Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Animation Down Under

Even as Turner plants live-actoin seeds in Cartoon Network, the Turner empire down under goes in the opposite direction.

Turner Broadcasting announced today that its second flagship kids brand, Boomerang, is being re-launched globally as an all-animation, youth-targeted network, repositioned with a line-up of timeless and contemporary cartoons programmed for family co-viewing, rolling out in Australia on 3 November, ahead of the US, EMEA and Southeast Asia. ...

“The re-launch of Boomerang as a second flagship channel is a testament to its global appeal,” said Gerhard Zeiler, President, Turner Broadcasting System International Inc. “We are extremely proud to see this channel move into its next incarnation – with a look and feel that conveys its quality and contemporary position. This represents a further step in our strategy to build on the success of our international kids network.” ...

Drawing upon the vast resources of the world’s largest animation library – consisting of Warner Bros., Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network and MGM Studios television and theatrical shorts, series and specials – Boomerang’s on-air schedule in Australia will be anchored by such timeless favourites as Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes and Scooby-Doo. The channel will also feature a slate of newly-acquired contemporary series’ including Mr Bean.

“Boomerang has always been a timeless favourite with multi-generational appeal,” said Christina Miller, President and General Manager, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang (US). “We see this as a unique opportunity to not only redefine the family co-viewing experience, but to grow and leverage our overall global kids portfolio and position it across all platforms in conjunction with Cartoon Network.”

Boomerang will introduce a refreshed on-air environment and for the first time offer exclusive original content on the network across its 13 international feeds. The official rollout began in Latin America on 29 September and continues with Australia on 3
November. All additional markets will premiere in 2015. Beyond its on-air presence, Boomerang will be supported with refreshed digital and mobile platforms, including a newly refaced website that features exclusive activities, free games and content to provide a full immersion experience for all visitors.

Today’s announcement comes on the back of recent double-digit, quarter-on-quarter growth in Australia among its key demographic of kids aged 5-12. Ratings also leapt by nearly 30% from Q2 to Q3 2014. (Source: OzTAM national STV, overnights.)

I do some perusing of overseas animation news, and what strikes me is how cartoons are a hot commodity all around the globe. Fuzzy animals know no nationality; even human characters translate well in foreign lands.

And of course it hasn't escaped corporate notice that popular animated shows generate profits for decades. Then there are the action figures, the plush toys, the video games and other pieces of merchandise that keep the green eye shade types at Disney, Viacom, Time-Warner and and Fox-News Corporation grinning with piggish delight.

As a corporate vice president remarked to me recently: Conglomerates. They're really just hungry bulldogs."

He ought to know.


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