part in the TV show.There is a huge online community around the show that gives it a life beyond the television screen and also serves to create a whole lot of buzz. And to me that is the ideal of the multiplatform idea, where

one brand has relevant executions on two platforms.We are always looking for new ways to do that. TV KIDS: The BBC has announced that it will be investing

some £25 million ($37.5 million) in children’s programming. Where is that money going? GODWIN: We haven’t got the money yet, but it is going to [several] places. One, I would hope that we would use it to really enhance our drama, to do more episodes of existing series like Tracy Beaker and M.I. High, but also hopefully to do some new drama, especially about citizenship.A big part of our remit is about promoting positive, active citizenship amongst children, and I would hope we would use the money to commission some drama that has really got that as part of its mission. I’d also like to use some of it to enhance our factual programming.We do lots of fantastic factual programming. I personally would like us to do more about showing the wide world to children, to really explore what the lives of children in other parts of the world are like. And we’ll also use some of it so we don’t have to ask producers to find so much third-party funding in such a depressed economy. TV KIDS: Are you seeing children gravitate more toward the digital channels and away from BBC One and BBC Two? GODWIN: Yes, absolutely. There was a time when I first worked here 20 years ago, when there weren’t digital channels and we used to get huge, huge audiences on our BBC One afternoons. Nowadays, partly because of the fragmentation of the market, and the explosion of digital and partly because of the change in consumption patterns—TV isn’t all children consume now, it’s just one part of it—digital channels are by far the growing place. TV KIDS: You’ve been in the children’s business many years. What do you enjoy most about it? GODWIN: It’s a fantastic audience to work for.They are possibly the most critical. They are the most honest. They are the most open to new things. Like a lot of people who work in children’s television, I have extremely powerful memories of the importance of television to me as a child, and I’m a great believer that to a developing mind, high-quality television, whether it’s entertainment or factual programming or drama, can be extremely important. I find the prospect of doing that for today’s generation extremely exciting, and if we get it right, we have the potential of having a real impact on people’s lives. I haven’t gone on to a prime-time job because I’ve never been of the view that children’s programming is a stepping-stone to prime time, but it’s absolutely an end to itself, it’s the most satisfying—CBeebies and CBBC are amongst the greatest things the BBC does.

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When Carolina Lightcap was appointed president of Disney Channels Worldwide last fall, she came to the post with an impressive résumé. A 20-year veteran of the media-and-entertainment industry, she had been with The Walt Disney Company since 2000, where most recently she served in the dual roles of senior VP of programming and creative affairs at Disney Channels Latin America and chief marketing officer for The Walt Disney Company, Latin America. Wearing those two hats, she not only led the successful creative transition of Disney Channel from a premium to a basic service, she also spearheaded the Latin American launch of High School Musical, which was the most-watched movie in the channel’s history and became a key Disney franchise with local feature films in Argentina, Mexico and Brazil, High School Musical–themed talent competitions and a five-country concert tour. Lightcap shares with TV Kids her vision and passion for Disney Channel.

By Anna Carugati

TV KIDS: What were some of the keys to the successful growth of Disney Channel in Latin America? What did you learn from your experience in Latin America that you can now apply to Disney Channels Worldwide?

LIGHTCAP: Overall, our growth in Latin America is a direct

result of being in tune with the market we operate in, and in taking great pride in our leadership role when it comes to understanding kids and families. In fact, throughout our global organization, we know what our viewers want because we ask them on a regular basis, and those insights are used to help inform all our strategies, including programming, branding, marketing, digital media and other key programs, such as our environmental and healthy-kids initiatives. As far as learning experiences that I can apply to my role now, I think back to 2003, after our largest customer filed for bankruptcy in Latin America and pulled Disney Channel off the air. At the time, Disney Channel was a premium service with more than 80 percent of its distribution coming from one system, so we lost most of our revenue overnight and had virtually no presence in the region.This move forced us to reformulate our business, from the bottom up. As a result, Disney Channel relaunched as a basic channel, regional operations were moved from Miami to Buenos Aires, and every part of the business was rethought to become more efficient. It was a very tough process, but also one that yielded amazing results. The key [lesson] is that from a great challenge can come great reward. Once relaunched as a basic channel, Disney Channel became the number one channel pan-regionally among households and in its key targets, surpassing all other cable networks, and has been number one for the last four years.Working with an incredibly talented team on this turnaround process, with such exciting results, was the most rewardingexperience ever.

