Southern Star is confident that its new series Oscar and Friends and the American hit Barney will bring a jump in its children’s program sales at MIP’ Asia.
The Sydney, Australia-based company began business in the region more than two decades ago as the Asian distributor of Hanna-Barbera’s catalogue. Says Southern Star’s Catherine Nebauer, sales executive, Asia and Middle East, ‘Asia has been a really important part of Southern Star’s makeup.’ MIP’ Asia is just part of the company’s ongoing discussions and meetings with clients in the region.
After receiving ‘tremendous’ response from Asian buyers at MIPCOM to its launch of the children’s claymation program Oscar and Friends and to Barney, which Southern Star represents outside of North America, Southern Star is hoping to close several sales at the market. The animated preschool series Hot Rod Dogs, Nebauer predicts, will also do well at MIP’ Asia.
Nebauer believes these shows, deliberately chosen for MIP’ Asia, will appeal to the region because they are nonviolent, educational and entertaining. Asian broadcasters are becoming more concerned about the quality and content of children’s programs. The Philippines, for example, has recently held conferences ‘condemning the use of violent animation on the networks,’ says Nebauer.
This growing concern is the result of swelling support for children’s television. ‘Because the merchandising market really hadn’t established itself in those territories, there wasn’t such a need for good children’s programs because they just weren’t getting the advertising support,’ she says. ‘But I think these markets now certainly are getting the advertising support. So there seems to be a lot more interest in [the kinds of] children’s products.’