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Kids programming trends discussed at MipCom Jr

CANNES: What are the trends that are going to hit kids television programming? That is one of the topics that was discussed a short while ago at Mipcom Junior’s second and final session ‘Brand Builders and Profit Drivers’ at the Hotel Martinez on Le Croisette in Cannes, France.

Various views emerged from the panelists which included Clipper Media managing director John Knox, Sesame Workshop senior vice-president global consumer products & international television distribution Marc Schneider, MTV Networks International vice-president & general manager Jean Phillippe Randisi, Hit Entertainment senior vice-president Europe Simon Forrest, and Alice4tv president Alice Donenfeld.

Donenfeld envisioned a future where thanks to digitalisation, greater nicheing is going to take place in the kids television segment. “We are going to see more and more channels coming up – age group specific even in the kids segment. I have got people asking about an infant channel, a preschool channel. The market is being chopped into smaller pieces, age specific,” she said.

Forrest said that he saw a whole new bunch of CGI based programming coming out of nowhere. “The quality is getting good. The feathers and fins and all other characters are becoming better. Costs are also falling. In the near future you will see good CG based animation costing under 5000 pounds a minute flooding television.”

Schnieder aired a view that revenues are going to be under pressure “with large retailers like Wal-mart going in for their own labels, we are going to have to find new ways of licensing and merchandising because these guys are going to reduce offtake of our products.”

Forrest whose company Hit Entertainment is behind Bob the Builder says that is worrisome. “93 per cent of Bob the Builder revenues have come from licensing and merchandising. Just seven per cent from the TV show. Bob the Builder has resulted in something like 1.15 billion dollars in retail sales. We have earned about $180-190 billion from the property in the past four-five years.”

John Knox said that what was worrying him was the obsession with creating programming for merchandising and for revenues. “It is all about creating good television. Produce excellent programming. I am seeing a lot of appalling kids programming properties being developed to make money. There is going to be a consumer backlash.”

Randisi said that he had no clue about the trends. “The only trend about kids programming is that we don’t know what it is going to be and what will work. Like it has always been.”

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