Cartoon Network UK’s 25th Anniversary: A Brief History Of The Channel

Cartoon Network UK's 25th Anniversary: A Brief History Of The Channel
An article from the UK’s Daily Express (30th August 1993) about the then soon to be launched Cartoon Network Europe. (Click To View The Full Image)

Cartoon Network UK’s 25th Anniversary: A Brief History Of The Channel

Tomorrow (17th September), 25 years ago, Cartoon Network Europe commenced broadcasting, it became Europe’s first television channel dedicated to animation, the channel launched only 11 and a half months after its U.S. counterpart and just like the original U.S. version, it aired cartoons from Hanna-Barbera’s animation library, which includes all time classics such as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo!, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and many more, plus the Tom and Jerry shorts from MGM.

Cartoon Network Europe’s oldest (publicly known) schedule that can be found on the internet (including TCM’s first night and CN’s first 24-hour schedule) can be found on the link below:

https://www.toonzone.net/forums/threads/old-international-cartoon-networks-schedules.5253261/page-3

Cartoon Network Europe was the first version of the channel based outside the United States, a Latin American version did launch in April 1993, although that version was based at Turner’s HQ in Atlanta and to an extent, it’s still based there today. Cartoon Network USA had somewhat of a slow start, initially not every cable service carried the channel (it was available for those with a satellite dish), this wasn’t really Turner’s fault, it was just the reluctance of cable companies making long-term contracts. But when Cartoon Network launched in Europe, it took a different approach, the channel launched as a free-to-air channel available to all cable providers around the UK and Europe and anyone with a satellite dish pointing at Astra’s European satellite service. The first general manager of Cartoon Network Europe was Sue Kroll (now the Head of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution at Warner Bros.).

At launch, Cartoon Network Europe broadcasted between 5am and 7pm, it launched alongside and timeshared with another new channel from Turner – TNT Classic Movies, this was the precursor of TCM (Turner Classic Movies), which launched in the U.S. the following year. At launch, Cartoon Network already had rivals in the UK multichannel market, its biggest U.S. rival – Nickelodeon made it to UK shores 16 days earlier, Nickelodeon had the support of British satellite TV provider – Sky who still owns a stake in the channel today, Nickelodeon was already quite established in the U.S. and already had some original content, however, Nickelodeon had a slower but more localised approach to Cartoon Network and didn’t expand into other parts of Europe until later in the 1990’s, also Nickelodeon required a subscription to Sky’s newly launched Multichannels package.

CN’s other rival was UK-based TCC (The Children’s Channel) which was also available in the Benelux and Nordic parts of Europe and in France, it faced competition against children’s channel Canal J. It seems it was no co-incidence that Cartoon Network launched with a partial soundtrack service in French, Norwegian and Swedish, also a localised version of CN launched in the Netherlands four years later. Even though, CN was available in Europe, although it had quite a heavy UK focus as all shows were in English and mostly had UK focused advertising. In December 1996, Cartoon Network Europe became a 24-hour service, however most cable operators (as well as Sky’s analogue satellite service) continued carrying the Cartoon Network/TNT timeshare service.

Immediately after the channel’s initial launch, CN Europe was met with controversy on Continental Europe as the governments of France and Belgium prohibited cable companies from carrying Cartoon Network, as it was seen as an “invasion of American culture”, the ban was lifted. Turner’s news channel – CNN International has been broadcasting from London since 1985, so Turner already had an established base in the UK. On 26th November 1993, Cartoon Network Europe took part in “The Great International Toon-In”, where Cartoon Network USA and all six Turner-owned entertainment networks in the United States (that existed at the time), Cartoon Network Latin America and Cartoon Network Europe shared a marathon schedule presented by 3D-CGI character Moxy the Dog.

