Good morning.It’s Wednesday, October 15, 2014, and this is your first early morning briefing.
After opening its doors to ad sales and promotional opportunities in the States earlier this year, Turner is re-launching Cartoon Network sibling Boomerang as a global animation network grounded in classic toons (like Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo and Powerpuff Girls) but including for the first time exclusive acquired regional and local series. The network bowed in Latin America Sept. 29 and will kick off in Australia Nov. 3, followed by the U.S., EMEA and APAC regions in 2015. Beyond its availability in more than 250 million homes, Boomerang will be supported via digital and mobile platforms, including a refaced website featuring exclusive content.
In related news, Cartoon rebranded its smartphone offerings under the moniker CN Anything. The app, stocked with short (10-15 seconds short) programming meant to be viewed on the go, is available for both iOS and Andriod devices. The content mix includes ranges from snippets from shows including Adventure Time, Regular Show and Amazing World of Gumball, and games, quizzes and puzzles targeting the net’s core Boys 6-11 audience. McDonald’s has signed on as launch sponsor; the fast fooder initially will have sponsored messaging and banner ads throughout the app. Native ad content is on the horizon for the app, according to Cartoon execs.
And in weather news, DHX Media is bringing the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs franchise to the small screen. In a new deal with Sony Pictures Animation, DHX will develop and produce 26 22-minute episodes and will have global television and non-U.S. home entertainment exploitation rights to the property; Sony has U.S. rights. DHX also has merchandising for the television series on a worldwide basis. The 2009 comedy and its 2013 sequel, both produced by Sony Pictures Animation and distributed by Columbia Pictures, grossed a combined $510 million in theaters. In a new twist, the TV series takes place before food comes raining down on Swallow Falls.
Family entertainment company DRIVER Digital will premiere The Story Circle on its Cool School YouTube channel on Oct. 16. The 16-episode series will star popular YT millennial mothers narrating animated children’s stories. Among the YT talent: Judy Travis from ItsJudyTime and Its JudysLife (460 million views and two million subscribers), Brittany and Austin Null of TheLiveNulls, April and Justin Moore of AprilJustinTV. “This new generation of millennial moms/parent influencers has earned enormous levels of trust from their fans,” DRIVER’s Head of Audience Development Mike O’Connor said. “We believe that trust will extend to recommendations for kids’ programming as for brands that are seeking to connect with this audience.”
Multi-channel network AwesomenessTV announced a new publishing arm, called Awesomeness Ink, to publish books based on its YouTube series. As of yesterday, Runaways and Side Effects will be available as books in stores and as eBooks. “Teen lit is a huge category and with Awesomeness Ink we are creating a platform for creators focused on the written word in the same way we have served video creators with the AwesomenessTV,” Chief Operating Officer Brett Bouttier said.
Luna Petunia is the name of the upcoming Saban Brands-Cirque du Soleil Media preschool property. The series, from showrunner Bradley Zweig, will chronicle the adventures of a little girl who lives in our world and plays in a dreamland where she learns how to make the impossible possible. A consumer products line along with interactive and digital content will follow the series debut.
Disney dudes Bradley Steven Perry (Mighty Med, Good Luck Charlie), Joshua J. Ballard (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days) and Tyrel Jackson Williams (Lab Rats) star in the new original comedy movie Pants on Fire, premiering Sunday, Nov. 9 at 7p on Disney XD. In the story, every lie 15-year-old Jack Parker ever told suddenly becomes real–including a possessive girlfriend and a roving duo of alien body-snatchers. It’s directed by Jon Rosenbaum (Mighty Med, Austin & Ally) from a script by Alex Cramer, and produced by Kim Arnott (The Haunting Hour), who also serves as an exec producer. MarVista Entertainment CEO Fernando Szew and EVP, production and development, Robyn Snyder are also executive producers.
ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas” event launches on (of course!) Dec. 1. For the first time, holiday programming will include seasonal eps of series Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters, Switched at Birth and Chasing Life, during the week of Dec. 8.
Online video network Maker Studios, purchased by Disney for up to $950 million in May, will produce a Halloween-themed show for Disney Channel and a prank special for Disney XD, co-hosted by Maker video creators and Disney Channel stars. And that’s just for starters. “The Maker content catalog is primed for television–with hundreds of thousands of videos created around trends and themes,” said Gabriel Lewis, Maker EVP, development and strategy.
