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Five Fun Facts from MIPTV

There has been much discussion and debate about the ever-changing kids’ television and entertainment business over the past few months from the NATPE annual event to the Kidscreen Summit, and it was evident yet again at last month’s MIPTV market in Cannes, France.

April 6, 2018

3 Min Read

Popples-Netflix-Key-Art_t.jpgThere has been much discussion and debate about the ever-changing kids' television and entertainment business over the past few months from the NATPE annual event to the Kidscreen Summit, and it was evident yet again at last month's MIPTV market in Cannes, France.

Fact one: The digital media sector in many ways dominated the content and media coverage of MIPTV, which it called the "Millennial Shift," and reinforced that the kids' market is evolving so fast, no one is exactly sure how to react to the changes or even what the formula is for the future.

Certainly, the changes are evident from the brand licensing perspective where the popular kids' properties are facing greater challenges, not only from declining viewership, but also for licensing and product placement. Kids' entertainment studios are taking a multi-screen approach, but it is often easier said than done.

Fact two: Consider the example of Saban Brands, featured in the cover story and celebrating its fifth anniversary. Its strategy reflects how the brand management company, studio and major licensor is handling changes in the children's business.

"The notion of a specific program at a specific day and time as a destination of choice is becoming an endangered species," says Elie Dekel, president, Saban Brands. "While the numbers still favor linear television, the genie is leaving bottle. Kids don't think of content as something they schedule a time or a place for–they think of content as close as the nearest screen, which is usually in their pocket.

"This is a paradigm shift that has forever changed our business and everyone in the media space is working to adapt," he adds.

Saban Brands is re-launching its "Popples" property, which was a popular 1980s TV series and licensing program, as a Netflix original kids' series this fall in conjunction with an extensive consumer products program set to roll out in December exclusively at Walmart, followed by international rollout in fall 2016.

Fact three: One game changer in kids' entertainment that also further complicates the marketplace could be the mobile app that YouTube recently launched, "YouTube Kids," which features shows and original content such as programming from DreamWorks, Sesame Workshop, Jim Henson and HIT Entertainment, mixed with an original series, "uTech," from LaVar Burton of "Reading Rainbow." The app channel joins other similar free apps from Netflix and Amazon, while Nickelodeon recently launched a paid streaming service, Noggin, for preschoolers with such programs as "Blue's Clues," "Little Bear" and "Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends."

Fact four: Brand licensing opportunities must be part of the new world of content from the early developmental stages. The digital and social media executives that own this new IP must realize that they need to capitalize on the popularity of their content immediately in the program's cycle. They cannot afford to delay licensing by months, or even years, as was once the case in the traditional TV sector, where waiting for two or more years for a program to capture strong ratings was more the rule than the exception. History tells us that this approach didn't really work.

Fact five: By the way, there were a few new kids' programs–perhaps some with strong licensing potential–that were featured during MIPTV including "Noddy," the classic that will return to TV in 2016, produced by Gaumont Animation in association with DreamWorks Animation Television and in partnership with France Télévisions; Rainbow's "Royal Academy" (working title) and "My American Friend;" Nickelodeon's "Blaze & the Monster Machines" and "Bella and the Bulldogs;" and the venerable character from the 1950s, Gumby, from Premavision and Jim Henson, might make it back to TV in 2016.

After 60 years, however, are Gumby and his pony Pokey ready to play again in today's tumultuous kids' business? The good news is Gumby is a very flexible character.

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