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

Perkins+Will To Design Turner EMEA’s New Headquarters In London

Perkins+Will To Design Turner EMEA's New Headquarters In London

Perkins+Will To Design New Turner EMEA’s New Headquarters In London

Turner EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) has signed up architecture and design company Perkins+Will to design the interior of its new headquarters at 160 Old Street in the Shoreditch district of London which will house Cartoon Network’s European headquarters but also other brands including CNN, Boomerang and TCM. The new headquarters will be located in London’s world-class creative and tech hub. The new HQ will be 100,000 sq.ft in size and will be sufficient room for Turner’s future growth plans and provide more than enough workspace for the company’s staff.

Alongside its linear television channel business, the company is expanding more into digital services including its Digital Ventures & Innovation division. The new HQ will also have a new purpose-built CNN studio and newsroom. Turner’s sister company – HBO (Home Box Office) along with other staff in the Time Warner group will be moving their London-based staff to the new Turner HQ. Staff will start moving to the new HQ in Autumn 2019.

Kate Vine, Principal at Perkins+Will’s London Studio, said: “Turner is undergoing an exciting period of change, and asked us to design a vibrant, high-tech work space that meets the needs of a modern workforce. Our experience delivering award-winning corporate interior designs and personal service means we’re perfectly placed to create the ideal working environment for Turner’s UK based operation”

Sarah Lodge, the Director of Facilities at Turner EMEA, said: “We are investing in a space that offers a better working environment for us and for the business as a whole. The move will place us in the heart of one of London’s most dynamic areas. We look forward to being part of one of London’s most vibrant tech hubs, home to a diverse mix of start-ups, digital agencies and major media brands and well served with transport links and amenities.”

http://www.architectsdatafile.co.uk/news/perkinswill-to-design-vibrant-new-uk-headquarters-in-the-heart-of-londons-tech-hub-for-global-media-company-turner/

Note: The article I’ve written on the link below had the wrong date for when Turner will start moving into the HQ, it previously said “Autumn 2018”, it has been changed to “Autumn 2019”, the first source I used for the blog post was from Broadband TV News who’ve got the year wrong, but is correct in the official press release below my post, of which I found later.

https://www.regularcapital.com/2017/12/turner-europe-middle-east-and-africas-new-headquarters-from-january-2019/

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/