Following its acquisition of Racat Group, Toronto, Canada’s Blue Ant Media is diving into the kids distribution business with a slate of four new shows. The company’s distribution arm, Blue Ant International, is set to debut new series Teddies (pictured), ZooMoo’s Wild Friends, Creature Mania! and Most Extreme – Alien Planet Earth next month at MIP Junior.
For a company that launched six years ago with a factual content mandate, the move to bolster its catalog with 200 hours of content aimed specifically at the preschool and kids market is a big step for Blue Ant.
“They are new shows to market, they have not officially been launched, but this is a huge amount of inventory,” says Solange Attwood, SVP of international at Blue Ant. “So we hope that presents great opportunities for kids buyers globally.”
The series are being produced by Blue Ant Media’s global production businesses, Sydney-based Northern Pictures and Sinapore’s Beach House Pictures, which Blue Ant acquired in May (along with a 70% stake in Singapore-based children’s broadcaster ZooMoo).
“I think that content commissioning, especially in the kids business, continues to see disruptions,” Attwood says. “These include far bigger commissions for larger episode counts, and I think that’s indicative of the way the kids business specifically has been leaning. Kids are accustomed to binge-watching episodes over and over again, so I think there is some intuitive logic to ordering large amounts of any particular series.”
Backing up Attwood’s sentiments is 90 x half-hour Teddies, produced by Beach House Pictures and Northern Pictures for Okto and Channel 9. It follows four teddy bears that live in Teddytown as they learn to grow up and make friends.
Produced by NHNZ for ZooMoo, ZooMoo’s Wild Friends is the heftiest offering with 180 x half-hour episodes. It uses puppets, animation and wildlife footage to teach kids about animals and nature, as well as make them laugh.
Creature Mania!, a 65 x half-hour show produced by Northern Pictures for ZooMoo, is made up of 10 short segments to keep young viewers engaged about crazy creatures using archival footage and an energetic host named Alfie.
Most Extreme –Alien Planet Earth is also created for ZooMoo with 65 x half-hour episodes by Northern Pictures. It follows extreme animal and human behavior discussed by an alien explorer.
Blue Ant is currently looking for additional broadcast and licensing partners for all four of the shows.