After a successful launch in Europe, Cartoon Network launched in the Asia-Pacific region the following year, which means, after two years, the channel already had near global coverage. The next stage in Cartoon Network’s journey will be one that will change the course of the channel forever. Over in the United States, the now Turner-owned Hanna-Barbera animation studio set up a new studio brand – Cartoon Network Studios and started to experiment with new ideas for the channel in a brand new animation shorts programme called “World Premiere Cartoons” (later became “What A Cartoon”), What A Cartoon spawned Cartoon Network’s original Cartoon Cartoons such as Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Cow and Chicken, Mike, Lu and Og, Courage the Cowardly Dog and Johnny Bravo. As years went by, Cartoon Network started to become less dependent on its classic animation archive and started to focus on more original programming, also the merger with Time Warner in the mid-1990’s further supplemented the channel with animated productions from Warner Bros. Animation, this included Tiny Toon Adventures, Batman: The Animated Series, The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, Taz-Mania, Animaniacs and the all-important post-1948 Looney Tunes shorts.

By the late 90’s, countries and regions started to have their own versions of Cartoon Network, where as the UK version (i.e. the original pan-European version) still functioned as the pan-European version of the channel up until 15th October 1999, a separate pan-European version was launched that summer which copied CN UK’s schedule (with some shows excluded and replaced), however after a couple of years, things started to differ. Also as a whole, Cartoon Network Europe started to diverge from its American counterpart in terms of presentation, by using an altered version of CN USA’s Powerhouse rebrand. All the movies from TNT were moved to a new channel – a UK version of TCM, TNT became a short-lived UK and analogue only entertainment channel.

In May 2000, Cartoon Network UK welcomed in the new millennium with a new channel that celebrates animation from the past – Boomerang (which originated from a programming block from the channel’s early days), this means Cartoon Network’s schedule was now freed up for more original shows, Cartoon Network Europe also started to make its own co-productions by partnering with European studios with new shows such as The Cramp Twins and Fat Dog Mendoza. In later years, came Robotboy, Spaced Out, Skatoony and Chop Socky Chooks. Cartoon Network UK started to air Japanese anime starting off with Dragon Ball Z, the popularity of Dragon Ball Z led to the establishment of the Toonami programming block, which led to a new channel called CNX in 2002 which targeted teenagers and young adults and featured productions from Adult Swim, action movies and Japanese anime. Less than a year later, the CNX channel was rebranded as Toonami and became more child friendly. Toonami started to move away from the action animation format and started airing live-action sitcoms, after this change, it closed a year later. In 2006, a companion channel – Cartoon Network Too launched, the channel acted as a overflow to the main CN channel and later focused on action animation, the channel also had a pre-school programming block called Cartoonito which later spawned the Cartoonito pre-school channel which launched in 2007. In 2014, Cartoon Network Too closed and Cartoon Network UK’s one-hour timeshift service – Cartoon Network +1 was reinstated.

The 2000’s decade saw an explosion of brand new animation from Cartoon Network Studios with Sheep in the Big City, Time Squad, Samurai Jack, Grim & Evil (later became The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy), Whatever Happened to Robot Jones? and Codename: Kids Next Door. In 2002, Cartoon Network introduced a brand new look called “Casillas” (Spanish for Boxes) as it was developed by design studio – Ink Apache, the rebrand was very creative and made use of existing archive footage of Cartoon Network’s animated shows.

In 2005, Cartoon Network UK (and the rest of Europe) introduced Cartoon Network USA’s “CN City” graphics package on its channel, CN City featured all of Cartoon Network’s cartoon characters living together in one city making it effectively one big crossover. The CN City era remains one of the most memorable eras on Cartoon Network and saw the launch of Foster’s Home of Imaginary Friends, Camp Lazlo, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi and Cartoon Network’s most successful action-animation franchise – Ben 10. After CN City era, Cartoon Network UK introduced another rebrand featuring an arrow that heavily featured the logo, this era featured bumpers animated by British animation studio – Pesky. The second stage of the Arrow Era featured CGI bumpers developed by design studio – Stardust. During this time, Chowder and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack were airing on the channel.

