Edutainment Company Bright Little Labs Makes Deal With Turner International For Equity Investment

Edutainment Company Bright Little Labs Makes Deal With Turner International For Equity Investment

Edutainment Company Bright Little Labs Makes Deal With Turner International For Equity Investment

Today (7th June), Turner International’s Digital Ventures and Innovation division has announced they have made an equity investment in Bright Little Labs (BLL), a UK based company that specialises, creates and distributes edutainment (educational entertainment) content for kids. The extra funding from Turner in exchange for equity will help with Bright Little Labs’ international expansion as well as the creation and distribution of new educational content, this includes topics covering critical thinking, computer science and computer coding.

The equity deal is also Turner’s Digital Ventures & Innovations’s first investment into the edutainment sector. The education material is also inline with the UK’s national curriculum for coding and is supported by the British Government’s Cabinet Office. BLL uses a cartoon character called Detective Dot to teach kids about coding. The character – Detective Dot is a tech-whizz who is on a dangerous mission from the Children’s Intelligence Agency (CIA). BLL is also a recipient of a EDF Stem Pulse Award (awarded in 2017) and was named ‘Top Coding Toy for Kids’ by UK national newspaper – The Independent in 2017 and by London’s Evening Standard newspaper in 2018.

As part of the agreement, BLL will be able to make use of Turner’s animation, licensing and merchandising portfolio, which includes animated properties from Cartoon Network, and it will also be possible to form collaborations with Turner’s kids channels which include Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing, Toonami and Cartoonito.

From The Turner International Press Release: Turner International and Bright Little Labs Sign Strategic Equity Investment

– Investment marks Digital Ventures & Innovation group’s first entry into the edutainment space.

– Turner provides funding and kids creative expertise to power Bright Little Labs’ international growth as innovator in the kids coding and life skills space.

Turner International’s Digital Ventures & Innovation (DV&I) group today announces an equity investment in Bright Little Labs (BLL), a UK-based early stage company which creates and distributes edutainment content for kids.

The funding will be used to fuel Bright Little Labs’ international expansion in terms of both creative development and distribution.

The investment will enhance BLL’s current offering by leveraging Turner’s expertise in the kids’ space to develop quality IP which delivers on Bright Little Labs’ vision to engage, entertain and educate kids about critical thinking, computer science and coding.

Bright Little Labs’ existing edutainment IP centres around Detective Dot from the Children’s Intelligence Agency, a hi-tech spy agency which incorporates the official UK coding curriculum and allows kids to learn in a fun and engaging way.

The agreement will also lay the foundation for further leverage across Turner’s wider animation and licensing and merchandising portfolio.

The investment means that Turner becomes Bright Little Labs’ main strategic investor and signals its commitment to developing a presence in edutainment. Christopher Sodergren VP Digital Ventures, DV&I for Turner will take a seat on Bright Little Labs’ board of directors.

“Partnering with relevant start-ups is a core part of our strategy to compete and lead in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape,” said Aksel van der Wal, Executive Vice President, Digital Ventures & Innovation for Turner. “We saw in Bright Little Labs the opportunity to expand a great concept into an international multiplatform D2C offering, in a way that fully embraces and utilises our expertise in kids, speaks to our desire to create new fan-centric experiences and aligns us with a like-minded partner. It also serves as a great platform for our ambitions to do more in the kids D2C space.”

Sophie Deen, CEO, Bright Little Labs, said: “We’re beyond excited to be partnering with Turner in the next phase of our journey. In a world of post-truth, job-automation and internet enabled teddy bears that could be snooping on you, digital literacy and critical thinking are key. It’s imperative that all children, regardless of their background, have access to these 21st century skills and we’ve seen first-hand that a hi-tech spy agency with empowering role models like Detective Dot is a great way to achieve this. We’re working to scale our transmedia platform, reaching kids wherever they are, so we can deliver rich, personalised experiences directly to our users. Not only does Turner share our vision, working with Turner means we can leverage their expertise in creating the very best kids content and reach new audiences globally.”

Patricia Hidalgo, Chief Content Officer EMEA & International Kids Strategy for Turner, said: “Turner shares with Bright Little Labs a passion for engaging kids in a way which is original and immersive. We see multiple opportunities to leverage our kids’ expertise to further develop BLL’s existing business and engage kids in a way that while putting entertainment first also equips them for the skills they need for today’s 21st century world.”

Turner’s kids’ portfolio includes the Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing, Toonami and Cartoonito channels, websites and YouTube channels as well as extensive content production and licensing and merchandising operations.

