Television

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CANNES: That they’ve come to Mip Junior looking for kids’ content doesn’t really mean they are clear about what they want to buy. Which is where the conference titled ‘What do buyers want’ stepped in and did some much-needed hand-holding.



Moderated by C21 Media editor-in-chief and managing director David Jankinson, with panellists including Nickelodeon senior VP, global acquisitions and international programming Jules Borkent; The Walt Disney Company SVP, programming, scheduling, multi platform and acquisitions Paul DeBenedittis; RTL Disney Fernsehen head of acquisition and co-productions Frank Dietz; and Cartoon Network VP content acquisitions and co-productions Adina Pitt, ‘What do buyers want’ concentrated on the proliferation of devices and platforms for kids’ entertainment.

DeBenedittis said: “We don’t really think of ourselves as just a linear TV screen. Today, content is a means to distribute the message about the Disney brand, no matter where the audiences are.”



Added Pitt: “The number of screens from where kids can consume our content has increased. So, the focus now is to provide the best possible content on the screens that are being used widely.”



With viewers today moving faster than channels, this was probably the best time for producers to be in the business of kids’ content, Pitt pointed out.



DeBenedittis spoke about how audiences are just a click away. “Considering the amount of content one can watch online, viewers have moved from the remote to just a click. Channels are competing with YouTube. But what is different about us is that we can tell a story,” he said.



Pitt spoke about how channels were concentrating more on comedy content for kids. “Kids come to us to laugh. So even if it is mystery or action or drama, our content always comes with a bit of humour and it works well with our core target audience. Ben 10 being the biggest example,” said Pitt.



Ditto for Nickelodeon. “We are looking at pure comedy. Kids want to laugh and that is what brings them to us,” said Borkent.



Pitt said their budgets were so tight they could not afford to buy anything that was less than extraordinary. Nickelodeon, which had launched an app earlier this year, was now creating content specifically for it, including some digital commissions, which according to Borkent, could be developed into a TV show.



Even channels like Cartoon Network were flipping through the internet to see if there was anything interesting to be converted into content. “There are numerous ideas in the internet, some brilliant. People just need someone to help them tell the story better. So we are always looking for something that is undiscovered,” revealed Pitt.



DeBenedittis cautioned against the tendency to develop any single platform in isolation. “Developing content for only one platform is not the most efficient way to leverage resources. It is about using the platform to distribute content as opposed to being very focused on a platform and developing content specifically for it,” DeBenedittis said.

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