In 2010, Cartoon Network UK introduced a fresh new graphics package known as “Check It” that helped reboot the channel for the new animation renaissance of the 2010’s, Check It is considered to be a modern adaptation of Cartoon Network’s original Checkerboard graphics package. This era saw the successful Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Cartoon Network Development Studios Europe first ever show – The Amazing World of Gumball, which had its world premiere on Cartoon Network UK in 2011. A high-definition version of Cartoon Network – Cartoon Network UK HD also launched in 2011. Uncle Grandpa, Clarence, Teen Titans Go! and Steven Universe later followed with another iteration of “Check It” – Check It 3.0. Before the end of Check It 3.0. The Powerpuff Girls reboot was introduced in 2016, followed by Ben 10 later that year. In 2016, there was a short-lived Check It 4.0. rebrand that only lasted a year. In 2017, the Dimensional graphics package was introduced, which is Cartoon Network UK’s current era, during this era, OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, Ben 10: Challenge, The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe, Unikitty! and Apple and Onion premiered, and next month, the channel will premiere Craig of the Creek. Coming soon in the near future another CN Studios Europe production will premiere – Elliott From Earth.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/media-american-invaders-are-targeting-your-kids-childrens-rights-and-non-stop-cartoons-will-do-1487639.html

https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=229iAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3nYNAAAAIBAJ&pg=1307,57411&dq=cartoon+network&hl=en

https://web.archive.org/web/20010826133132/http://www.cartoonnetwork.co.uk/news/frame_findex_exclude.html

https://web.archive.org/web/20080928103809/http://europe.turnerinfo.com:80/CN/UK/timeline/index.jsp

https://www.cartoonnetwork.co.uk

Time Warner Rebrands As WarnerMedia Following AT&T Merger

Warner Media Logo

Time Warner Rebrands As WarnerMedia Following AT&T Merger

Yesterday (15th June) and within hours of AT&T formally merging with Time Warner, AT&T’s newly acquired ex-Time Warner media business unit as renamed itself as “WarnerMedia”, ending the use of the “Time Warner” corporate brand which was originally introduced in 1990 and has been used in various forms since. The new logo has a simple design with a sans-serif font with back and white background variants. The use of the Time Warner brand in recent years has been rather confusing, this is why a new name was needed, especially when Time Warner Cable was spun-off in 2009 (now part of Charter Communications as of 2016) leaving two separate companies with the same name. Also Time Warner spun-off its publishing division – Time Inc. in 2013, so the company had no reason to use The “Time” name either. It’s likely that the company didn’t want to rebrand as the company was up for sale and a buyer would likely change the name anyway.

Following the $85 billion merger, the CEO of AT&T – Randall Stephenson has promised to make sure that WarnerMedia and its sub-divisions (Warner Bros, HBO and Turner) will continue to have the same level of creative freedom as if it was still an independent company, the reason being is that AT&T’s core business is communications and not media, they would rather allow existing management who know the media industry to continue to work for WarnerMedia. AT&T has also promised to invest $21 billion into the WarnerMedia business to help it compete against fast-growing new-media rivals – Netflix and Amazon.

In a statement about WarnerMedia’s continued creative independence, Randall Stephenson said: “We’re big fans of your talent and creativity. And you have my word that you will continue to have the creative freedom and resources to keep doing what you do best.”

The division of WarnerMedia that owns Cartoon Network, Boomerang and other associated brands – Turner has already seen a major management change, the CEO of Turner – John Martin is stepping down, it’s not known on how much of an impact that AT&T’s acquisition will have on Turner, but they said, very little will change, although people are concerned over job redundancies because of cost efficiency reasons and there will be some redundancies at the corporate functions level. Turner President – David Levy, Turner International President – Gerhard Zeiler and CNN Worldwide President – Jeff Zucker will be running the company at least in the interim following John Martin’s departure. All three will report to WarnerMedia’s new CEO – John Stankey, who himself also replaces ex-Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.

