MADRID: Children’s programming is gaining more ground in the Spanish television arena, as regional broadcasters are increasingly using beefed-up kids slates to lure a larger family audience. A recent trend has seen Spain’s commercial channels creating children’s slots that offer live-action and animated series for kids and teens up to age 20 under the name of a particular club: Club Disney on Tele 5, Club Megatrix on Antena 3 TV, Club Super 3 on TV3 (which has amassed more than 800,000 kid followers in its eight years of operation), Xabarin Club on TVG, Cyberclub on Telemadrid, and Babala on Canal 9.
Moving with the tide, state-owned channel TVE (La Primera) is gearing up to launch an expanded children’s window this month, anchored by its own as-yet-unnamed kids club. The positioning of the block was being finalized at press time-the window will either be housed on La Primera or TVE’s other national channel La 2.
The new club will showcase Trilocos, an interactive series produced by Madrid’s Globomedia in which the 150 kid members of the show’s live audience control the development of a plot that centers on three comic characters that work at a job agency.
TVE also intends to strengthen co-productions, particularly those with Spanish production houses. Together with several Spanish prodcos, the channel belongs to Spain’s Audiovisual Independent Producers Association (APIA), and is already working on several kid-targeted co-pros that it plans to broadcast in the new club window-Defensor 5 and La ultima patrulla (Anima 2), Nicola (BRB), Argui and La Ultima Reserva (D’Ocon Films) and Meme and El Senor Bobo (MB Producciones). As far as international projects go, TVE works with New York-based Children’s Television Workshop on Barrio Sésamo, and generally acquires programming from Warner, Disney, Nickelodeon and France Animation.
The kids club route is not an untried path at TVE; in 1992, the channel launched Pinnic, which, despite airing for two years, only garnered 100,000 members. Now under the responsibility of Enric Frijola, director of children’s programs at TVE, the state-owned broadcaster tries again.
Over the last year, TVE dedicated 30% of its children’s co-pro budget to live action and 70% to cartoons. The state channel airs between 40 and 45 hours of children’s programs each week, comparing favorably to Antena 3, which shows between 22 and 42 hours, and Tele 5, which dedicates just 11 hours to kids. DVD