With six straight years as a top-10 pay-TV channel across Latin America, three consecutive years as the number-one pan-regional preschool channel, and currently sitting pretty as Brazil’s top pay-TV network, Discovery Kids continues to earn its place as an industry-leading children’s broadcaster.
Never content to rest on its laurels, Discovery Networks Latin America/US Hispanic is currently strengthening its worldwide business, thanks to a bigger investment in its originals pipeline and the work of newly promoted EVP and CCO Carolina Lightcap. She now leads the global operations of Discovery Kids and Family, too.
In line with its focus to invest in productions that have global appeal, the network recently partnered with Argentinian animation studio Mundoloco and Buenos Aires-based prodco Cris Morena Group on three new development projects—Floribella, Underdogs (pictured) and Baby Rockers.
Mundoloco co-founder and Oscar-winning director Juan Jose Campanella (The Secret in Their Eyes) is adapting the animated, sport-themed feature film Underdogs (Metegol) into a TV series. He’s also working with Cris Morena Group to adapt the popular live-action telenovela Floricienta into a teen-skewing animated series entitled Floribella. Mundoloco’s Baby Rockers, meanwhile, is the newest series of the bunch and follows a multicultural band of babies.
Discovery Kids will air the three series exclusively across Latin America after their expected delivery begins later this year and into 2017. In the meantime, Lightcap had a chance to chat with Kidscreen about DK’s new business strategy.
What are your current responsibilities in your new position?
I’m still in the early days of my new role, but my priority is to gain a deeper understanding of our kids and family channels around the world, including Discovery Family in the US, to establish how we can add value by coordinating strategies on a global basis. And of course, as we continue to develop original productions for Discovery Kids, we’re offering them to our international channels as well.
What does it mean for the channel to boost its slate of original productions, and how will it be managed?
We’ve been involved in co-pros before in other countries like Brazil and Canada, but this is much more ambitious in terms of the number of shows we’re working on now and obviously the calibre of people we’re bringing to the table. For the pipeline, we select projects that complement our network’s needs—that is, a series must be original, have very high production values, a global appeal and have potential to work across transmedia platforms. We’ve increased our kids production presence in the region, and our original productions team continues to closely supervise all projects from our headquarters in the US.
What’s the biggest challenge and opportunity with your originals plan?
The challenge we’re facing, which is a good problem to have, is to ramp up development quickly without losing quality and the special care that each project requires to be born and nurtured. The biggest opportunity is to own more of our pipeline so we can shape the product to our specific needs, and ensure it will meet the demands of our audience on all platforms.
Has your digital strategy changed at all?
What has changed over the past few years is the need to deliver a multiplatform experience that is organic to the product as it’s being created, and not as an after-thought. The digital components are being integrated into the production flow now, so by the time the shows are launched, all elements are in place to answer the demands of audiences who expect to find content expressions on multiple platforms.
How has the broader kids industry affected Discovery Kids since you joined the company?
New platforms and consumer habits are constantly making us rethink the way we work with all audiences in the Discovery portfolio, and even more so when it comes to kids programming. Securing digital rights in acquisitions has become the norm, and owning your content to be able to secure availability on all dimensions has become even more important. It’s also exciting to see shows traveling in multiple directions probably more than ever, and not just crossing international borders, but also platforms as kids lead the way in discovering great content wherever it lives.