Extending the Magic

Disney Channels’ Carolina Lightcap

TV KIDS: What does your appointment as head of

Disney Channels Worldwide say about the importance of international growth to the success of Disney Channel? LIGHTCAP: International growth is one of the three strategic priorities for the entire Walt Disney Company—along with creativity and innovative technology. Disney channels around the world serve as the company’s daily touchstone with consumers— bringing the Disney brand into hundreds of millions of homes through content and characters that are relevant to their lives and cultures.We’re not just exporting content from the U.S. into other markets, we’re actively developing local talent and content around the world. As such, Disney Channels Worldwide is very focused on international growth—driven by high-quality creative content and effective use of the technology that our viewers use most. It’s been a winning strategy, and we’re going to continue to focus on bringing the best in kid-friendly entertainment to families everywhere. TV KIDS: What are some of your programming priorities for the next year or so, and what new liveaction and animated properties are in the pipeline? LIGHTCAP: Our priority is always to bring the best entertainment experience to kids everywhere. We’ve had several years of success with original programming and we expect to continue to build on that momentum. 332

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In the fall of this year, the animated comedy series Fish Hooks will join our Disney Channel lineup—it’s very clever and boasts a voice cast of stars who are already popular with our viewers: Kyle Massey (Cory in the House), Chelsea Staub ( JONAS) and Justin Roiland (The Sarah Silverman Program). On Disney XD, we’ll premiere the live-action series Pair of Kings. It stars Mitchel Musso of Hannah Montana fame and Doc Shaw of The Suite Life on Deck.We’ve just started production and are very pleased with the early results. We’re also in production on several movies and will be announcing greenlights of some new exciting projects soon.

Teen dreams: Disney Channel’s hit original movies franchise continues with the upcoming Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam.

[On April 4 we premiere] Good Luck Charlie, an original live-action comedy series, on Disney Channel. It’s about a family whose lives are turned upside down with the arrival of a new baby sister, and it features Disney Channel stars Jason Dolley (Cory in the House) and Bridgit Mendler (Wizards of Waverly Place). It’s a lot of fun, viewers will find the stories are kid-relatable and told from the teen siblings’ point of view, yet they’re more nuanced towards the family, with a tone that is more authentic than our other comedies. We employed a “family sitcom” strategy because our research tells us that our viewers want to see more portrayals of the common ground between parents and kids—because it really does exist, even when tweens and teens challenge their parents.What we gleaned from the research is that we can be more effective programmers by delivering experiences the whole family can enjoy together, and Good Luck Charlie is a great example of that effort. We’re especially excited by the success of our animated hit Phineas and Ferb, and are looking forward to Phineas and Ferb’s 104 Days of Summer, which will be event television on Disney XD with full promotional support from Disney Channel and Disney.com.After years of live-action success, Gary Marsh [the president of entertainment and chief creative officer at Disney Channels Worldwide] and his fantastic team—and certainly our Phineas and Ferb creators Dan Povenmire and Swampy Marsh—have cracked the code with this animated hit that connects across all demos, including parents. It is truly the smartest, funniest, most original family comedy on television and, with the entire Walt Disney Company supporting it, we hope Phineas and Ferb will be the next worldwide sensation. We’ll cap off the summer with the premiere of the Disney Channel original movie Camp Rock 2:The Final Jam on Disney Channel.The original Camp Rock movie was a big hit for us, and this one is even better in terms of the creative content, especially the music—and our global team has a great plan to launch it around the world. 334

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TV KIDS: Which properties are being rolled out internationally? LIGHTCAP: Our strategy is to premiere all original series and movies on the 94 channels/feeds that make up Disney Channels Worldwide. More and more, we are narrowing the window wherever we can. We’re also committed to global content inspiring local content and vice versa. TV KIDS: Disney XD celebrated its first-year anniversary

with record viewing levels.What are the plans to build on that success? LIGHTCAP: We’re very proud of Disney XD’s first-year performance. Going forward, our priority is to introduce more comedy into the Disney XD schedule to complement our current and upcoming original series. The platform targets kids 6 to 14, especially boys, so the team is looking for character-driven comedies with a boy skew. We’re also looking at movies that are kid-driven and familyinclusive and that provide kids with strong, positive role models who have room to grow. The storytelling will reflect that life is about the journey and getting to the next level no matter how big or small. It’s showing boys that you may not at first succeed, but you try again.That’s been our strategy from the beginning, and the first year’s results certainly tell us it is working. TV KIDS: You are widely respected as a very effective man-

ager and executive.Where do you get your drive, and how do you motivate the people that work with you? LIGHTCAP: I love what I do, and one of the best parts of leading Disney Channels Worldwide is that the people I work with love what we do as well. I thoroughly enjoy assembling teams, and find that the answer to most challenges in our business is helping people discover and leverage their unique, special talents in the right positions. Beyond that, for me it’s about looking ahead, fostering the team’s competitive spirit externally, and collaborative spirit internally, recognizing their contributions, and leveraging those successes to lead them to even higher heights. 4/10


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in cable and satellite, 17 free DTT channels, and still the biggest [broadcasters], who are analogue [terrestrials]. It means that what we’re looking to be today is a brand. For a TV channel to survive, considering the fact that it’s a cable and satellite channel, it has to be considered a brand, with a crystal-clear image and purpose and promise to kids, because if you’re not that, then things become tougher and tougher. TV KIDS: You are also celebrating a milestone at TiJi. BELAÏSCH: TiJi was the very first channel for preschool-

CANAL J and TiJi Reach New Milestones

Lagardère Active’s Pierre Belaïsch In 1985, CANAL J launched as the first kids’ channel in France’s nascent cable-and-satellite industry. Today, at 25, the Lagardère Active–owned service is a market leader among children 6 to 12. Its sister service, TiJi, meanwhile, has been delighting preschoolers for ten years. Both channels have been driving their ratings gains with a mix of local co-productions and acquired fare from the international market. Pierre Belaïsch, the managing director of programming and networks at Lagardère Active, tells TV Kids about how far CANAL J and TiJi have come, and what lies ahead.