Rainbow gave the MIP crowd a peak at season 7 of Winx Club, which will carry a strong environmental message along with the introduction of a gaggle of rare fairy animals. The studio also debuted two new propertiesanimated fairy tale mashup of Royal Academy and live-action My American Friend, about a 16-year-old aspiring fashion designer who wins a two-year scholarship to the Milan Fashion Institute.
Actor/comedian Tony Cavalero will take on the role of Dewey Finn, portrayed by Jack Black in the 2003 movie, in Nick’s series School of Rock, debuting in 2015. Says Cavalero, “Jack Black is one of my biggest comedy influences and I am ready to shred!” Rock on, dude.
Good new for young wildlife fans. There’ll be a fourth season of animated Wild Kratts on PBS Kids beginning in late 2015. Kratt Brothers Co, and 9 Story are back to produce the show, created by brothers and zoologists Martin and Chris Kratt, who star in the show as animated versions of themselves.
Zodiak Kids is unveiling at MIP Marathon Media’s new cartoon-style comedy Get Blake, developed in partnership with Nickelodeon and Gulli. Plot follows 13 year-old Blake Myers and his best friend Mitch, who constantly find themselves under siege by three, yep, alien squirrels who’ve been sent from the future with one secret goal: capture Blake.
Canada’sCorus Entertainmentis teaming with Burbank-based Bento Box Entertainment on a multi-year deal to create original series forTeletoonprimetime programming block Teletoon at Night, debuting in 2016.
Shaftesbury is launching new interactive musical series The Moblees for kids 3-5. Five comical characters, together with viewers at home, overcome obstacles through teamwork and movement. Each ep features a movement-centric, song-driven adventure that culminates in the awarding of a Moblee Medal, rewarding preschoolers’ newfound expertise in doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways.
Amaze + Television and 9 Story are cooking up a hybrid live-action/animated comedy series, The Stanley Dynamic, they’re touting at MIP. The sitcom features a typical family with a big twistone of their twin sons is animated. Nelvana Enterprises is distributing the series globally; it will debut on Canada’s YTV in 2015.
ZDF Enterprises and German free-to-air children’s channel KiKA are co-producing 3D animated TV series Insectibles with One Animation. Targeting kids 6-9, it follows the adventures of “a young boy, a crazy old man, and three bio-mechanically enhanced insects” as they search to find pieces of the ‘Shrinkinator’– the invention that shrunk our heroes before exploding during a failed testing phase.
eOne’s latest animated series Zak Storm has been greenlit for production and will debut on French network Gulli in 2015. Aimed at kids 6-11, the action surrounds a kid who finds himself captain of a ship of misfits who get sucked into the Bermuda Triangle. Series was conceived by Man of Action (Ben 10) and produced by Zagtoon, Method Animation and eOne Family. Philippe Guyenne (Iron Man animated series) will direct.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Branding and Balance: New Approaches for Marketers in the Evolving World of Children’s Programming
Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 1:30PM to 3:00PM ET
Jennifer Giddens, VP, Marketing for Sprout Cable Entertainment
Mindelle Ziff, CEO for Kaleidoscope YFM
David Kleeman, SVP, Insights Programs & PlayVangelist for PlayCollective
Kara Rousseau, SVP, Ad Sales Marketing for Disney Media Sales & Marketing
MODERATOR:Randee Dawn, Contributing Editor for Cynsiders/Cynopsis.com
TIME OUT WITH… LITTON’S DAVE MORGAN
If you’re scanning channels on a Saturday morning, it’s hard to miss programming from Litton Entertainment. The production house and distributor owns the weekly time slot on ABC, CBS and, most recently, The CW, with an evolving stable of content including the recent additions of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation to the CBS Dream Team, It’s Epic lineup, and Reluctantly Healthy to the CW’s One Magnificent Morning lineup. Litton chief Dave Morgan schools us on Saturday morning strategy.
The evolution of Saturday morning
When we were kids, Saturday morning was not a demographic that was conceived by producers or parents; it was conceived by corporate executives who wanted to sell toys. It’s not about that anymore. The change came in 1996 when the FCC and Congress required [broadcast networks] to have three hours of educational programming on Saturday mornings. And then we added in ratings, and the “EI” rating for [educational and informational] came in. Sony proved you could get an audience to watch something that wasn’t animation and could even foster co-viewing, with Bill Nye. As dumb luck would have it, Litton was involved with Jack Hanna.
Educational with capital E?
