2014 Conference Summaries

The Distribution of Animated Series Confronted with New Markets | La distribution des séries animées face aux nouveaux marchés  ©

The Distribution of Animated Series Confronted with New Markets

  1. Speakers
  2. Moderator
  3. Summary
  4. Question


At present, 93% of French children have a computer in their homes, 75% of American children ages 2 to 10 have a smartphone (versus 54% in 2011), and in Norway 26% of 3 to 11 year-olds own a digital tablet. The digital revolution is turning the tables on the strategies of distributors who are waging permanent battle for airing rights. The Médiamétrie viewer-rating agency presents us with the figures from its annual study, while additional speakers discuss the distribution strategy for their contents on today’s markets.



Key words

Médiamétrie, audience, distribution, Rovio, Angry Birds, E1, content strategy, children’s TV channels, PGS Entertainment, ToonsTV 


Johanna Karsenty is research director at Médiamétrie/Eurodata TV Worldwide. She assesses that, on average, North American children consume 3hrs 33 min. of TV per day compared to 2hrs 14 min. for Europeans (3hrs 55 min. for the Portuguese; 2hrs 9 min. for the French) and 1hr 51 min. for Australian children.
Television continues to progress. In Spain the market share of Boing, the kids’ TV channel launched in 2010, has doubled in two years. Disney Channel in Portugal and CBeebies, an English BBC channel, have also undergone a strong upward trend. "The local channels have their own markets. Stories about dragons and British series tend to voyage well (Peppa Pig), but that is all influenced by cultural habits and parental supervision," she notes.
Apparently, it would appear that a young American, 2 to 11, spends an average of 24 hours 16 minutes in front of TV each week, and 2 hours 21 minutes on the Internet. Children love television even if it has been profoundly shaken up by the digital world.
As such, Sheriff Callie's Wild West is the most popular series on watchdisneyjunior.com with 23 million views, whereas in France Tahiti Quest has exceeded the 120,000 viewer mark on Gulli, and 1.5 million views on the net.

For the co-founder of PGS HK Limited, Guillaume Soutter, there is no preferred format. It’s the quality of a programme which accounts for its success, whether in long or short format.
His company is specialised in children’s programming and represents the international Hong Kong distributor PGS Entertainment: "Producers can contact us at any time. We can help them with pre-buys and handle the financing for international broadcasts. When we invest, we check whether the licence and the advertising have already been purchased. Next we study the territory, the gap to be financed, and the native potential of the project. Some markets are more difficult, such as Japan or South Korea where there are already many producers on hand. China has set up its own quotas: 80% of CCTV programmes are required to be Chinese or co-productions. A stranglehold has been placed on the Middle East market by NBC, which does much commercial work even if Al Jazeera strongly backs programmes for children. Africa remains a real challenge, and the United States is a nightmare market, due to the thousands of pre-existing platforms."

Olivier Dumont, director of E1, explains to us that 90% of revenue comes from licencing and merchandising, such as for Hello Kitty, which is uniquely a visual brand. "We’re very strategic concerning our contents. We don’t do in-house development; we often pair up with producers. To succeed, one must first buy the best channel in each country, something Disney and Nickelodeon do not do. We’re looking for holistic rights, not simply TV rights," he confides.

Nick Dorra is based in Finland. He is in charge of content strategy for his company, Rovio, famed for its Angry Birds property.
"Animation, games, merchandising – everything boils down to storytelling. Animation is part of Rovio’s DNA, since emotions are embedded in the make-up of all good visual animation."
In his opinion, the success of Angry Birds is due to the strategy established before the game took off. Twelve people knew what tasks needed to be accomplished if Angry Birds were to exceed one million views.
At the very start of Angry Birds, Rovio had developed the video production, with a budget of 100,000 euros for 2 minutes of animation. Next, they purchased a Helsinki studio and hired 50 employees, rapidly expanding to a 100-person headcount. "After the promotional short films, 52 three-minute episodes were finalised in March 2013. We wanted our own distribution channel for our games. Our bases consisted of our early fans; next we contacted the broadcasters. 25 TV partners wished to come on board. We then published ToonsTV on the net. This is an adaptation of the user experience which we had on our application. After six months, we’d broken the million-viewer record for the app, while ToonsTV’s programmes reached two billion views in 2013," relates Nick Dorra.
Rovio is working on three series now in production: Piggy Tales (Bad Piggies), Stella and Angry Birds Toons. Consumer goods’ licences represent half of Rovio’s turnover. Today the channel is looking for programmes which target families and fit their style. ToonsTV only buys finished episodes, solely in English or dialogue-free, for which it can acquire worldwide rights.


Nick, you mentioned the turnover breakdown. Is it easier to choose to sell to another channel or to broadcast on one’s own channel?

Nick: "In-house we can always negotiate, while in our discussions with our broadcasters, we stick to our business model. We’ve been able to establish partnerships with the more important TV channels and also broadcast on both networks without this being detrimental to us."

Drafted by Alain Andrieux, ITZACOM, France

Translated by Sheila Adrian

The Annecy 2014 Conferences Summaries are produced with the support of:

DGCIS      Ministère de l'économie, du redressement productif et du numérique      Région Rhône-Alpes

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