Factual-focused Aussie distributor Beyond has been steadily sharpening its edge in the kids market and is heading to Cannes looking to add to its small, focused slate of kids series.
‘Kids represents a small amount of hours that we acquire, yet it makes up 20% to 25% of our revenue, so it’s disproportionately successful,’ says Fiona Crago, Beyond’s GM of distribution, who refers to the company’s kids business as boutique.
Much of that revenue comes from carefully selected distribution pick-ups made over the last few years, including Number Jacks (UK-based Open Mind Productions), Milly, Molly (a co-pro with Singapore-based Scrawl Studios) and Backyard Science (produced for Super RTL, TVOntario and Australia’s Seven Network).
But Beyond is broadening its catalogue with the recent pickup of Iconicles, a 26 x half-hour preschool series produced by UK-based Create Media Ventures with phuuz Entertainment. Along with distribution rights to Iconicles, the company has for the first time acquired worldwide licensing and merchandising rights to a series.
‘We plan to devote substantial additional resources to maximizing its potential around the world,’ says Crago. ‘With that additional infrastructure, we will be keeping our eye out for other properties that meet the same criteria.’
To that end, Crago says she’s well supplied with preschool series at the moment, though is open to a great new series in that age demo, as well as tween boy properties and live action. Series that have a high probability of being recommissioned and run longer than 13 episodes are of particular interest right now.
In the meantime, Beyond has started pre-production on a new 26 x 15-minute live-action preschool co-pro called Tati’s Hotel, with Canadian studios Machine Productions and Screen Door Productions. It’s been pre-sold to CiTV in the UK and TVOntario in Canada. Toy Box, a 75 x 35-minute series for kids four to six, is being produced in-house for Seven Network in Australia. The company is also working on the second season of 26 x half-hour Rush TV – an extreme sports series for older kids currently airing on ABC 3 Australia.