Focus on International – Report
- Challenges and opportunities are different in different markets – but all recognise that the number of players and channels are making the market more competitive.
- Australia – Australian Children’s Television Foundation: very interested in culturally relevant content.
- United States – PBS: US is more competitive than ever, with most cable channels and VOD providers packing up their children content. PBS is looking for great stories, humour, elements of surprise and a strong focus on curriculum.
- Japan – NHK : Japan is proud to have a different and unique local style of animation that is not just for children, but for teens and young adults, too. Curious George, Shaun the Sheep and Sponge Bob are the foreign IP that does particularly well in Japan.
- France – Canal+: a very competitive market for kids, with local and international broadcasters and VOD players, as well as free internet content providers competing for viewers’ attention. The most successful IP tends to come from the US.
- Brazil – Ø1 Digital: Brazil is a country with the 2nd most expensive internet in the world, but 89th by its speed and is also the home of a very successful digital-first and even digital-only approach to airing children’s IP.
We travelled around the world in this session, highlighting some of the similarities and differences in the TV landscape across five different countries.
Jenny Buckland, of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, shared that they are looking for shows that are culturally relevant, distinctively Australian and have universal appeal. The Children’s Television Foundation finance 2-3 shows every year and whilst they are interested in UK producers, they would work together to introduce them to an Australian producer in order to fulfil the requirements for funding.
Linda Simensky from PBS gave us an exclusive preview of a new show that will open next year called “Ready, Jet, Go!”. The vision of the PBS team is to keep making educational, but funny, programming, unique in their commitment to supporting the curriculum. They tend to commission their own content, since these specific requirements can make it hard to find just what you are looking for in the market. Linda made an excellent comment about transmedia and her belief that it helps learning by offering different platforms on which a child learner could follow up on.
Hitoshi Furukawa from NHK, a Japanese public broadcaster, advised that Japan is a somewhat unique market and showed us clips of their work highlighting this style, but at the same time shared that Curious George, Shaun the Sheep and Sponge Bob are enormously popular over there and all getting very high ratings. Their VOD offer is relatively small at the moment, but Amandine Cassi, the session host, did try and tease out if this will change now that Netflix will be coming to Japan. We’ll find out soon!
Chrystel Poncet of Canal+ talked passionately of the lively, competitive kids’ content market in France – coming from both local and international players. Canal+ itself is a beast of over 20 channels, 3 of which are created for kids or family. Their strategy is to look for a mix of famous brands, ideally from a book or feature, as well as for new, very creative IP.
Guilherme Coelho from Ø1 Digital shared exciting insights about their digital-first or sometiems digital-only approach, one that he argues can attract a massive audience. He doesn’t speak without evidence: their flagship IP Lottie Dottie has never aired on TV and has accumulated a huge number of accolades: over 3 billion views on YouTube, availability on 15 VOD channels, 500 different licensed products and the recognition as the #89 top licensed brand in the world. Guilherme reminds us that by 2020 another 2 billion smart phones will be in use and he is confident of his faith in digital channels and in particular, short content for children. His top tip was to think very carefully about what we give away for free, and what we save for premium partners. Lottie Dottie, for example, has 50% of its content available on YouTube, whilst the rest is behind pay walls.
I left the session feeling that there is infinite value to such international meetings of minds. We all share a passion for children’s content, and it was great to see where the market stands in such different countries.
For full speaker details, please visit the Session Guide.
Reed MIDEM, Entertainment Division
Executive Producer MIP Conferences (Drama, Doc & Factual, Junior)
Australia Children’s Television Foundation
CEO / Co-founder
Senior Producer, Global Content Development Division, Programming Department
Vice President, Children’s Programming
Business Affairs Executive
Gardiner Entertainment Ltd