On the Right Track
IItalian animation powerhouse Mondo TV brings and several other hot new series to the MIPCOM market this fall.
taly’s Mondo TV has been behind some of the most interesting animated projects of the past 30 years. In recent seasons, the studio has offered titles such as Gormiti, Sissi: The Young Empress, The Treasure Island, Angel’s Friends and Eddie Is a Yeti. The creative production and distribution studio continues its hot streak at MIPCOM this year, with a colorful lineup of shows that deliver unique storylines and memorable characters.
“The variety of our shows is quite impressive this year, and we think we have something for every broadcaster,” says Micheline Azoury, Mondo TV’s head of sales and licensing. “We have a diverse range of material, from 2D- and CG-animated shows for preschoolers, as well as comedy series for five- to nine-year olds. We continue our classic princess theme with our popular show Sissi: The Young Empress, which is attracting more and more new broadcasters around the world. The toy line for the show is doing very well, and the licensing categories are growing across the Asian market.”
One of the studio’s newest shows is the CG action-adventure Robot Trains. Produced by South Korea’s CJ E&M, the 32 x 11-min. series airs daily on pay TV channel DeA Junior via Sky this fall. Mondo handles distribution and licensing for the property in a number of European territories (including Italy and Iberia), the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific. The series is set in Train World, where all the citizens are trains. However, a select few among them are special trains which can transform into robots to embark on exciting missions.
Another hot property is YooHoo & Friends (2017: 52 x 11’), a preschool series centered on a group of animal friends who inhabit the magical island of Yootopia and help endangered animals in their world. The TV series is bolstered by high licensing awareness, with more than 80 million YooHoo & Friends plush toys sold since the worldwide launch of the line by Aurora World in 2007.
Also on the fall slate is Invention Story (2018: 104 x 11’), an innovative new 3D, HD animated comedy-action series for children ages four to eight. Combining fun and learning, the show stars Kit, a creative young fox, who, in each episode, comes up with a new invention, delighting the rabbit inhabitants of Carrot Town and infuriating their angry, jealous mayor.
La Comedia Is King Azoury says comedy continues to be in high demand in almost every territory.
“Whether it’s dialogue comedy or simple slapstick, everyone seems to be demanding funny shows,” she notes. “Even the series that are your typical boys’ adventure properties need to have strong comedic elements, or they don’t have much of a chance of succeeding.”
According to Mondo TV’s experienced sales exec, the TV animation climate is quite healthy and thriving in Italy. “The kids’ channel scene is quite competitive, which is great for all of us,” she notes. “Each channel has its own style and target age group audience and positioning on the market. The overall scene is very dynamic, and there is an abundance of high-quality programming for children of all ages around Europe.”
“We are expecting to see many more opportunities in streaming services,” adds Azoury. “Amazon and Netflix are on top of the list. Many other local streaming platforms are taking a good piece of the cake in every single market. The way kids consume small-screen entertainment has changed drastically, in some countries more than others. This has impacted our business positively and opened up the opportunities to develop special shorter-format shows for streaming and mobile platforms.” For more information, visit www.mondotv.it.
Director of Children’s Content, BBC Worldwide What do you look for in an animated show? We’re mainly looking for preschool projects. We have international CBeebies Channels and, where appropriate, look to exploit across all media globally. The ideas should be distinctive, contemporary and relevant to children across all global markets with some non-curriculum learning and/or social and emotional values as take out. Some examples of our current global brands are Hey Duggee, Sarah & Duck and Go Jetters. We look for a strong creative vision. What is the worst thing a show creator/producer can do in a meeting? It’s difficult when people clearly don’t know anything about us. Good research is invaluable. What is the best thing they can do? Having done the research, demonstrate that creative vision and why the project would sit well on the CBeebies Channels and/or in our catalogue overall. For the 6+ age group, consider the project’s commercial potential, does it compliment any locally produced programming, what is the target age group, what is unique about that series? Favorite hangout at the market? Sadly, it’s my bed at the end of the day—and that’s not very late these days! Favorite show/movie/book of the year: the Galaxy Vol. 2, The Dry by Jane Harper The toon that changed my life: Bananaman (“Peel the force!”)—my first job in animation/children’s was selling at HIT Entertainment and I did a deal for this show with someone who has become a great friend. Most annoying buzzwords of 2017: “Fake news.”
VP of Programming & Content Strategy EMEA, Acquisitions & Co-Pro Int’l Kids, Turner What do you look for in an animated show? Great characters, originality and passionate creators. For Cartoon Network, we’re looking for shows that are funny, surprising and smart for our 6- to 12-year-old target audience. Our second flagship, Boomerang, is all about visual, slapstick humor for younger kids and families. What is the worst thing a show creator/producer can do in a meeting? Not be passionate about their project. What is the best thing they can do? Be passionate! Know their characters and the universe they’re trying to convey. It’s also great if they know our brands and how their project could fit. Favorite hangout at the market? Da Laura. Favorite show/movie/book of the year: Game of Thrones, Driver is my favorite movie that I saw recently. The toon that changed my life: The Amazing World of Gumball when I first saw it. It’s one of the best things on TV. Baby blew my mind
Vice President of Children’s Programming, PBS What do you look for in an animated show? A big idea that surprises me and makes me laugh. What is the worst thing a show creator/producer do in a meeting? Tell me how much another network loves the pitch. What is the best thing they can do? Tell me why the idea is the perfect fit for PBS KIDS and why they’d want to be on PBS KIDS! Favorite show/movie/book of the year: Elan Mastai’s book, All Our Wrong Todays (at least the first two thirds of the book, then I was lost). TV shows: Stranger Things, We Bare Bears. The toon that changed my life: The Simpsons. Most annoying trend/buzz words of 2017: They’re all annoying, but it will be 2019 by the time they make it to D.C.!