The investment in BLL follows DV&I’s stake in Copa90 in February 2017. DV&I has also launched gaming service Gloud and movie streaming service FilmStruck internationally since forming just under 18 months ago to focus on D2C opportunities executed through innovation, in-house development or acquisition.

About Digital Ventures & Innovation

Digital Ventures & Innovation (DV&I), is part of Turner International. Turner International operates versions of Turner brands including CNN, TNT and Cartoon Network across the world, whilst also focusing on digital-only brands. DV&I drives innovation, develops new revenue streams and is responsible for managing and growing Turner’s existing multi-platform suite of international products and services on the web, for smart phones, games, apps and OTT. It is responsible for Turner International’s Data strategy and it develops new digital direct-to-consumer businesses and consumer-centric products. These include the recent UK launch of FilmStruck, a new premium movie streaming service expertly curated by film lovers for film lovers, and GLOUD, a cloud-based gaming service available in Latin America. The group is also charged with identifying new opportunities for Turner through technological product innovation and acquisitions. Technology and operations (T&O) for Turner International is also part of DV&I.

About Bright Little Labs

Bright Little Labs is building a kids media giant for the 21st century. They make interactive stories to promote critical thinking, computer science and equality for kids aged 5+. Their flagship story is about Detective Dot, a tech-whizz who is on a dangerous mission from the Children’s Intelligence Agency (CIA). The company provides a lo-fi and accessible route into coding, with kids joining the CIA to complete STEM-focused ‘missions’ on and offline which complement the UK Computing Curriculum. Starting on Kickstarter in 2016, Bright Little Labs was part of the Cabinet Office backed, tech-for-good accelerator Bethnal Green Ventures. They now have users in over 30 countries and are widely recognised for their story-led approach to 21st Century skills (recipient of EDF Stem Pulse Award 2017, named ‘Top Coding Toy for Kids’ by The Independent in 2017 and the Evening Standard in 2018). Their founder and CEO, Sophie Deen, is an active advocate for diversity in kids’ media and in the tech industry. She has been named one of Computer Weekly’s ‘Most influential women in UK IT’ 2017, Barclays/Everywoman ‘Startup Founder of the Year’ 2017, the British Interactive Media Association’s ‘Innovator’ in 2017 and London Tech Week ‘Changemaker’ in 2018 for her work to inspire children into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

http://www.turner.com/pressroom/turner-international-and-bright-little-labs-sign-strategic-equity-investment

Jaime Ondarza Assumes Role As General Manager Of Turner France and Africa, Guillaume Coffin Promoted, Julien Borde Hired As Director Of Channels

Jaime Ondarza Assumes Role As General Manager Of Turner France and Africa, Guillaume Coffin Promoted, Julien Borde Hired As Director Of Channels

Jaime Ondarza Assumes Role As General Manager Of Turner France and Africa, Guillaume Coffin Promoted, Julien Borde Hired As Director Of Channels

Today (30/01/2018), Turner EMEA has announced that Jaime Ondarza, the Senior Vice President of Turner Southern Europe and Africa will keep the responsibility of General Manager for Turner’s operations in France and Africa. He will stay on to oversee all of Turner’s operations in France and other French speaking countries, sub-Saharan Africa and Israel, he has already been in the role temporarily since Pierre Branco left last June to manage Turner UK and Northern Europe. Turner’s HQ for the French and African market is based in Neuilly-Sur-Seine outside of central Paris.

In addition, Guillaume Coffin has been promoted to Vice President of Sales and Business Development and will be responsible for the company’s commercial activities in France, French-speaking territories, Africa and Israel (which includes channel distribution, advertising, programme sales and digital revenues).

Julien Borde, Director of Digital Programming at France Télévisions, has been hired in a newly created position – Director of Channels. In this new role, he will be responsible for all editorial activities of Turner’s children and cinema/series brands (includes Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing, Toonami, TCM and Warner TV) including programming and marketing in the French and African region.

http://www.cbnews.fr/mouvements/turner-met-en-place-une-nouvelle-organisation-regionale-a1040223

http://www.lefilmfrancais.com/television/135611/julien-borde-rejoint-turner

Pierre Branco Appointed As New Turner Northern Europe Manager

Pierre Branco Appointed As New Turner Northern Europe Manager

Pierre Branco Appointed As New Turner Northern Europe Manager

Today (28/06/2017), Turner Broadcasting System Europe has appointed Pierre Branco as the new SVP (Senior Vice President) of Turner Northern Europe (UK and Ireland, Nordics and Baltics), he replaces Ian McDonough who announced his resignation in April this year. Mr Branco is a long serving Turner EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) employee and has worked for the company since 2006, in his last role, he was the general manager for Turner’s channels in France, Portugal, Africa and Israel.

