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Special Report MIPCOM: Animation leads growth in French children’s TV

With the rapid expansion of new broadcast outlets around the world, the demand for television product continues to increase, as evidenced by the growth of markets such as MIPCOM and MIPCOM Junior. With this special report, we continue to follow the...
October 1, 1997

With the rapid expansion of new broadcast outlets around the world, the demand for television product continues to increase, as evidenced by the growth of markets such as MIPCOM and MIPCOM Junior. With this special report, we continue to follow the evolution of children’s television programming through a series of co-production diaries, as well as a snapshot view of the children’s television industry.

Also, for the second time, we present the KidScreen ‘Dream Block,’ the best two-hour block of children’s programs, according to a poll of senior programming executives. To find out which shows came out on top and why, turn to page 74.

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French children’s television is on the upswing.

With terrestrial broadcasters increasing their commitment to children’s television and new television services launching on cable and satellite, demand for children’s programming in France is expected to grow.

The market is especially strong within the animation community, as French broadcasters seem to prefer to buy live-action programs from abroad, while commissioning animated shows from domestic suppliers.

And French animation studios are benefiting by extending their relationships outside of France, since some 60 percent of the projects they work on are co-produced with international partners. French animation now boasts a combined library of about 130,000 minutes of programming originating from French companies.

A relative newcomer to the animation scene, Télé Images is going to MIPCOM with Skippy’s Adventures in Bushtown, an animated series featuring the famous Australian kangaroo (see story page 72). The new 26-episode program is co-produced with Australia’s Yoram Gross-Village Roadshow and Germany-based VIDEAL.

Leading French producer France Animation has dug into the Middle Ages with a 26-episode animated version of the Walter Scott story Ivanhoe.

Gaumont Multimedia is expanding beyond action-adventure and preschool series, and is actively developing fresh comedy cartoons. Space Goofs (originally named Home to Rent) was the first French series to be sold to a U.S. network, and Gaumont is following up with a 52 x 13-minute show called Oggy and the Cockroaches, which tells the tale of a peaceful cat and three messy cockroaches.

Among the French TV networks, France 3 remains the leading investor in animation production, followed by TF1, France 2 and M6.

New cable and satellite services are changing the broadcast landscape in France. Besides Canal J, the oldest and most ambitious cable and satellite channel, new services have sprung up over the past several months, including Disney Channel, Teletoon (on TPS platform), AB Cartoons and Cartoon Network (on Canal Satellite). And there is talk that Fox Kids Network will launch on Canal Satellite in November. The service is expected to be delivered by satellite and cable.

As is increasingly true throughout Europe, French producers more often are turning to licensing and merchandising in search of ancillary revenue streams. Companies like Gaumont, Saban Entertainment, AB and Ellipse have developed their own in-house licensing divisions.

Bohbot International in Paris expects to double its licensing revenue this year, with such TV programs as Skysurfers, Starla and the Jewel Riders, Pocket Dragon Adventures and Extreme Dinosaurs.

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