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The scrying game

I don't know about you, but flipping over to a new calendar year always puts me in a crystal ball-gazing kind of mood. So I recruited several wise sages from the industry to help tell the fortune of the kids entertainment biz in 2003. Here's what they had to say...
January 8, 2003

I don’t know about you, but flipping over to a new calendar year always puts me in a crystal ball-gazing kind of mood. So I recruited several wise sages from the industry to help tell the fortune of the kids entertainment biz in 2003. Here’s what they had to say…

‘On the production side, I see a number of challenges ahead. Lower birth rates have led to a smaller-sized kids market – less audience, less overall advertising dollars directed at kids. This means a general shrinkage across the kids entertainment industry, which will likely lead to more consolidation. More specifically, I anticipate two kinds of companies emerging: one is the very big company that has the financial clout and multiple platforms needed to survive in the long term; the second is the very small company with little financial resources, but brilliant ideas. On the broadcast side, there will be pressure to deliver a higher standard of programming to viewers and to advertisers.’

Peter Moss, head of programming, Corus TV and executive VP of development, Nelvana

’2003 will still be influenced by the aftermath of the New Economy collapse. The worldwide economic climate will not improve significantly. We expect the kids biz to be on the level of 2002 both in terms of production volume/quality and ad spend. The international majors could regain their strength, whereas a lot of smaller production companies continue to struggle and some will disappear due to a lack of cashflow.’

Susanne Schosser, program director, Super RTL

‘In the U.K., Nigel Pickard’s exit from the BBC and move to head up ITV programming is bound to have interesting repercussions on both ITV and the BBC. Depending on where his replacement comes from, there may also be an impact on some of the other channels as candidates move from one position to another. The success of the BBC’s digital children’s channels, which looks set to continue, indicates an obvious change in the viewing habits of kids in multi-channel households and continues to stoke the U.K. competition for viewers in this age group. Add to that the development of a strong children’s schedule on Channel 5, and the prospects for program producers should be positive.’

John Morris, former senior VP of international TV and home entertainment, HIT Entertainment

‘The big studios will blame 2-D animation for the failure of their movies and go like lemmings into 100% CGI production – no matter what the concept or story line. Smaller animation studios will produce original and inventive television series and movies and gradually take over the whole industry.’

Mike and Liz Young and Bill Schultz, co-owners, Mike Young Productions

As for us at KidScreen, we’re betting on a stronger creative development focus across the board, as well as an influx of kid-specific big-event movies (and merch programs, of course) and more licensed exclusives and store-in-store merchandising experimentation.

- jocelyn

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