If you have a program a 13-year old says he’s watching because it says “EI” in the corner, you have failed at making an exciting show. It doesn’t matter whether it says Educational, people love Jack Hanna because they love Jack Hanna. Litton has done a lot to make EI relevant and cool, but it’s about the programming. Kids don’t watch a television station; they watch programming.
Lessons in learning
Classroom learning can be based on building blocks. Television doesn’t have that luxury; it has to deliver the educational impact immediately. It’s very academic for us now, in terms of what the formula is. In the case of ABC, it’s the word around you. For CBS, we draw on the world that’s within you, and who you are historically.
Extending beyond the family room
We’ve created great relationships with Hulu, Amazon and most recently with CBS Interactive for digital platforms, and over the next year we’re going to announce some additional interactivity. Here’s a wink and a nod… I watched my daughter, who’s now 25, play with that little egg, the Tamagotchi. She was obsessed with it, and I’m thinking about how we can take that [connection] and do something today.
9 Story Entertainment is turning a new chapter. The company is rebranding as 9 Story Media Group, a move that comes shortly after ZM Capital and media entrepreneur Neil Court became equity investors in the organization. “While producing and distributing shows remain absolutely central to our business model, the new name better encapsulates our vision to become a global leader in kids and family focused IP,” said Vince Commisso, 9 Story President/CEO.
Studio 100 Media extended its existing partnership with global distribution company Comarex. The three year extension encompasses exclusive distribution rights for Studio 100’s catalog including Maya the Bee, Vic the Viking and Blinky Bill–within the TV and home entertainment sectors for Latin America as well non-exclusive rights for the Spanish-speaking U.S.
Braving the social media jungle, McDonald’s launched a “transparency campaign” to answer questions from customers, fans and food skeptics. Called “Our Food. Your Questions,” people are invited to submit their food queries via Twitter. McDonald’s will respond with behind-the-scenes webisodes and other social content that provides facts on ingredients, as well as how food is made and prepared in restaurants.
On the heels of its U.K. series premiere, Sesame Workshop will make full episodes of The Furchester Hotel available on YouTube for free; the Workshop’s YouTube channel will be the global host for the show. Beginning Nov. 14, a new episode will roll out every Friday making it “Furchester Friday’ on Sesame Street’s YouTube channel.
Flair and Disney teamed-up with U.K. Twitter specialist UKMUMS.tv to create a Doc McStuffins promo that reached 1.8-plus million unique accounts with 13.8 million impressions in one day, earlier this month.
Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific enhanced its Cartoon Network Watch and Play app to enable Cartoon subscribers in Asia to live-stream the channel via a free authenticated service for the first time.
Digital, social good-focused agency HelpsGood released a new original Smokey Bear storybook app, Smokey Bear and the Campfire Kids, launching in concert with Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 5-11). The app, featuring animation from Animax Entertainment, is the first in a planned four-book series featuring Smokey Bear and is available at http://www.smokeybearapps.com.
Universal Partnerships & Licensing announced that The Lego Group will create products in conjunction with the release of Jurassic World, the next installment in Steven Spielberg’s film series, to be released on June 12, 2015.
Rainbow added leading German licensing agent GLAM to its global network this week.
Nelvana partnered with Moose Toys to explore developing content for two of Moose Toys’ key new brands, Shopkins and Mutant Mania.
In a deal that extends the relationship between AG Properties’ Care Bears and Sanrio’s Little Twin Stars brands, the companies announce the new Kiki & Lala x Care Bears Café Sweets Paradise in Hiroshima PARCO, one of Japan’s largest shopping centers. Care Bears licensing agent in Japan, Mindworks Entertainment, developed the partnership with Inoue Corp.
awol animation eurl appointed Toei Animation Europe to serve as French merchandising agent for preschool series Kioka.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
No purchase necessary to enter or to win. Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the United States and the District of Columbia who are at least 18 years of age at the time of entry and who possess a valid email address. Sweepstakes entry period begins at 12:00:01 a.m., Pacific Time (“PT”), on October 13, 2014 and ends at 11:59:59 p.m., PT, on October 23, 2014. For complete Official Rules, visit: http://bit.ly/WinTiVo.
Canada’s Teletoon commissioned a third season of Breakthrough Entertainment’s Rocket Monkeys. Season two kicks off Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 6:30p.
Toonz Entertainment entered an agreement to acquire 100% of Spain-based production and distribution company Imira Entertainment. Under terms, Imira will continue to operate as a separate production and distribution entity with its existing management structure, but the companies will offer combined content and global distribution.
