WorldScreenings: Mediatoon’s Catalog Is Tuned In to the Times


Jérôme Alby, Mediatoon Distribution’s managing director, talks to TV Kids about offering a wide range of kids’ genres with a vast array of central themes targeting many different age groups of children.

From Tom and Lili and Sardine in Outer Space to the upcoming Kid Lucky—based on the Lucky Luke graphic-novel character—as well as Martin Morning, Little Furry, The Fox-Badger Family and Yakari, which centers on a young Native American boy, its catalog covers it all.

Sardine in Outer Space takes place in space, Kid Lucky takes place in the Wild West; then there’s Martin Morning, which takes place in school, for example,” says Alby. “That’s one of the key [aspects] of our catalog. And also the face value that these shows carry. A lot of them are book adaptations, which are good for the family; our catalog is mainly based on titles that are perfect for kids and families.”

As the coronavirus has led to more family viewing time than ever, Mediatoon’s slate was primed to cater to this broader audience in addition to offering shows with an educational component, ideal for kids staying home from school amid the global pandemic. Among the shows with high educational value on offer from the Paris-based company is Taratabong, the World of the Meloditties, which features talking instruments that teach kids about musical notes and the instruments that make them come alive. Alby also points to Quiz Time, “a quiz show in which Professor Zack asks questions to kids. In each episode, there are three themed questions—from geometry, simple mathematics, things like that.”

In addition to the impact of COVID-19, the content industry is now having to reckon with the need to have more diverse stories to offer, as protests inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S. indicate, among other things, how much work yet needs to be done to foster a more accepting and equitable global society. And again, Mediatoon finds itself somewhat ahead of the curve, with many of its shows already delivering diverse storytelling.

Yakari, for instance, follows a little Sioux boy who has the magical ability to communicate with animals. “Another show that is very famous in our catalog is Inami, about a boy from an Indian tribe in the Amazon,” says Alby. “But the key thing is that our heroes are mainly animals who live together, and in that way, we actually promote diversity and acceptance.”

The Fox-Badger Family, produced by Ellipsanime and Dargaud Media, is a perfect example. The preschool adventure comedy centers on the family that’s created when a badger named Edmund falls in love with a fox named Margaret and they move in together with his three badger offspring and her fox daughter. “In wildlife, sometimes foxes and badgers share the same burrow,” notes Alby. “It’s a blended family because it’s technically two different animals that have learned to live together. There’s also the thematic of living and being brought up by someone that is not your biological dad or mom.” The show is a 2020 TV France International Export Awards nominee and one of the three best-exported French shows for 2019. Lucas etc., a live-action series that is performing better every week, according to Alby, also features a blended family and diversity within Lucas’ group of friends.

“It’s one key thing that America has in common with Europe,” says Alby. “Both are parts of the world that are melting pots. We’ll build stronger things to that.” And as a company that mainly operates within the world of animation, Mediatoon can continue to deliver more content—across all kids’ genres for all ages—despite a pandemic that has caused more than a hitch for many businesses.

“A very good thing about an animated show and animated characters is that they’re quite immune to viruses,” says Alby. “For the time being, and we’re really crossing our fingers, our production lineup has not been affected by the coronavirus. So, my hope, my deepest hope, is that it won’t last too much longer and that we’ll continue that trend.”

See Mediatoon Distribution’s Summer 2020 Showcase here.