Over the past year, TV-Loonland CEO Peter Völkle’s strategic vision has shifted from developing an international presence and breaking into new territories, to culturing an integrated approach to development, production, distribution, marketing and licensing.
Acquisitions have played into the achievement of this goal, with TV-L adding the likes of Sunbow (New York), Telemagination (London), Salsa Distribution (Latin America) and SRE Entertainment (Korea) to its fold. ‘The international structure had to grow,’ Völkle explains, ‘which took away from the other elements of the business.’
When TV-L bought Telemagination last September, there was nothing in production. Since then, Little Ghosts (set to air on CiTV and ZDF in winter 2002) and Pongwiffy (debuting on CiTV in spring 2002) were developed from scratch in-house.
Sunbow essentially relaunched in January following Loonland’s acquisition of the TV production and distribution activities of Sony Wonder. This year, the company introduced Cramp Twins (a co-pro between TV-Loonland, Sunbow and Cartoon Network UK) on CBBC and Cartoon Network UK. The show has garnered up to 1.5 million viewers on CBBC to date, and is the top-rated weekend show on Cartoon Net UK. Cramp Twins started airing on KI.KA this month and will launch on France’s TF1 (which prebought the series) next month. Sunbow also has Skeleton Key in co-development with Nickelodeon, the first joint effort for Sunbow since its relaunch and the first co-development deal for TV-L ever.
In June, the company started expanding its portfolio by signing a deal to jointly develop and co-produce Club Kids–an animated teen/young adult series–with Honest Art in New York. Further along in the teen pipeline is Da Mob, a co-pro between Quintus Animation in the U.K., Happy Life in Sweden and Millimages in France, with TV-L carrying worldwide rights excluding the U.K. It’s been presold to Fox Family in the U.S., BSkyB in the U.K. and Fox Kids France.
As for what’s next, says Völkle: ‘We want to focus on individual shows now that the structure is in place.’