The Time Warner website has been updated to include the new WarnerMedia logo, as of yet, nothing much has changed.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/t-ceo-says-ready-invest-keep-culture-time-162401452–finance.html

https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/att-time-warner-warnermedia-turner-chief-john-martin-1202848405/

http://money.cnn.com/2018/06/15/media/warnermedia-john-stankey-announcements/index.html

https://nypost.com/2018/06/15/time-warner-will-be-renamed-warner-media-turner-ceo-exits/

AT&T Completes Merger With Cartoon Network’s Ultimate Parent Company Time Warner

AT&T Completes Merger With Cartoon Network's Ultimate Parent Company Time Warner

AT&T Completes Acquisition Of Cartoon Network’s Ultimate Parent Company Time Warner

Late last night (14th June), AT&T (name originated from American Telephone & Telegraph Company) has completed its merger with Cartoon Network’s ultimate parent company (via Turner) – Time Warner. Under the terms of the merger, AT&T issued 1.185 million shares of common stock and paid $42.5 billion in cash, Time Warner shareholders received 1.437 shares of AT&T common stock, in addition to $53.75 in cash for each Time Warner share. The proposed merger was announced in October 2016, but the merger wasn’t approved until Tuesday this week (12th June) after it was given the greenlight by U.S. senior judge – Richard J. Leon.

AT&T can trace its history all the way back to the Bell Telephone Company, a company founded by the inventor of the telephone, Scottish-Canadian Alexander Graham Bell in 1875, the company grew to become one of the largest landline, mobile telephone and broadband internet service companies in the United States. AT&T has a complex history, with mergers, demergers and remergers, even AT&T spinoff SBC took over original AT&T and re-branded their whole company as AT&T. AT&T has merged with Time Warner because of its television and movie content, they purchased the largest satellite television provider in the United States – DirecTV in 2015 and they wanted a large content division to run alongside its pay-TV and mobile and landline telecommunication divisions. With access to its own movie and TV studios and media library, AT&T can give its own customers free content or at a reduced rate, which is an incentive strategy to retain and gain more customers.

The merger can be seen as an necessity for Time Warner to ensure its survival against cord-cutting (people who unsubscribe from cable and opt for streaming services) which is one of the biggest threats in the media industry, AT&T now has an advantage as it offers the infrastructure (mostly within the United States and some internet backbones worldwide) for people to use these streaming services and even owns a few of these streaming services (including DirecTV Now) and content of its own of which it can bundle with broadband and mobile packages.

With the merger, AT&T now owns one of the largest media companies in the world which includes Warner Bros. (Movies, TV Shows and Animation), Turner (U.S. and international cable television broadcaster and production company, known for its live-action, animated and news programming) and also HBO (Home Box Office), known for producing some of the highest quality entertainment on television. Turner and AT&T have some things in common, for example, digital streaming services, Turner has the classic movie streaming service – FilmStruck and also the classic cartoon streaming service – Boomerang (co-owned with Warner Bros.), meanwhile AT&T owns 50% Otter Media who run Japanese anime streaming service – Crunchyroll and the multiple entertainment brand streaming service platform – VRV.

At present, there won’t be any changes at Time Warner (including Cartoon Network’s Turner) except that Time Warner CEO – Jeff Bewkes will be stepping down, with John Stankey now in-charge of what was Time Warner. Jeff Bewkes will continue to serve as a senior business advisor at AT&T for at least the time being. AT&T and Time Warner are two very different businesses, this can be seen as a vertical merger, unlike the proposed horizontal merger with rivals – Disney and 21st Century Fox.

AT&T is yet to give a new name to its new media division, but Time Warner’s Twitter account suggests that its called “Warner Media Group”.

https://twitter.com/WarnerMediaGrp

From The AT&T Press Release: AT&T Completes Acquisition of Time Warner Inc

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has completed its acquisition of Time Warner Inc., bringing together global media and entertainment leaders Warner Bros., HBO and Turner with AT&T’s leadership in technology and its video, mobile and broadband customer relationships.