In his new role, Mr Branco will move from his old regional base in Paris to Turner EMEA’s headquarters in London, where he will report to Turner EMEA president, Giorgio Stock. Mr Branco will be working with the Turner Northern Europe team leaders including the head of UK Kids channels – Sean Gorman (manager of Cartoon Network UK, Boomerang UK and Cartoonito UK) and the general manager of Turner in Scandinavia – Bo Falk Østergaard as well as their respective teams.

During his time as general manager of Turner France, Portugal and Africa, he has introduced Turner’s action-animation channel brand – Toonami to France and Africa and launched variety animation channel Boing in Africa, he also oversaw a 12-channel children’s, news, movie and general entertainment portfolio in three different languages (French, Portuguese and English), including editorial and creative strategy, programming and acquisitions, marketing, production and digital functions.

Mr Branco’s wealth of experience while building the French, Portuguese and African part of the business can be used to develop and maintain the reputation of the Northern Europe part of the company, especially as Cartoon Network is currently the number one channel for boys in the UK and Denmark*. Meanwhile in France, Portugal and Africa, the SVP of Turner Southern Europe and Africa – Jaime Ondarza will be advising local teams until a replacement is found.

From the Turner EMEA Press Release: Turner EMEA Appoints Pierre Branco to lead its Northern European business

Turner EMEA today announced a significant internal promotion with the appointment of Pierre Branco to the role of SVP Northern Europe. Branco, who takes up the role with immediate effect from his present position as Turner’s GM for France, Portugal, Africa and Israel, will lead Turner’s business across the UK, Nordics and Baltics at a period of particularly fast paced change for the company. He will move to London from Paris in the coming months and will report directly to Turner EMEA President, Giorgio Stock, and joins his executive team.

Overseeing a senior management team who themselves bring a wealth of experience within the Northern European markets, Branco, a more than ten year Turner veteran behind some of the company’s fastest growing EMEA markets, will be responsible for leading the growth and development of Turner’s operations in the region. This includes its kids and general entertainment portfolio of Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonito, TCM and TNT brands, as well as the distribution of CNNI. He will be charged with identifying new areas for driving revenues and profits, overseeing P&L and ensuring consistency and strategy for the region, all through the lens of delivering branded experiences that drive fan engagement across the linear and non linear ecosystem.

Stock says: “At a time when we are developing ambitious new initiatives in the Northern Europe region alongside a relentless focus on our core channels business, this is a particularly important appointment and amongst a high calibre of candidates Pierre stood out for his exceptional track record in building our brands and driving growth. His combination of industry knowledge, a deep commitment to leveraging the digital trends shaping our business and a passion for putting our fans at the centre of everything we do, will bring vision and momentum to the Northern Europe business to take it to the next level.”

Branco’s transition to the Northern Europe remit follows a transformative approach to his current role where he has overseen mould breaking commercial deals, the introduction of new brands to the marketplace and reinvigorated businesses in highly differentiated markets such as France and Africa, both of which have enjoyed their best commercial and ratings performances to date under his leadership.

Branco has been with Turner since 2006, most recently as Vice President and General Manager, France, Portugal, Africa and Israel, overseeing a 12-channel portfolio in three different languages, including editorial and creative strategy, programming and acquisitions, marketing, production and digital functions.

Added Stock, “It’s particularly rewarding, and proof of the calibre of talent we have at Turner, to promote from within the company, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to create and curate great content that really resonates with our audiences, wherever and whenever they are engaging with us.”

The appointment comes at a time when the strength of Turner’s Northern Europe brand portfolio includes Cartoon Network maintaining its #1 position for boys in the UK and Denmark*, long term established platform partnerships and significant growth in digital engagement across the region.

*Source: BARB, boys 4-15 in the UK and Kantar Gallup DK/Kantar TNS NO/MMS SE, boys 4-9 in Denmark

https://www.turner.com/pressroom/turner-emea-appoints-pierre-branco-lead-its-northern-european-business

http://tbivision.com/news/2017/06/turner-names-mcdonough-replacement-europe/768141/

http://www.c21media.net/turner-hands-branco-european-role/