Cartoon sticks with tried-and-true action-comedies
Current status: Cartoon Network is a 24/7 multi-lingual channel that transmits in both analogue and digital formats via cable, satellite and DTT. It’s available throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East on localized feeds in 11 languages. The 10-year-old net is available in upwards of 30 million Euro homes, and worldwide it reaches 145 countries in more than 158 million homes.
The challenge this fall: This year, the predominantly boy-skewing channel is looking to hook fickle eyeballs with multi-platform launches.
The plan: CN is taking an ‘if it ain’t broke’ approach to boys action, debuting new episodes of fan favorites Ben 10 (October) and Robotboy (November). But it’s not all status quo – the network is trying some innovative approaches to introducing new seasons of existing hit series. In August, for example, Cartoon Network launched the UK’s first-ever tooncast – its personal take on the podcast – aimed at kids on the move.
The net commissioned a series of four Ben 10 shorts for the August launch, introduced by Ben himself and available on CN’s UK website. According to Jo Barlow, VP of marketing for Cartoon Network, the tooncasts served as an interactive lead-in to the October 1 premiere of the show’s new season.
The shows: Ben 10 follows the heroic adventures of Ben Tennyson, who gains the ability to morph into 10 intergalatic heroes after finding a high-tech space watch. Alphanim’s Robotboy (52 x 13 minutes) chronicles the saga of a butt-kicking battle-bot who dreams of becoming a real boy.
The marketing: For Ben 10, which will be bolstered by the debut of a movie special later on this fall, Cartoon Network is running a cinema advertising campaign featuring a 90-second spot outlining the story and showcasing the made-for-TV pic’s style, complemented by online and print activity. Robotboy will be supported by way of a more traditional strategy that involves on-air, online and print advertising.
Jetix mixes action formula with lots of laughs
Current status: Jetix Europe owns and operates one of the most widely distributed children’s television channels in Europe and the Middle East, currently broadcasting in 58 countries and reaching more than 46.8 million homes in 18 languages. Jetix Europe’s business is driven by a localized approach, and the net is majority-owned by Disney (which holds a stake that’s approximately 74%).
The challenge this fall: To keep up with audience demand for variety in programming genres and formats.
The plan: While Jetix outlets customize programming for their local audiences, many shows that roll out across the Euro-wide net launch on Jetix UK. And according to UK programming director Dominic Gardner, his channel will be mixing things up on the scheduling front by book-ending a new comedy block called It’s My Joke (which targets young boys with silly jokes sent in via the website) with its action programming.
To add some genre variety, the net will introduce new action-comedy hybrid series Urban Vermin to complement its traditional boys action series. New boys action offerings for fall include Power Rangers Operation Overdrive and Nelvana toon Di-Gata Defenders.
The shows: Having debuted on Jetix UK on October 1, Power Rangers Operation Overdrive (32 x half hours) sees the famed heroes, who celebrated their 15th anniversary this year, embark on a global treasure hunt for the Crown of the Gods, said to bestow ultimate power to the wearer.
And Decode Entertainment’s action-comedy series Urban Vermin (26 x half hours) launches on Jetix UK November 5. The fast-paced show delves deep into the minds and lives of raccoon brothers Abe and Ken, who are continually fighting a twisted war of sibling rivalry while their rodent pals get caught in the cross fire.
The marketing: Jetix UK will be investing in a significant marketing spend to support its new season throughout November and December across TV, online, outdoor (six-sheet poster sites), cinema and print venues. Concentrating on communicating the wide variety of programming available on Jetix, the campaigns will promote new live-action, comedy and animated shows, including Power Rangers Operation Overdrive.