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Lisbeth’s leap is Jolly Good news for Scandi toons

When industry execs turn to the global market for fresh animation product, Scandinavia is almost never considered as a go-to territory. But ex-TV2 kids programmer Lisbeth Mathiesen plans to build up exposure for Nordic projects and creatives with her new one-woman outfit, Jolly Good Company.
September 1, 2005

When industry execs turn to the global market for fresh animation product, Scandinavia is almost never considered as a go-to territory. But ex-TV2 kids programmer Lisbeth Mathiesen plans to build up exposure for Nordic projects and creatives with her new one-woman outfit, Jolly Good Company.

She says there are actually a lot of strong ideas coming out of countries such as Denmark and Norway. But lack of public funding and international business acumen, coupled with the fact that Scandinavian kidcasters offer low presale dollars, often discourages animators in the region from pushing their concepts through to the greenlight stage. Mathiesen says TV2′s average presale price for a half hour of animation is US$2,000, which is a mere drop in the bucket for a producer aiming to secure the 30% needed to send a new show into development. Countries in the region have small populations (for example, Denmark’s is only five million), so ad revenue that could help bump up presale dollars simply doesn’t exist.

Given this glitch, Mathiesen plans to lean heavily on her 10 years of experience in the kids TV biz and introduce Nordic studios to co-production opportunities, distribution partners and non-domestic broadcasters looking to pre-buy content. She’ll also guide creative and design efforts on projects that need it, as well as using her reputation for singling out high-potential pitches to help move her clients’ properties onto the international playing field.

Mathiesen also hopes to build strategic alliances with fellow freelance consultants around the world, and she expects there are ways to work together to generate wider support for new projects. ‘I would initially be looking to bring the Scandinavians into the world, but I also wouldn’t mind bringing the world to Scandinavia,’ she says.

It’s been just one month since Jolly Good opened for business, and Mathiesen has already ID’d several homegrown projects she’d like to add to her catalogue. Her first project will be a show she started working on at TV2 – Ugly Duckling and Me from Denmark’s A Film, Ireland’s Magma Films and France’s Futurikon. The show is ramping up for delivery at the end of the year, and Mathiesen is overseeing its production on behalf of the Danish pubnet.

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