Distributor/producer: New York-based Sesame Workshop (212-595-3456)
Format: 39 x 15 minutes
Style: Live action/puppetry
Some current broadcasters: Family Channel (Canada), TV2 (Denmark), RAI (Italy), TG4 (Ireland) and Daekyo (South Korea) Elmo leaves Sesame Street for new global broadcast addresses
It’s difficult to determine whether current broadcast interest in Elmo’s World stems from the recent influx of dedicated preschool channels/blocks or a need for short-format series to fill schedule gaps, but Sesame Workshop’s VP of global TV distribution Jennifer Chrein says demand for the series is on the rise.
First produced in 1999 as a self-contained segment for the hour-long Sesame Street format in the U.S. market, Sesame Workshop only began selling Elmo’s World as a stand-alone series last year. ‘We waited until we had 26 episodes because we needed a significant number so that broadcasters would invest marketing money and place it in a strong time slot,’ says Chrein.
Set in a crayon-drawing-come-to-life room, where the drawer, door, window shade and TV all take part in the fun, Elmo’s World focuses on everyday topics relevant to preschoolers and stresses interactivity, creativity and imagination. Regular characters include Elmo’s pet goldfish and the zany Mr. Noodle, but Chrein claims much of the series’ appeal hinges on its little red monster host: ‘Elmo is a globally recognizable character, even in countries where Sesame Street has never aired.’
Current plans for the series include using it to extend the company’s banner brand in territories where the one-hour series airs or as a lead-in in territories where it hasn’t yet sold. ‘What’s beautiful about Elmo’s World is that it can stand alone,’ notes Chrein. ‘So if a market can’t sustain a one-hour series, then we have this as another option to get the Sesame Street brand into the market with our strongest character.’
An example of that strategy at work is the show’s recent sale to public broadcaster RAI in Italy, where Chrein hopes to use Elmo’s World to trigger a local Sesame Street co-pro or a sale of the dubbed U.S. version. Other territories of interest include France, Germany and Spain.
Bear in the Big Blue House
Distributor/producer: L.A.-based Jim Henson Television (323-602-1500)
Format: 117 x half hour
Broadcasters: The series airs in more than 40 territories, including the U.K. (Channel 5), Germany (Disney Channel) and throughout Latin America (Disney Channel)
Distributor: London-based BBC Worldwide (44-208-433-2000)
Producer: London’s Ragdoll Limited
Format: Live action with walk-around characters
Style: 365 x half hour
Broadcasters: Translated into 44 languages, Teletubbies has been sold to 109 broadcasters in 79 territories, including PBS (U.S.), TVOntario (Canada), Canal+ (France), KI.KA (Germany), TV2 (Denmark), ABC (Australia) and TV Tokyo (Japan)
Distributor: Toronto, Canada’s AAC Kids (416-967-1174)
Producers: AAC Kids and London-based Loonland UK, in association with Toronto, Canada’s Cuppa Coffee Animation
Format: 13 x half hour
Style: Stop-motion clay animation
Broadcasters: Discovery Kids (Latin America), ABC (Australia) and Family Channel (Canada)