Sunday, September 28, 2014

Broadening Their Reach

Internet distribution giants go after overseas cartoons.

With networks increasingly tightening their purse strings, digital platforms like Amazon and Netflix are opening up a whole range of opportunities for European animation producers and sales agents.

“Netflix and Amazon are the first players in broadcast history that are global and do not own a kids library and production unit so they are willing to invest. It’s a big change,” said Philippe Soutter, co-founder of Paris-based PGS Entertainment, which handles “Monchhichi” and “The Jungle Report.”

Netflix, which launched last week in France (along with Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg), has been on a buying spree, picking up five shows, including “Pok et Mok,” “Alfred,” “Franklin” and “La Petite Geante,” from Gaumont Animation. ...

Amazon, which attended Cartoon Forum for the first time, is having a more cherry-picking approach than Netflix, but still ensures series great visibility across multiple markets, said Malene Iversen, head of sales at Copenhagen Bombay, pitcher of “Me and Sonny” at Cartoon Forum. ...

Like more and more platforms, Amazon aims to board series at an early stage to participate in the creative process and is looking for diverse shows from different nationalities. ...

The question will ultimately be: Which cartoon series will have the broadest worldwide popularity? And if Amazon and Netflix can pick winners, then over time they'll want to own franchises outright.

Cartoons, after all, are ever green products that generate significant cash flow for decades. Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna may have gone to their rewards, but the animated half-hours they've left behind still make other people money.


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