France 3, the leading channel in animation production for preschoolers and children, is also the most active in international co-production.
France 2 distinguishes itself from its public twin sister by being associated with foreign partners only when it plays the role of lead broadcaster.
TF1 and Canal+ fall somewhere in between. Canal+ places its priority on pre-sales. TF1 is looking for about five 26 x 26-minute series a year with a budget of about 30.2 million francs. M6′s involvement in animation is recent and too limited to draw any conclusions about its international strategy, but it has already co-produced Highlander: The Animated Series with Gaumont and Bohbot, as well as Gadget Boy with France Animation and DIC.
As for Canal J, the cable and satellite children’s network, it is becoming more and more involved in international agreements.
Bertrand Mosca, head of youth programs at France 3, says: ‘We give 25 percent of a series budget for the French part, that is, 8 million francs, and often work along with Canal+ for pre-sales, and Canal J either in co-production or pre-sales. In exchange, we are not as greedy as others, and ask for five years of TV rights for an unlimited number of airings, but no distribution rights and almost no licensing rights. Groups and networks we often work with are Beta Taurus, Ravensburger, Rai, Pro 7, Nelvana, Cinar, Astral, Hearst, Bohbot.
‘Today, 50 percent of series are co-produced with foreign partners. As a co-producer, we always follow up series while in production to keep it as close to the original idea as possible. Co-productions have a future with the advent of digital channels dedicated to children. Even the United States will need to get programs abroad, either acquisitions or co-productions.’
This point of view is shared by Eve Baron, head of programs at Canal J, whose budget for co-productions or pre-sales amounts to 50 million francs.
One of Baron’s proudest recent achievements was a meeting involving France Animation and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. For the first time, an Australian partner teamed up on animation series with a foreign partner for Lil Elvis, which is also co-produced with France 2 for delivery in 1997.