By Mansha Daswani

TV KIDS: CANAL J turns 25 this year.What have been the keys to the channel’s success? BELAÏSCH: For all these years we have given kids a lot of consideration.They’ve always been at the heart of the station, stimulating their activity, their creativity, and [having] them be part of the show. So during these 25 years we’ve always been very selective about the programming that we were putting on the air. It’s for those reasons that the station is still here after 25 years. It was actually the very first cable and satellite station [for kids] launched in France in 1985. TV KIDS: How has CANAL J evolved over the years? BELAÏSCH: The market has changed a lot, and the situa-

tion has evolved a lot; 25 years back, there were only a few cable and satellite TV [channels] and analogue [free-to-air] TV such as TF1. Now, we have something like 80 channels 336

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ers ever in France. It launched in December 2000, so it’s going to be ten years now. The thing about that station is that mothers were asking for it.They would say, we have a lot of channels for our older kids, with live-action and adventure shows, but there’s nothing for the little ones, [a channel] that would help them in discovering the world and being tender and gentle and nonviolent—creating a safe environment for them. That was the reason we built this station.We have shows such as Peppa Pig, Noddy in 3-D. We have a lot of French shows that we commissioned as a co-producer. T’Choupi is a little penguin [based on a book published by Éditions Nathan].We also have shows such as Franklin, the little turtle, Berenstain Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. Now we’re going to do something really new in the market. It’s a co-production [with Cyber Group, called] Guess What? [Devine quoi?]. It’s something that we developed upon our channel packaging.There were two little rabbits in 2-D, one of them is yellow and the girl is purple, and it was really a huge success. We’ve seen so many times children stating that they were coming to the station because of the packaging rather than the programs, because they were so amused and amazed by the little rabbits in 2-D.Years after that we said, what can we develop as a strong intellectual property that will be ours? We have made a show about these two rabbits as a co-production in 3-D CGI. It’s really beautiful 3-D. In each episode you have to [answer a riddle]. Thanks to different clues, viewers must solve little enigmas and guess what the solution is. It’s using [the viewers’] participation.The children have seven minutes to discover what it is. It’s always about the air, the sun, the rain, how things work. It’s really doing well, so we’re thinking about doing a second season. TV KIDS: Gulli, the first kids’ channel on DTT in France, has

also been a success for you. BELAÏSCH: As you said, it is the first—if you think about

it, we’re always the first to do something! So Gulli is the first national [DTT] network that is dedicated to kids, but also to mothers and families. Meaning that you have on Gulli a lot of animated shows during the day, 100-percent dedicated to kids, and during weekends in the afternoon and weekdays, after 7:30 p.m., you have really strong prime-time shows, such as movies, TV movies, documentaries, game shows, reality shows. We need to [offer this variety]. In that kind of market, being only focused on kids wouldn’t be enough. Differently from CANAL J or TiJi, this is not a channel that lives on subscription [revenues], it’s living only thanks to ad revenues, and to really gather enough ad revenues, you have to enlarge the target. So that’s the reason why some dayparts are exclusively for kids 4/10


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instance, at Titeuf, it had millions of comic books sold. Gormiti is [huge in terms of toys].That really helps build a coproduction because you’re not starting from scratch— you’re coming with something that is strong on a European basis. And that helps. Today, my feeling is that more and more producers—and I think I agree with them and they’re right to do so—are focusing their efforts on strong properties that come from something very strong and visible for kids.That helps awareness, and, to me, is one of the most important things. TV KIDS: Do you expect to launch any additional brands

and some others are dedicated to family [viewing].We get shows from everywhere in terms of animation, it could be Pokémon or French co-productions, or more [classic shows] such as Pink Panther, Woody Woodpecker. And we also produce our own shows for the whole family: game shows, cooking shows, singing contests…live on stage, etc. Gulli is part of the top three DTT channels in France. TV KIDS: How much are you co-producing in France? BELAÏSCH: CANAL J is pretty involved in co-productions.

