Estrogen seeps into 4Kids’ distribution strategy
Although New York-based licensor/distributor 4Kids Entertainment has built its foundation almost entirely on hyper-kinetic boys action properties like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon, it now seems ready to court girl viewers as well.
‘We have some girls programming that we feel is very strong, so we’re looking at what broadcasting opportunities are available,’ says Carlin West, 4Kids senior VP of licensing and marketing. In March, the company acquired TV distribution and merchandising rights in English-speaking territories to Winx, a 2-D animated series from Recanati, Italy-based Rainbow that follows the adventures of a group of fashion-savvy fairies and witches. And in June, it picked up the same rights to Magical DoReMe, a preschool series about a witch-in-training from Japan’s Toei Animation.
West says 4Kids is sizing up other series for girls ages six to 11. And while she stops short of saying the company will launch a girls block similar to its boy-targeted Fox Box block, West isn’t ruling out the possibility. ‘We haven’t gone beyond the two shows, but we have some other things that we’re looking at,’ says West, adding that she expects to have both Winx and Magical DoReMe on the air by spring 2004.
Starz! rolls up the curtain on a kids movie channel
U.S. pay-TV channel operator Starz! Encore Group is bringing big-screen children’s entertainment to the small screen with the launch of an all-kids movie channel. Starting this December, the 24-hour commercial-free Starz! Kids will offer a variety of first-run and classic films for two- to eight-year-olds. According to spokesman Marc McCarthy, SEG hasn’t ruled out acquiring independently-produced kid flicks, but says that the channel will stock its lineup primarily with films from studios such as Miramax and Universal Pictures, with which it already maintains exclusive first-run rights deals. SEG’s 12 pay-TV channels currently include Starz! Family and the tween-skewing Wam!