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Opinion: A view from Europe: Co-productions are the future

As children around the world have access to more choices, they are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Viewing habits and preferences of children around the world have started to become very similar....
April 1, 1998

As children around the world have access to more choices, they are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Viewing habits and preferences of children around the world have started to become very similar.

For many years, it was very difficult for European producers of children’s shows to sell their programs to the U.S. market or to find a partner for their productions. Today, as broadcasters are increasing their search for shows that are unique in design, storyline and characters, small European production units are succeeding. Examples include the German company Stardust and the French company Medialab. Both have developed computer animation that has been integrated into children’s shows around the world. Others, such as Croatia Film with its excellent hand-drawn cel animation, have also convinced international program buyers. More and more European companies have begun to break into the U.S. market. Home to Rent, by France’s Gaumont, and Tabaluga, produced by EM and Yoram Gross-Village Roadshow, will both air on Fox Kids Network.

On the other hand, European companies have taken advantage of American know-how and financial means in order to optimize production methods, advertising campaigns and merchandising programs.

We are convinced that the most successful shows in the coming years will be between American and European/international companies. Entertaining animated programs in the future will be a well-balanced mixture of the best input from around the world-from the most talented scriptwriters to the most creative merchandising specialists.

Florian Haffa is a member of the board of EM.TV & Merchandising (formerly EM-Entertainment), a Munich-based diversified communications company.

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