The major part of what’s on the air are French co-productions, such as Titeuf, Martin Mystery, Marsupilami, Spiez, Genie in the House, Linus & Boom—it has been years and years of coproductions. Of course, we’re also acquiring programs.We bought Yu-Gi-Oh! for CANAL J and Jackie Chan. I would say that today a major part of the budget goes to co-production and the rest goes to acquisitions.

for the youth sector? BELAÏSCH: The next level is really to create nonlinear services such as catch up, video on demand, mobile. New media has become more than fiction—it’s real.Telecom operators got into the business and created a lot of services, whether it’s ADSL or IPTV, and so the next step is to create low-cost services that those telecom operators could offer to their customers. You can build something around learning, boys’ action, a service for girls, a cooking service.Any kind of thing that would be different from what we’ve done in the past 25 years. Something that would be more about low-cost services to extend our [brand].

TV KIDS: What elements go into a successful co-

production? BELAÏSCH: First of all, we often commission

shows that are coming from [successful] comics or from toy licenses. If you have a property with solid awareness, that helps the co-production, because everyone benefits from that. It’s a brand. If you look, for

CANAL J and TiJi Milestones 1988

1996

2003

Expanding across France, CANAL J soon reaches from 50,000 to 100,000 subscribers; by 1989 the base crosses 160,000 subscribers, and by 1990 it passes 300,000 subscribers.

Canal France International begins offering two hours of CANAL J programming in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Distribution for CANAL J reaches 3.5 million subscribers, with TiJi not far behind at 2.2 million. Also this year, TiJi launches its website, delivering games and information for kids and their parents.

1997 1991 Building its base to 550,000 subscribers, CANAL J also broadens its programming remit, embarking on co-productions and expanding beyond animation to include fiction, films, magazine shows, documentaries and games.

The channel expands online with the launch of its website.

2004

1998

CANAL J and TiJi consistently rank as the most popular thematic channels for kids.

CANAL J's distribution passes the 2-million mark.

2005 1999

1992

Pierre Belaïsch joins CANAL J as the director of programs.

CANAL J reaches a new distribution milestone once it rolls out as one of seven channels on the satellite platform CanalSatellite.

2000

2007

CANAL J passes the 1-million-subscription mark.

In its 15th year, CANAL J remains the only youth service available on both cable and satellite. By year’s end, CANAL J spins off TiJi as a service for kids under the age of 7 and it quickly reaches 1.2 million subscribing homes.

1995

2001

The channel celebrates its tenth anniversary as it reaches 1.5 million homes.

CANAL J is ranked as the third-most-popular thematic channel in terms of ratings.

1994

Gulli launches as the first free-to-air kids’ channel in France.

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Reaching 5.5 million subscribers, CANAL J launches a new on-air look.

2009 CANAL J again refreshes its look to illustrate its content pillars of adventure, comedy and action.

2010 CANAL J turns 25, TiJi turns 10 and Gulli turns 5.


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Animated Expansion

Mondo TV’s Matteo Corradi In 1964, Orlando Corradi began his career in animation by acquiring Japanese cartoons and selling them in Italy and Europe. In 1985 he founded Mondo TV, which remained active in distribution but also began producing animated series of its own. Corradi is now in his 70s but remains the soul of the company, while his son Matteo is COO and head of sales. Mondo has grown significantly from a company that operated only in the Italian market to one that has subsidiaries in various countries— Mondo Igel Media in Germany; Mondo TV France; Mondo TV Spain, which also deals with Latin America; as well as offices in Athens, Seoul, Mumbai and Sydney. Today, Mondo TV co-produces with major broadcasters in Europe and is active in the areas of production, distribution, merchandising and licensing. Matteo Corradi grew up in the television business and started attending MIPTV and MIPCOM at age 6. He oversaw Mondo TV’s IPO in 2000, which opened new financing opportunities and marked the beginning of the company’s expansion. He speaks to TV Kids about what’s ahead for Mondo TV.

By Anna Carugati

TV KIDS: What has been your strategy for growth? CORRADI: I say that Mondo TV is a “pocket-sized” multi-

ing market share due to this fact, we do not celebrate their difficulties and still must be very careful in this difficult economic climate. Mondo TV’s strategy has had three main areas.The first, which today is the most important, is the one of developing high-quality product that also has high licensing potential. Currently we have three properties, each targeted to a specific group: girls, boys and preschool. Angel’s Friends, based on an idea by Simona Ferri, is a top property for girls. It has already sold in 50 countries and has an important licensing program in Italy and Spain, which are the first two countries where toys and licensing have rolled out. Our co-production partner is Play Entertainment and Giochi Preziosi is the European master toy licensee.We have made deals for Angel’s Friends in all major territories: Italia 1,Telecinco,Télétoon in France, RTL in Belgium,Turkey, Greece, all of the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and we are starting to sell it in Latin America, where licensing is handled by Exim. In Italy, the licensing agency is Starbright, headed by Giada Paterlini. Virus Attack is a boy-targeted series that we are co-producing with Suk Entertainment.We have closed a deal with Turner Entertainment Networks for Italy, and starting in January 2011, the series will air on Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Boing in Italy, and we are in discussions with Turner to have Virus Attack air on Cartoon Network outside of Italy.Turner CN Enterprises Italia will handle licensing in Italy. The third series is a very important one for us and is part of a significant deal we have signed with the U.S. toy company MEG and Giochi Preziosi for the co-production of an animated series based on the famous toy property Puppy in My Pocket,which is currently distributed in 54 countries around the world.The TV series will air in Italy and Spain in the fall of 2010 and in the rest of the world between spring and back to school 2011. Our cooperation with Giochi Preziosi and MEG is very important for us. At MIPTV we are preparing an extraordinary launch for these three properties.The two outside stairways and the entrance to the main auditorium will be dedicated to Angel’s Friends and Virus Attack, and the panel at the entrance of the Palais will be entirely dedicated to Puppy in My Pocket. We do a considerable amount of research before developing properties, which start as mere ideas or sketches and some then become major productions.This is another role we play today, that of a product scout on the market. So production is the first area of our strategy.