Zodiak Kids sold Marathon Media’s series Lolirock to several territories. The series will premiere on France 3 at the end of this year. Disney picked up the series in France, Benelux, Spain, CEE, the Middle East and Turkey, while De Agostini Editore (Italy) snagged it for its Italian pay TV channel DeAKids. Other sales include Globo Brazil, Noga Israel, MTV Oy (Finland) and Canal Panda (Portugal).
London-based Acamar Films signed new broadcast and licensing partners for its series Bing, which debuted on CBeebies this summer. The company also signed a global distribution partnership for the series with Aardman’s Rights and Brand Development division.
Little Airplane Productions appointed Stefanie Zhang as its Resident Producer in mainland China. Based in Beijing, Zhang will offer on-the-ground support to Little Airplane’s current clients and partners and work with the company to build new relationships in the Chinese market. Zhang has worked across Taiwan, Macao and mainland China as a music video and commercials director, festival producer, international distributor and animation producer.
Top 10 Basic Cable Ratings for the week of Oct. 6-12, 2014
K2-11 Total Programming Day
K2-11 Prime (Monday Sunday 8-11p.m.)
K2-11 (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)
K6-11 Total Programming Day
K6-11 Prime (Monday Sunday 8-11p.m.)
K6-11 (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)
K9-14 Total Programming Day
K9-14 Prime (Monday Sunday 8-11p.m.)
K9-14 (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)
Source: Disney from Nielsen Media Research National MIT, ranked on coverage ratings
Viewing Type: Live + Same Day
K2-11 Top 10 Programs for the week of Oct.6-12, 2104
10/11/14/Haunted Thundermans Haunted Hathaways/NICK/8-9p/1469
10/11/14/Sofia the First/DSNY/8:30-8:55a/1401
10/9/14/Amazing World of Gumball/TOON/7-7:30p/1277
10/9/14/The Nitemare Before Christmas/DSNY/8-9:25p/1180
10/10/14/Girl Meets World/DSNY/8-8:30p/1175
10/12/14/Liv and Maddie/DSNY/8:30-9p/1174
K6-11 Top 10 Programs for the week of Oct. 6-12, 2014
10/11/14/Haunted Thundermans – Haunted Hathaways/DSNY/8-9p/1140
10/10/14/Girl Meets World/DSNY/8-8:30p/1037
10/9/14/Amazing World of Gumball/TOON/7-7:30p/989
10/12/14/Liv and Maddie/DSNY/8:30-9p/956
Source: Turner Research based on Total US Television Universe of 115,800,000 homes.
Weekend box office estimates for the top-grossing kids/tween/teen movies rated G, PG or PG-13, provided by Rentrak for Oct. 10-12, 2014:
The Boxtrolls (Focus Features) PG $11.98 million (weekend) $32.09 million (2-week cume)
The Maze Runner (20th Century Fox) PG-13 $11.63 million (weekend) $73.56 million (3-week cume)
Left Behind (Freestyle Releasing) PG-13 $6.3 million (weekend) $6.3 million (1-week cume)
Dolphin Tale 2 ( Warner Bros.) PG $3.42 million (weekend) $37.87 million (4-week cume)
Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney) PG-13 $3.0 million (weekend) $323.33 million (10-week cume)
No Good Deed (Sony) PG-13 $2.5 million (weekend) $50.16 million (4-week cume)
Answer to last week’s Trivia Question: What’s the name of the writer Dick Van Dyke portrayed in The Dick Van Dyke Show? Rob Petrie (we didn’t take off points for spelling) Kudos to: Alan Dorfman, Super Impulse USA, Bristol, PA; JB Gray, Cartoon Network, Atlanta; Rick Gallagher, Bookazine, Bayonne, NJ; RT Harris, WideOrbit, Detroit; Stephen Kelley, 9 Story, Toronto; Barbara Linebarger, Turner Broadcasting, Atlanta; Tracy Casper Lang, Notwashedupyet.blogpot.com, NY; Jane Pook, NY; Adriann K. Price, Thomson Reuters, Alexandria, VA; David Stern, BARD Entertainment, NY; Joe Swaney, Cartoon Network, Atlanta; Pat Brady, CESD, LA; Tom Boyd, WGN, Chicago; David Garber, Linzack Publications, Chatsworth, CA.
Today’s Trivia Question: Which pop star got the Cirque du Soleil treatment in 2012’s “Immortal”? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)
Cheers — Cathy Applefeld Olson
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