KiKA’s Sebastian Debertin


MUNICH: Sebastian Debertin, KiKA’s head of fiction, acquisitions and co-production, reveals what is resonating for the German kids’ broadcaster.

Explaining his role, he says: “I look for acquisitions and co-productions for all genres from national and international sources. Germany, France, the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Scandinavia, Canada, Australia and the U.S. are the main [territories] where our programs come from. Having said that, I also have two co-productions with Asian partners, from South Korea and from Singapore.”

Among his priorities, Debertin says, is KiKA’s support for an initiative called Der besondere Kinderfilm (Special Children’s Films). “In a joint effort by ARD, ZDF and KiKA, together with the film industry and media policy-makers, and supported by funding bodies, children’s films in Germany are to be given an improved and enhanced presence,” Debertin says. “KiKA is involved in this in terms of editorial input, joint development and co-investments.”

As for upcoming shows that he is excited by, Debertin cites Super Wings, an animated preschool co-production with CJ E&M of Korea and Josh Selig’s Little Airplane. “In the past, Asian countries were known mainly as service partners, but I am happy that the creativity from Asia now puts this region more and more in the driver’s seat. Partners like CJ E&M in Seoul or One Animation in Singapore are coming up with great ideas that resonate with our audience in German-speaking Europe.”

Likewise on the co-production front, Debertin cites titles like Belle & Sebastian with Gaumont Television and ZDF. He is also looking forward to The Insectibles, a KiKA, Discovery Kids Asia and ZDF Enterprises co-production targeting 6- to 9-year-olds.

Regarding acquisitions, Debertin says a big part of KiKA’s success has been a refusal to buy kids’ shows in bulk. “Our shows are hand-picked, which is why they work so well on KiKA platforms. At the end of January, for example, The Jim Henson Company’s Doozers achieved ratings of 74.6 percent and Little Princess also continues to deliver huge ratings. Q Pootle 5 by Snapper Productions delivers a fantastic fresh look at aliens, while family audiences love Animaccord’s Masha and the Bear.”

On what content owners should know when pitching KiKA, Debertin says: “Be brave and come up with the next smart and clever concept for kids 6 to 9, whether animated or live action. There is a big demand for such shows by broadcasters, as I have learned from my exchange with international colleagues, public and commercial alike.”