With an eye on breaking into new Asian and Eastern markets, as well as preparing for the inevitable advent of broadband broadcasting, London-based Chorion is giving its evergreen property Noddy a 3-D CGI makeover. The multimedia company has pegged US$15 million to fund the production of the new 100 x 10-minute series called Make Way for Noddy, which could hit airwaves as early as April 2001.
Nicholas James, Chorion’s managing director of intellectual properties, says the Eastern channels’ penchant for long-running series was a key factor in the decision to redo Noddy. ‘Broadcasters in these new markets buy programming by the yard, rather than the inch,’ he says. ‘They want to be able to strip preschool series daily, so 65 episodes isn’t enough anymore.’ Chorion will further entice these casters by offering do-it-yourself versioning packages which channels can use to create wrap elements of three different lengths. ‘We’re giving them a few alternatives for meeting the local content requirements that governments around the world are increasingly establishing for preschool programming,’ says James. ‘These broadcasters, on their own, don’t have the budget for localization, and advertisers don’t pay much-if anything-for that time of day. So we have to make it easy for them.’
Changing delivery technology made the timing of the Noddy makeover ideal. ‘Two to five years down the road, the industry will start moving towards Internet and broadband delivery of some kind,’ James postulates. ‘To capitalize on that shift, we need to build assets now that can be repurposed for the new delivery method in due course.’ James feels that broadband and Internet media will let producers independently broaden their penetration into the kids market. ‘We’ll have more control over how and when consumers can access our products,’ explains James. ‘It’s the nature of preschool development that our audience goes through a two- to three-year obsessive state, and we want to make sure that they can access our properties more frequently and conveniently during this stage than is currently allowed by a rigid TV schedule.’
James anticipates sealing three deals in key territories at MIPCOM, where he’ll be showing a compilation of sequences from the new series. The pilot will be completed in November, with series delivery slated for Q2 2001.
In addition to Make Way For Noddy, Chorion will start rolling out episodes of the new series on video in Q4 2001, as well as an original 3-D CGI direct-to-video Christmas special.