Cartoon Network At MIPJunior 2018 Part Two
Today is the second and final day of the annual MIPJunior convention at the JW Marriott Hotel in Cannes, France. The convention is a yearly gathering of the international children’s media industry and is an opportunity to promote their programming and even to buy and sell broadcasting rights to and from other broadcasters.
For more information about MIPJunior 2018, please follow the link below:
Since the last blog post, there has been some extra news been released, so here’s a summary of what’s new from MIPJunior 2018.
The Creators’ Superpanel
Yesterday morning (13th October) at MIPJunior was the The Creators’ Superpanel with Ben Bocquelet – Creator of The Amazing World of Gumball and Tom McGillis – Creator of 6teen, Stoked, Total Drama Island and Total DramaRama, both were awarded a WorldScreen Trendsetter Award. At the panel, Ben Bocquelet talked about how he became a creator of a show, he said his career path was “run of the mill”, he went to animation school and then worked his way up to showrunner and director, he said “I just had to wing it”, which means he had to improvise and take each challenge as it comes. Ben also said his creative spark mostly comes from everyday experiences, he said jokingly “I have a weirdly dysfunctional but very happy family. I have had a whole bunch of weird stuff happen to me and keeps happening to me! I’m basically making money off their pain and misery!”.
Ben later added “Also, we wanted the show to be something that a kid brother and a big brother could bond over. Or something they could watch with Mum or Dad and have a laugh. The same way I was watching The Simpsons with my parents. We try to have something funny for everyone. Humor is comfort food for the soul.”, he also said that slapstick humor is an important element in kids’ comedy.
Ben then talked about the technical challenges of Gumball, which has a mixed media art style, he said “It was a mistake! It’s really hard to maintain for a long run. I was working in commercials, very unsuccessfully. I was experimenting with a lot of techniques and styles, and then I rage-quit commercials because I was utterly unsuccessful. When Cartoon Network hired me and asked me to present a show, I pulled these characters out of my drawers and sold them again. To unify this bunch of styles I put them on photographs. And the concept of these characters having a second chance and living in the world felt quite exciting. But it’s a hard, complex pipeline to put together.” Although it was the difficult, Ben said that the effort behind the show was worth it, because the range of styles “helped the show stand out”.
Tom McGillis founded Fresh TV with Jennifer Pertsch after working at Nelvana, together they created the hit Total Drama Island franchise, among several other series such as 6teen and Stoked.
At the panel, Tom talked about the importance of talking with broadcasters. Total Drama actually came as a request from Teletoon. Teletoon wanted an animated reality show, so Tom and Jennifer collaborated, both thrown ideas back and forth then suddenly Total Drama came into fruition. When talking about Total Drama’s humour, Tom joked “As a rule of thumb, fart jokes always work”, he then added “Jennifer reaches into pop culture for the references. A lot of you have said that you like a joke that a young child and an older child or a parent can enjoy together. We don’t tend to do that. We tend to be very specific about demographics. We like jokes where the parents will say, ‘What was that?’ and the kids can say, ‘Mom and Dad, you won’t get it.’ That’s when we feel we’ve succeeded. And we never speak down to them.”
Tom and Jennifer don’t think about how the show is viewed in terms of screens and platforms, they think about story, although the platform will often influence the format, whether its a 11 or 22 minute episode, Tom said “Really we rely on the commissioning broadcasters to tell us this is what they want.”.
Tom then talked about the relaunch of Total Drama with the new series Total DramaRama which premiered on Cartoon Network USA on 1st September. The original series was aimed at tweens (preteen kids). Cartoon Network requested the reboot, the original show was a success in the countries where Cartoon Network had broadcasting rights to the show. Tom said “Kids assumed it was a Cartoon Network original, which it wasn’t. They came to us many years after the show had run its natural course and said, Let’s try something new. At first, Jennifer and I tried to age the show down a little. [The characters] were 16, so we said, we’ll make them 12 and maybe that will appeal to 6 to 9s as opposed to a tween audience. It didn’t work at all. And then one of us said, let’s age them from 16 down to 4 and put them in a daycare and have them behave incredibly badly. We were betting on the fact that kids wouldn’t be turned off. When you’re 7, 8, 9, do you want to see a preschool again? We banked on the fact that they would look back on that period and say, ‘When I was a kid, those things mattered, I can laugh at that now.’ The numbers are bearing that out. We had to go to a much sillier, ridiculous place. The writers’ room is ridiculous. It’s a sillier, crazier place than we’ve ever been before for that younger age group.”
View From The Top: Gazing Into The Future Of Kids Media
The vice president of content acquisitions & co-productions at Cartoon Network USA – Adina Pitt was one of the panelists at the “View From The Top: Gazing Into The Future Of Kids Media” panel yesterday afternoon (13th October). The panel was about the future of Kids Media, Adina Pitt talked about retooling existing franchises. During the panel, Adina mentioned that Cartoon Network is focused on building brands and franchises as she said “We’re focused on building brands and franchises, That’s not just about looking for new franchises and experimenting, but also staying true to brands. It’s an important lesson: Sometimes go back, retool or reimagine the IP you have”, she also said that franchises can be retooled citing Total DramaRama as an example.
How Well Do You Know Your Fans
Today (14th October) at MIPJunior was the “How Well Do You Know Your Fans” session presented by Ranja Mohyieldin – Director of Fan Engagement and Insights at Turner EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), during the session Ranja revealed statistics from an recent extensive survey on how kids (aged between 4 to 11) enjoy entertainment. A total of 9,000 kids were interviewed for the survey, all of them aged 4-11 and live in one of the following nine countries – the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
From the survey’s findings, the kids were categorised into seven different groups: Bookworms (12% of kids, rising to 20% in France: Kids who like to read books and comics, don’t watch much video content and social media activity is controlled), Playful Youngsters (20% of kids, around one third in Denmark: Kids who play games and toys and enjoy roleplay), Channel Flickers (13% of kids: spend more time on average watching linear TV, not really that interested in brands), Content Enthusiasts (14% of kids, watch content on linear TV, VOD and YouTube, also fans of many brands), Older Gamers (13% of kids, around 20% in Saudi Arabia: play games on game consoles and other devices, 42% of parents limit what type of games kids play), YouTube Fanatics (16% of kids, YouTube is the prime source of finding new entertainment for these kids, gender neutral and usually older) and Connected Multitaskers (12% of kids heavy users of social media, this can also include heavy usage of YouTube and also tend to play video games, also tend to be older).
According to the survey, only 20% of kids say they’re a fan of something for more than a year, watching content takes up on average a third of kids leisure time and watch TV is still an important source of entertainment for kids. Also, YouTube is place with a lot of opportunity as its a place where content is viewed and discovered and fandom is strengthened there. According to the survey, kids know on average 500 brands, 900 if they live in the UK, but 80% of kids are fans of only three or less brands.
Ranja also mentioned that not every fan is the same even if they have a lot of things in common and are in the same demographics, citing Prince Charles and Ozzy Osborne as examples, both were born in Britain in 1948, both are wealthy, married two times, have children, have holidays in the Alps and love dogs and cars, except one is the heir to the British crown and the other is a heavy metal vocalist/songwriter known as the “Prince of Darkness”.
Turner has started to carry out three-hour workshops to work out how the data can be used to help the company and its audiences, for example targeting the right show for the right group of kids.