“The content and creative talent at Warner Bros., HBO and Turner are first-rate. Combine all that with AT&T’s strengths in direct-to-consumer distribution, and we offer customers a differentiated, high-quality, mobile-first entertainment experience,” said Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc. “We’re going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers.”

Stephenson said the future of media entertainment is rapidly converging around three elements required to transform how video is distributed, paid for, consumed and created. Today, AT&T brings together:

Premium Content: Broadly distributed, robust premium content portfolio that combines leading movies and shows from Warner Bros., HBO and Turner, along with more targeted digital content from Bleacher Report, FilmStruck and AT&T’s investment in Otter Media, among others.

Direct to Consumer Distribution (D2C): AT&T has more than 170 million D2C relationships across its TV, video streaming, mobile and broadband services in the U.S., mobile in Mexico, TV in Latin America, in addition to D2C digital properties such as HBO NOW, Boomerang, FilmStruck and CNN.com.

High-Speed Networks: AT&T‘s leading wireless and fiber network, including investments in new technology such as 5G, will provide the network bandwidth required as customers increase engagement with premium video and emerging 4K and virtual reality content.

Company Structure, Executive Leadership

AT&T Inc. consists of four businesses. This structure allows each business to operate independently and move quickly, while at the same time innovating across AT&T with content, connectivity and advertising. The four business are:

AT&T Communications provides mobile, broadband, video and other communications services to U.S.-based consumers and nearly 3.5 million companies – from the smallest business to nearly all the Fortune 1000 – with highly secure, smart solutions. Revenues from these services totaled more than $150 billion in 2017.

AT&T’s media business consists of HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. Together, these businesses had revenues of more than $31 billion in 2017. A new name for this business will be announced later.
AT&T International provides mobile services in Mexico to consumers and businesses, plus pay-TV service across 11 countries in South America and the Caribbean. It had revenues of more than $8 billion in 2017.

AT&T’s advertising and analytics business provides marketers with advanced advertising solutions using valuable customer insights from AT&T’s TV, mobile and broadband services, combined with extensive ad inventory from Turner and AT&T’s pay-TV services. A name for this company will be announced in the future.

Jeff Bewkes, former chairman and CEO of Time Warner Inc., has agreed to remain with the company as a senior advisor during a transition period. “Jeff is an outstanding leader and one of the most accomplished CEOs around. He and his team have built a global leader in media and entertainment. And I greatly appreciate his continued counsel,” Stephenson said.

As previously announced, leading the four businesses and reporting to Stephenson will be:

John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications;
John Stankey, CEO of AT&T’s media business;
Lori Lee, CEO of AT&T International and Global Marketing Officer of AT&T Inc.; and,
Brian Lesser, CEO of AT&T’s ad and analytics business.

All of Jeff Bewkes’ direct reports will now report to John Stankey.

Acquisition Financial Details

Under the terms of the merger, Time Warner Inc. shareholders received 1.437 shares of AT&T common stock, in addition to $53.75 in cash, per share of Time Warner Inc. As a result, AT&T issued 1,185M shares of common stock and paid $42.5B in cash. Including net debt from Time Warner, we now have $180.4B in net debt.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a diversified, global leader in telecommunications, media and entertainment, and technology. It consists of four businesses. AT&T’s media business, with its HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. divisions, is a world leader in creating premium content, operates one of the largest TV and film studio, and owns a vast library of entertainment. AT&T Communications has relationships with more than 100 million U.S. consumers across TV, mobile and broadband services. Plus, it serves nearly 3.5 million business customers with high-speed, highly secure connectivity and smart solutions. AT&T International provides pay-TV services across 11 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, and is the fastest growing wireless provider in Mexico, serving consumers and businesses. AT&T ad and analytics provides marketers with innovative, targeted, data-driven advertising solutions around premium video content.

http://about.att.com/story/att_completes_acquisition_of_time_warner_inc.html