Challenging pan-regional goliaths like Nick, Disney and Cartoon Network is no cake-walk, but a new consortium of kid biz heavies seems to feel up to the job. DIC Entertainment, Corus subsid Nelvana Enterprises and UK channel operator/distributor Sparrowhawk Media have buddied up to launch a 24/7 global multiplatform channel called KidsCo.
Using Sparrowhawk’s international network of affiliates (the company currently programs Hallmark Channels in more than 150 different countries) and distribution expertise, KidsCo should start rolling out to cable carriers this fall in Central and Eastern Europe, and the goal is to be airing in roughly 40 territories across Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific by 2009.
Former Walt Disney TV International president David Hulbert assumes the role of chairman, while Paul Robinson, who used to serve as MD of Disney Channels UK, slides into an upper management role that’s still being defined.
DIC and Nelvana bring a core base of animated, live-action and feature-length programming to the table; between them, the two companies have some 6,000 hours ready to go, including DIC’s Inspector Gadget, Strawberry Shortcake and Madeline, and Babar and Franklin from Nelvana. To shore up its stock, KidsCo plans to acquire programming from independent third parties, also producing original series to meet the needs of local markets is in the offing.
As it works towards competing on a global scale, KidsCo should start securing carriage deals throughout the next quarter. The stated aim of the company is to turn a profit by year three of the venture.