Some 1,500 executives from the global kids’ industry descended on the JW Marriott in Cannes on the weekend before MIPCOM, as 600 buyers perused a screenings library with about 1,300 programs and projects from around the world.
Studio 100 Media’s brand-new CGI-animated series 100% Wolf—Legend of the Moonstonewas the most-screened series at MIPJunior, followed by Guru Studio’s Pikwik Pack—one of the event’s World Premiere TV Screenings. The other MIPJunior World Premiere TV Screening, Heirs of the Night, also made the top 30 list, as did Super Shiro. The chase comedy from TV Asahi was presented at a breakfast session on Sunday followed by a panel discussion featuring TV Asahi’s Takahiro Kishimoto, Science SARU’s Eunyoung Choi and Cartoon Network’s Leslie Lee and Hoyoung Jung.
The process behind developing a show that will strike a chord with kids (and buyers) took center stage in Saturday morning’s Creators Superpanel, with Rainbow’s Iginio Straffi, Xilam’s Marc du Pontavice, Brown Bag Films’ Bronagh O’Hanlon and Green Gold Animation’s Rajiv Chilaka. The panelists sat down for a discussion with World Screen’s Anna Carugati before each received a World Screen Kids Trendsetter Award in association with Reed MIDEM. Next up, Lauren Faust, who developed and executive produces DC Super Hero Girls on Cartoon Network, took part in a one-on-one session with World Screen’s Kristin Brzoznowski to talk about empowering young viewers and breaking gender stereotypes.
The importance of diversity and inclusion could also be seen in this year’s International Emmy Kids Awards nominees, announced on the Monday morning of MIPCOM, with contenders from 15 countries. “The geographic spread and diversity of topics addressed in this year’s nominated programs attest to the vibrancy and quality of children’s television throughout the world,” said Bruce Paisner, the president and CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
The health of the global kids’ sector was the focus of the MIPJunior Keynote Superpanel, featuring Genius Brands International’s Andy Heyward, WildBrain’s Josh Scherba and Serious Lunch and Eye Present’s Genevieve Dexter talking with Carugati about how their companies are navigating a fast-changing kids’ market.
Much of the conversation centered on the impact of the streamers. “Streaming services taking kids seriously has been a really important factor in the industry,” Scherba said. “They’re putting more resources into kids than we’ve ever seen in the history of kids’ content. It’s more opportunities to make great content. There are challenges that go along with that, but [nevertheless] the industry is healthier than it’s ever been.”
Dexter noted that digital platforms often don’t want to commission third, fourth or fifth seasons of shows, “they want new stuff which will drive subscriptions. That is also a challenge. It’s yet to be seen if, for kids, they’ll commit to a brand over the long term.”
On the complexities of windowing, Heyward observed, “The sequencing and chronology are in part dependent on how much a particular buyer wants that show. If they want it, they’ll let the rules go away. In the past, it was very clear: over the air broadcast, cable and satellite, syndication, whatever it was. That was a very strict way of rolling out shows. Today there are no rules.”
Reflecting Genius Brands’ embrace of new ways of doing business, the company unveiled a strategic co-production partnership with Youku to co-produce Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. And that wasn’t Youku’s only significant kids’ news last week, as the Chinese streamer aligned with Viacom International Media Networks for Little Luban, while also licensing more than 100 hours of CBeebies content from BBC Studios.
Speaking to wider shifts in the market, digital players made plenty of headlines last week. Hulu extended its pact with pocket.watch, bringing season one of HobbyKids Adventures to the platform, as well as new seasons of Ryan’s World and other shows. Amazon Prime in France added the preschool SVOD service Hopster as well as GulliMax to its offering. The AVOD service Tubi unveiled plans for a Tubi Kids platform, which launched this week with some 5,000 hours of content.
For distributors, the digital platforms have certainly created new windowing opportunities, and sales activity with linear and streaming services alike was brisk last week. Superights landed a round of presales on the second season of Pat the Dog. APC Kids secured the first sales for Riki Group’s new animated series Dinocity. GO-N International licensed the preschool series Tina & Tony to France Télévisions. Studio 100 Media inked a volume deal with the Hungarian public broadcaster MTVA covering more than 200 half hours of kids’ programming. Planeta Junior signed deals with a raft of international broadcasters for its 3D-animated action-comedy series Gormiti. Media I.M. sold Sunny Bunnies to Disney Channel Korea. GG Bond: Lollipop in Fantasy, the latest film based on the GG Bond property from Chinese animation company Winsing, landed a TV slot in Malaysia.
MIPJunior and MIPCOM also saw platforms, producers and distributors announce alliances for new content. Nickelodeon International ordered the live-action comedy Goldie’s Oldies (working title) from Viacom International Studios UK. Green Gold Animation and Japan’s ADK Emotions partnered to co-produce and distribute Nebula and the Big Blue Couch. Jellyfish Pictures struck a development deal with Bomanbridge Media for its preschool series Ivy and the Inklings. Island of Misfits Media Ventures penned a development project deal with Keith Chapman, the creator of PAW Patrol and Bob the Builder, for a new animated series tentatively titled Farmer Mars.