national that is growing very fast but must be very cautious and humble in its growth.As we know, while some of our competitors today are [struggling with] bad economic times, and while Mondo TV is gain340

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Standing tall: Farhat, Prince of the Desert is among Mondo’s shows for MIPTV.

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TV KIDS: And what are the other areas? CORRADI: The second is to increase

Founding father: Orlando Corradi established Mondo TV 25 years ago.

our co-productions with national broadcasters in Italy, France and Germany. Today we co-produce several important productions with RAI, such as the second season of Farhat (26 26minute episodes) and we are starting on another important series called Ants (104 3-minute episodes), and soon we will be launching Treasure Island, which is another major production with RAI. In Germany we are producing Lauras Stern (Laura’s Star) with Mondo Igel Media, based on a strong preschool property in Germany. In France, Mondo TV France is Taking flight: Mondo TV is focusing on the global rollout of Angel’s Friends, a girlheaded brilliantly by Eve Baron. In a skewing series that is accompanied by a strong consumer-products campaign. move to develop Mondo TV France, we had high growth in the last years that brought two imporlibraries.We have made important distribution deals with Rai tant productions, which are Lulu Vroumette with France 3 and Trade, CAKE Entertainment, the Australian Children’s Telefor which TSL is handling worldwide licensing, and the other vision Foundation,Your Family Entertainment, and we will is Sherlock Yack with TF1 and ZDF Enterprises is handling make more deals, so we are also buyers on the market. Ours is licensing. Both shows will premiere in 2010–2011 in France and a very simple strategy, one that in 2009 brought us to double both are high-quality series financed by the CNC. our revenues and post a profit, and by end of 2010 we’ll make The third area of our strategy is our library sales.When I another significant increase. say we are a pocket-sized multinational company I say it We have grown but we always have to be mindful of the because in many territories we have offices that consist of one realities of the market. Even if there are some great opportuor two salespeople, therefore micro-offices with sales reps nities on the market nowadays, we are not happy that our who are motivated and whose earnings are based on the rev- competitors are having problems, because as we say in Italy, enues they generate. “You swim better in a lot of water.”The problem is that today Mondo TV Spain, headed by Maria Bonaria Fois, distributes the water is very shallow, but for sure, the quality of our prodin Spain and Latin America. However, the rest of the world- uct, the segmentation of our sales efforts and the possibility of wide sales is headed by Micheline Azoury, based in our head co-producing with major broadcasters in Europe allows us office in Rome. to face this economic crisis well and to be much stronger This has allowed us to break into many important markets than we were when the crisis began. in the world. In particular, in the Middle East and in Africa we sell country by country.We have also acquired third-party TV KIDS: Do you feel the worst of the economic downturn is over? CORRADI: I think the economic situation will continue to be difficult for another two years, and in our sector, in addition to the general economic downturn, there is also an ongoing phenomenon that free-TV stations are losing market share to cable and satellite channels, so it is always more difficult for producers to get the license fees that were available a few years ago. It’s clear that the key to overcoming this crisis is to have product that has ancillary businesses such as licensing that can create revenue streams beyond TV license fees—revenues that come directly from the end users—the boy or girl who wants a toy or doll or trading cards or books connected to a show.There is no doubt that this is the key to success. Our motto is “Parlare poco e fare molto” (“Talk little and do much”), keep our feet on the ground and be very humble, which is quite rare in this business, where everyone thinks he’s Steven Spielberg! But I think ours has been a winning strategy. We work very hard, we are liked in the broadcast world, we are liked in the licensing world and we have made important deals in the toy world.We are on the right path, but we always have to be careful because it’s always possible to veer off course. 342

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MOSTLY GHOSTLY 2 & 3 (90 MINUTES) I HTDT (26 X 22 MIN) I FREEFONIX (40 X 22 MIN)

Meet us at MIPTV 2010, Riviera Level Stand R- 31. 34 Contact : Matt Cooperstein Phone: +001 818 522 0040 Email: matt@toonzentertainment.com

The distribution division of Toonz Animation India Pvt Ltd Toonz Entertainment USA Inc, 2503, 20th Street Suite C, Santa Monica, CA 904505, Phone: +001 424 744 8320, www.toonzentertainment.com


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Marvel Animation brings to life some of the most famous comic-book action heroes of all time on a variety of platforms and devices. Tapping into the Marvel Universe library of more than 5,000 characters, including Spider-Man, The X-Men, Hulk, Iron Man and many more, Marvel is satisfying longtime fans and introducing these iconic heroes to young viewers. Eric Rollman, Marvel Animation’s president, oversees the company’s animation slate as well as its partnerships with key broadcasters and home-entertainment studios.

