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Pre-market check-up

Hit the Palais running with this dossier of MIP-TV market intelligence. KidScreen e-polled kids programming, production and distribution players to find out what trends are shaping their MIP-TV strategies.
Buyers
In terms of dealing with new production markets, buyers report being...
April 1, 2001

Hit the Palais running with this dossier of MIP-TV market intelligence. KidScreen e-polled kids programming, production and distribution players to find out what trends are shaping their MIP-TV strategies.

Buyers

In terms of dealing with new production markets, buyers report being interested in buying from Spain, Germany and Cuba. A full 66% of our respondents buy from the U.S. most often, with the U.K., Canada, France and Japan also getting a lot of pick-up play.

Buyers report no shortage of high-quality preschool fare, but 75% of them feel that there’s a dearth of good shows for the tween and teen demos. Too much animation is a sentiment that resounded loudly, with 70% of our panelists reporting that the genre is crowding the kids market. Live action is getting the short shrift right now as the most underserved genre, say 45% of our respondents, with high-end 2-D animation and CGI/clay-animated series coming in a close second and third. The majority our buyers (92%) are looking for half-hour formats.

Decode’s Angela Anaconda won out as best new kids show of 2000, with the ubiquitous Pokémon and Sesame Workshop’s Elmo’s World also getting a few nods. Just Entertainment’s Butt-Ugly Martians is pegged as the most promising up-and-comer for 2001, in addition to Spumco’s The Ripping Friends, DIC’s Mary Kate and Ashley vehicle Action Girls and UFO Baby from MICO in Japan.

Decode also topped our panel’s fave production company list, which was rounded out by Sesame Workshop, Planet Grande in Malibu, California, HIT and Disney. In terms of distributors, Link, Warner Bros., Cromosoma, Saban and EM.TV split the votes pretty evenly.

With its continuing financial woes, EM.TV was also pegged as the biggest disappointment for 2000. In addition, panelists listed several shows that they feel failed to live up to market expectations, including Tweenies, Dragon Tales and St. Bear’s Doll Hospital.

Buyers’ wishlists

Andrea Lang, head of animation department for RTL2

High-quality anime or comedy series for 10- to 15-year-olds

Dolores Morris, VP of HBO Family

Talk shows and music shows for kids, as well as web-centric series aimed at tweens

Mari Koivuhovi, program buyer for MTV3 in Finland

Live-action series for 10- to 13-year-olds

Susanne Schosser, program

director for Super RTL

‘One special show like Angela Anaconda’

Carole Bonneau, director of programming for Canada’s Teletoon

Prime-time animation for the 14-plus crowd

Paula Parker, VP of programming and production, YTV Canada

30- and 60-minute animation and live-action series for the eight to 12 and 14-plus demos

Producers

Our panelists expect live-action reality-based shows containing animated fantasy segments to be a key programming trend for 2001, along with 2-D/3-D combos.

Average animated series budgets, which respondents say are on the rise due to a steady increase in salaries and talent costs, are around US$325,000 per ep, while live-action budgets run the gamut from US$150,000 per ep to US$500,000.

Most of our panelists still seem to be searching for a good distributor, but AAC Kids did get a nod for excelling at the job.

Our producer poll says that Canada’s YTV, U.S. pubcaster PBS and Fox Kids offer the most latitude, while kudos went to PBS and Kids’ WB! for doing the best job at promoting their kids shows. PBS was also the clear winner as far as airing the most responsible kids programming goes, with The Family Channel in Canada and Nickelodeon weighing in as well. And apparently it really is the World of Disney; when asked to name the most controlling broadcaster, Disney Channel came up as the clear winner.

In terms of favorite broadcasters, Robert Mills, president of Radical Sheep Productions, picks PBS. ‘The U.S. market is the obvious driving force behind licensing revenues, and PBS has the added cachet of being the home for high-quality programming. Their exposure and seal of approval are desired by all.’ Sunbow Entertainment senior VP of creative affairs Ken Olshansky says, ‘I think it would be a refreshing new development to see PBS commission an original series from an independent American producer.’

Nelvana VP of production Jocelyn Hamilton prefers the balance offered by Kids’ WB! ‘They’re not afraid of what kids really want to watch, and yet they are responsible in their programming. It’s a tough line to walk, but they do it really well. They’re also great at promoting and cross-promoting their series.’

Distributors

Japan is still the toughest region to break into, say our distribution experts, while Israel, Latin America and Singapore/Indonesia are looking like they could really heat up for kids programming sales this year. For animated series, once a domestic caster is secured, distributors say they turn next to the U.K. and perennial platform fave the U.S. to start the international sales ball rolling.

For a standard 2-D animated half-hour kids series, here’s what our panelists expect to get in license fees on average from territory to territory:

U.S. US$30,000

Germany US$27,000

U.K. US$20,000

France US$15,000

Latin America US$15,000

Asia US$12,000

Canada US$8,000

Australia US$2,500

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