In the kids TV business, there couldn’t be a more visible sign of the demand for children’s programming than the crowded Martinez hotel during the two-day MIPCOM Junior. The event drew a larger attendance this year than last, hosting more than 680 visitors, up nine percent, including 330 program buyers, up 16 percent.
Animation continues to be the most sought-after genre, with animated shows accounting for 28 of the top 30 series screened at MIPCOM Junior. Columbia TriStar’s Men in Black: The Series led the pack with 74 screenings, followed by The Blues Brothers Animated Series from Film Roman and Nelvana’s Franklin. While demand for live action appears to be increasing, some executives say interest is not swelling in proportion to animation.
Branding in the kids TV business is a continuing trend. CANAL+ Distribution launched KIDS+ at MIPCOM, a division that will focus on the company’s children and youth catalogue. Nelvana put its name on a programming block called The Nelvana Kidz Klub (see story page 16).
Producers are forging new partnerships with international companies to develop series. Yoram Gross-Village Roadshow and EM.TV & Merchandising closed a co-production deal at MIPCOM to create 10 animated series over the next five years. EVA Entertainment and Egmont/Nordisk Film-Egmont Group publishes children’s and youth books and magazines-joined forces to strengthen their combined positions in the European animation market. Film Roman is teaming up with Korea’s cable network Tooniverse to co-produce Mulk & Swank, an animated program based on characters from a children’s sing-a-long video. And Children’s Television Workshop announced its 18th indigenous co-production, an Arabic version of Sesame Street.
And studios continue to extend into other areas of the kids business to capitalize on their properties and tap into new revenue streams. Sunbow Entertainment announced the launch of an in-house licensing division at MIPCOM. And GRB Entertainment, producer of the children’s series Mega Movie Magic, unveiled plans for a home video label.