Animated Legends

Marvel’s Eric Rollman By Anna Carugati

TV KIDS: What is the strategy for bringing well-known characters into today’s multiplatform world? ROLLMAN: We are rooted in more than 70 years of comic books, and our characters have been redesigned, rewritten and reinvigorated by thousands of different artists and writers over the years. Because those are our roots we’ve created a very flexible approach to our characters. As long as we respect their core integrity and the worlds we create for them, we are able to successfully translate them across an infinite amount of platforms. We’re always trying to create interesting ways to bring our characters to life, and spin them across video games, where we have been extremely successful, or television animation or direct-to-DVD animated features, or live-action features, or even fun short-form webisodes.We do several fun things on marvel.com and marvelkids.com. If we are having

fun doing it, then the fans are having fun watching it. It’s very important for us to respect our fan base, because they can make or break anything out there. TV KIDS: Would you tell us about a recent multiplatform

property? ROLLMAN: We have a new series called The Super Hero

Squad.We are taking the entire Marvel Universe and making it available in one show.We decided we would make the show target a little bit of a younger audience, make it more appealing to 5- to 8-year-olds, but equally as fun and engaging for older kids 6 to 11 as well. But most importantly, it was going to be a show that was Mom-friendly. So it’s cute and comedic, but it’s full of our traditional and expected action adventure with great storytelling that has always been part of the Marvel Universe.We’ve rolled that out on every platform, including television, mobile, online, home video, as well as hundreds of licensed products across stores everywhere. TV KIDS: What benefits will Marvel Animation derive from

being part of The Walt Disney Company? ROLLMAN: It’s a great opportunity for us. Disney is the

world’s greatest animation company, and we are very lucky to have them bring us under their umbrella.There are a lot of benefits for us, and distribution is one of the greatest ones. Disney has channels all around the world, and Marvel has already been a part of the Disney content catalogue for many years.They got a big influx of Marvel content when they bought Fox Family Worldwide back in 2001 from Saban Entertainment and News Corporation. Disney has expertise in everything from production to distribution. And there are a lot of fans of Marvel at Disney, so all in all it’s a great opportunity for all of us to really embrace something that was already set in motion many years ago. TV KIDS: What new projects are in the works? ROLLMAN: We have more than 300 episodes of television

animation in production right now. In the U.S. alone we have more than 40 hours of Marvel animation on the air every week across Disney XD, Cartoon Network and Nicktoons. We also have great partnerships internationally, everywhere from Canada to France to Mexico, and beyond.We’re continuing to work on those relationships and solidify homes for our projects, and certainly our relationship with Disney gives us the ability to do that and to commit to more production because we know we should have a home for the shows. The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is coming in fall 2010.We also have a prime-time initiative called Marvel Knights, where we are taking our greatest comic books and bringing them to life using a proprietary animation technique.We are already previewing it on iTunes. More Marvel Animated Features are coming later in 2010, and a new season of Iron Man:Armored Adventures... is in production. We are localizing our programming in some markets.The first of these initiatives is a partnership with Madhouse Studios in Japan, and that’s the Marvel Anime project.We have another with a company called KEN Creative in India where we are doing a project that is directed first and foremost at the Indian market. We have another initiative we’re doing in Turkey—it continues to grow. 344

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By Anna Carugati

When the animated Winx Club’s teenage fairies first hit the Italian airwaves, employing their supernatural powers in fantastic adventures to save the world, young viewers were enthralled. It didn’t take long for Winx fever to spread to other countries. In fact, the show has sold to more than 100 countries, including the U.S. Winx Club is just one of the series produced and distributed by the Italian company Rainbow. CEO Iginio Straffi talks about his commitment to quality and how it has been the driving force behind his business.

work, you have to pay the consequences. By spreading the money over five projects, there is a chance that one will work and four won’t—that is less risky, but the quality will be inferior. We, however, believe that it is necessary to put the proper amount of effort and resources into every project. It’s useless to present 100 projects instead of five if enough attention isn’t paid to the development of the story lines, or the characters, or the graphic design, or to the marketing—all elements that are vital to at least aspiring to reach an international success.

