This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
TBI KIDS THE US


Henson’s Sid the Science Kid (left),and CAKE-distributed Total Drama Island


independent kids companies have to look elsewhere if they want to build a hit kids property in the US.


The most obvious place to turn to is public broadcaster PBS, which has car- riage in 97% of US homes and a track record in preschool that stretches back to the launch of Sesame Workshop’s iconic preschool show Sesame Street in 1969. Since then, it has underlined its impor- tance by launching properties such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Teletubbies. “PBS is a perfect partner for a company like ours,” says Peter Schube, president of US kids studio Jim Henson Co. “Because it doesn’t have a studio attached, it relies on companies like Henson to deliver shows. We currently have two properties for 3-to-6 year-olds on PBS, Sid The Science Kid and Dinosaur Train.” PBS is exactly the kind of platform that can help indie studios build a 360-degree brand strategy. In the case of Dinosaur Train an L&M strategy based around product from Learning Curve, Crayola and Hallmark Cards is currently being rolled out in the US.


a twin-track approach. “Disney, Viacom and Turner all run big channel portfolios - so there is scope for sales to second-tier channels such as Disney XD, Nicktoons and Nick Jr.,” says Scherba, “But it is harder to use these as the US launch plat- form for a 360 degree brand because they don’t have the same level of penetration. Toycos and retailers like to see your show on flagship channels: Disney Channel, Nick and Cartoon Network.”


This might seem unfair on content cre- ators, but it’s understandable when you consider the money a fully-fledged kids franchise can generate. Above all, the scenario the big three fear is that which occurred during the 1990s - when Haim Saban used Fox Kids Network to turn Mighty Morphin Power Rangers into a multi-billion dollar franchise.


The Boa Constriction of the US market by the three big studios means that most


For the latest in TV programming news visit TBIvision.com


If anything PBS has become even more important since 2005, thanks to the launch of PBS Sprout, a digital cable/VOD channel which is a JV between US public broadcaster PBS, leading cable company Comcast, Sesame Workshop and preschool studio Hit. PBS Sprout is a classic response to the challenge presented by the big three. While PBS and Sesame Workshop were being squeezed by the global scale of their rivals, Hit was looking to build a US presence for its preschool portfolio, which was not dependent on the whims of the studio-owned kids networks.


By adding Comcast to the mix, the part- ners brought together the distribution muscle, audience affinity, quality content and retail relationships needed to estab- lish a viable network, which is now in 45 million US homes. Sprout doesn’t just provide Hit’s proper- ties with a stable US presence. It also gives other independent studios such as Henson, National Geographic Kids,


TBI Kids June/July 2010 15


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24
Produced with Yudu - www.yudu.com