TV KIDS: What factors have contributed to Rainbow’s current level of success? STRAFFI: We have remained very focused on strong content.To give you an example, if some of our competitors have $10 they might decide to invest $2 [each] on five projects, instead of spending $10 on only one project. [The latter] is a somewhat risky choice, because if that one project doesn’t

TV KIDS: Why have girls in so many countries found Winx

Quality Comes First

Rainbow’s Iginio Straffi

Club appealing? STRAFFI: It’s a unique product, starting with the stories, which are much more detailed and multilevel compared to the more simple plotlines of average cartoons.The plotline in Winx carries over from episode to episode, with many mini-stories that make up the total story that stretches out not only for an entire season of 26 episodes, but over 100 episodes and also over a feature film that deals with the origins of Bloom [one of the main characters]. Winx represents an entire world, rich and complex, and the content of the stories is similar to those in series for adults. On the graphic and design side, the Winx girls change costumes and hairdos up to three or four times per episode, depending on whether they are at school, or involved in sports, or on a mission.This required a huge amount of extra designs and animation, because we couldn’t reuse anything, compared to a cartoon with characters that are always dressed in the same costume with the same hairdo. But clearly, today’s young female viewers, who pay close attention to detail, have understood that Winx is a special series, and they really enjoy being able to identify with these characters who are a bit older— the Winx girls are teenagers—and wear fashions that ordinary schoolgirls do not. Plus, Italian fashion designers oversaw the outfits in the series, and this helped contribute to the originality and uniqueness of Winx. Another key factor that contributed to Winx’s success, and was a big investment that paid off, was that every series contains 15 or 16 original songs. We composed these songs because we know that music is an important element in the lives of teens, and now increasingly even for children, and our audience enjoys the songs very much. Not everyone does this.Those producers I mentioned who have to create five series with the same amount of money that we use to create one cannot afford to compose and record songs. Dubbing is expensive on its own, but to find singers with the same young and fresh voices in Turkish, Russian or even Hebrew is quite an investment of time and money. All of these efforts yield the type of detail that contributes to a special project and an international success. TV KIDS: What new projects are you working on? STRAFFI: We are developing the second series

of Huntik: Secrets & Seekers, and with 52 episodes we can start a licensing plan, which is not possible with only 26 episodes. Since PopPixie started with an important licensing campaign, we have 52 episodes r ight from the start, and the first 26 will be ready in the fall and the second 26 at the beginning of next year. 346

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toys, some broadcasters have gotten used to receiving programming for free. This is a big problem. Because if a producer has to make the best possible content he has to finance it through broadcast sales. If there are no slots and there aren’t sufficient budgets and broadcasters are getting product for free, the children’s business will suffer, or it will be subject to the major studios that have the leverage to impose their conditions on broadcasters and make them pay. TV KIDS: What growth opportunities do you see

in the next 12 to 24 months? STRAFFI: Our main growth opportunity will be in the area of movies.We were the first in Italy, and among the first in Europe, to produce animated films, even in stereoscopic 3-D.The experience of a 3-D movie is not something that can be replicated with a movie downloaded from the Internet illegally.The box office has shown the potential of 3D, and thanks in great part to Avatar, movies are enjoying a newfound energy. We have two films coming out: the second Winx movie will be released this fall, and a film about ancient Rome is slated for next year.We believe that Rainbow will take a big leap forward in theatrical movies. Of course,TV series and licensing remain our core businesses, and with the properties we have we seem to be protected from the economic downturn. Winx is always number one and has been growing exponentially in some markets. PopPixie already has numerous presales and Fairy-tale ending: Winx Club put Rainbow on the global kids’-TV map, licensees, starting with Bandai for toys and folselling worldwide and spawning a lucrative merchandising campaign. lowed by some 60 or 70 companies. Huntik will PopPixie cannot be considered simply a spinoff of Winx. have a licensing plan next year with 52 episodes available, There is only 5 percent of the Pixie world in Winx. Pop- and clearly we feel we are well positioned for the next Pixie is full of pixies as well as elves and gnomes and mag- few years. ical animals and fantastic creatures. It’s a brand-new series with a lot of fast-paced comedy. Despite the fact that the TV KIDS: Where do you find the show’s look is appealing to girls, we are sure the series will drive to keep initiating new also pull in boys because it is very funny and there are projects? many male characters. It’s a comedy series consisting of STRAFFI: That’s a good self-contained episodes. question that I often ask myself! We’ve had several TV KIDS: As license fees continue to fall, does merchandising accomplishments we are become increasingly important? proud of, but every day I find STRAFFI: It’s very important for us and it always has myself wanting to reach some been. Nowadays maybe even more so, because despite the other, more ambitious goals. In fact that there has been a proliferation of channels for chilfact, next year we will be opendren, license fees have become ridiculously low. Broad- ing Rainbow Magic Land, a casters just keep cutting both the time slots dedicated to theme park outside Rome that children’s programming and the budgets to produce and will be the largest in Italy. acquire shows.This is a very difficult time for all of us proWe won’t stop at TV and ducers and even more so for those who aim at only sell- movie content. My drive stems ing TV and home-video rights. The television industry is from a desire to do things and also facing the challenge of all the content that is avail- the satisfaction of working with able for free on the Internet. Clearly the main problem many young, talented and dedicated now is that many broadcasters, compared to ten years ago, people who, like me, want to create are paying one-tenth of what they used to pay in license something in Italy and in Europe that fees, and in some cases with Japanese product based on hasn’t been done before. 4/10

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Pretty in pink: One of Rainbow’s newest brands is PopPixie, which has already secured several presales, as well as a toy license with Bandai.


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TV KIDS

When Total Drama Island, an animated reality show for kids, premiered on TELETOON in Canada, neither the producers at Fresh TV nor the distribution executives at CAKE Entertainment ever imagined that the series would resonate so well with kids across the globe. In fact, after the series was picked up by Cartoon Network in the U.S., it became a huge hit, and international sales quickly followed. With season three about to air and the fourth already in the works, its creator, Tom McGillis, who is also the president of Fresh TV, talks about the successful franchise and other upcoming series.

extra features on a DVD, such as how the show was made and commentaries. They want to know what is really going on behind the scenes. We just completed production on season three, which is Total Drama World Tour, where the contestants fly around the world in the Total Drama jumbo jet.We have an elimination ceremony like they do in all these other reality shows— in season one it was a campfire ceremony, but in season three it’s the drop of shame,a dramatic parachute ceremony. So if you are voted off the plane,you are pushed off! And there are talking heads of them in free fall saying, “I can’t believe this is happening…!” Where season one parodies Survivor, season three is The Amazing Race, because that was one of the favorite reality shows among our audience.They love seeing people going around the world screaming and yelling at each other and working things out. So this season every episode is in a new part of the world.

Total Fun, Total Entertainment

Fresh TV’s Tom McGillis By Anna Carugati

TV KIDS: What sparked the idea for Total Drama Island? McGILLIS: Way, way back, we were talking to TELETOON

and we were working on an animated show about kids at summer camp called Escape from Summer Camp.They suggested, Why don’t you try doing a reality show? We did a research project and asked 8- to 12-year-olds across Canada what reality shows they watched, which ones they liked or hated, and why. That gave us a good sense that they were all watching certain shows, and there were some that they really loved and others that they hated. [We used that input] to ramp up the exciting parts they enjoyed and also make fun of what they hated. TV KIDS: Why do you think it resonates with kids in so

many different countries? McGILLIS: Total Drama Island, the first season, is a direct hit at Sur-

vivor.That was the number one show our research told us that kids were watching.We also learned from our research that among 8and 9-year-old kids,their understanding of the level of fakery in reality shows is really high.How media savvy these kids are is one thing that really shocked us.These kids knew exactly what they were seeing when they were watching these reality shows, sometimes more than their parents.There are quite a few conventions that are universal to all of these reality shows,and if we took a show that they really recognized and parodied the conventions, the kids got it. So, for instance,we took all the stock characters that you would find in Survivor, the overly athletic single-minded African-American woman and the overweight happy-go-lucky guy who always loses out and the conniving, nasty juvenile delinquent.We took all those archetypes and aged them down till they were 16 years old and they more closely resembled kids that you would see at school.We then stuck them all on an island together and watched the mud fly. TV KIDS: Which reality shows did the other Total Drama

series parody? McGILLIS: The second is Total Drama Action. It took place on a

film lot with big stuntmen.That was kind of On the Lot. Our research showed us that kids are the biggest consumers of the 348

World Screen

TV KIDS: What other projects do you have in the works? McGILLIS: We’ve just begun production on our live-action

TV movie and series called My Babysitter Is a Vampire, and we are making ample fun of the Twilight franchise.You cannot talk to 11-year-old boys about Twilight without them rolling their eyes and saying,“OMG, that stupid movie!”This is primarily for a boy-led audience. It’s a TELETOON original production, and the movie is about a 13-year-old guy who is just a terrible babysitter for his sister, who is 8. [So the parents hire a babysitter] but she’s a smoking-hot 16-year-old girl from school that he’s always had a crush on and she’s transitioning into a vampire because her boyfriend bit her. So he has to save her and the town in 90 minutes. Then the series itself takes on more of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer take, where in every half-hour episode a new supernatural threat descends upon their town and he and the babysitter and best friend have to get everything back in order all before Mom and Dad come home.We have a second show in development. It’s in pilot stage with the Family Channel in Canada. It’s a live-action girl-skewing sitcom about a girl who is the star of her own reality show. TV KIDS: From your research with kids, what have you learned

about what they most want when they turn on the TV? McGILLIS: For years we have been hearing that they want

random humor; they want to be surprised. Even girls are totally happy being grossed out [as long as it’s the] kind of humor that stems from well-developed characters.They’ve become very impatient with shows that have a low gag count.You have to set up your stories very quickly.They still like multiple plotlines, two, even three, are good, but you’d better line them up fast and get your jokes going and don’t slow down for a minute.That’s the new expectation. 4/10


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