Independent European company produce kids content with a language and graphic style that is different for each target, and which reflects their world. Francesco Manfio, CEO of the company talked with Señal News about its powerful catalogue and the successful business strategy.
Francesco Manfio, CEO of Gruppo Alcuni
Gruppo Alcuni is an independent European company founded in 2006 by Sergio and Francesco Manfio after they had already been writing and producing TV programs for kids for many years. The production and distribution company is structured in six departments: Development, Production, International Distribution, Licensing & Merchandising, Communication, and Finance, with approximately one hundred employees.
"In these past 14 years, we have produced 22 animated TV series, 5 feature films, and in addition 503 live-action short films shot in 19 world countries. These credits place us in 132 world countries, with a production investment of over thirty million euro in the past 5 years," declared Francesco Manfio, CEO of Gruppo Alcuni to Señal News.
According to its business strategy, Gruppo Alcuni tries to constantly plan for the future. "Obviously, to do this, the guiding light for all our activity is what would be called research and development in 'normal' businesses. We also make sure to carefully 'differentiate' ourselves in our work, in order to acknowledge and emphasize our specific productions," commented the executive.
Gruppo Alcuni's productions are aimed at children from 2 to 15, with a language and graphic style that is different for each target, and which reflects their world. "Basically, Gruppo Alcuni’s 'catalogue' appears as a large multimedia system full of content for kids," described Manfio.
The company recently finished dubbing the “Leo da Vinci” series, co-produced with RAI Ragazzi, Hessischer Rundfunk (HR), Cosmos Maya, All Rights Entertainment, and with the support of TFC and the Veneto Region. The entire project – feature film and TV series - is dedicated to young Leonardo da Vinci, and is achieving enthusiastic reception all over the world. "So, we’re considering the possibility of proposing new ideas to our partners," explained the Gruppo Alcuni CEO. "We also have “Vlady & Mirò” – a brand new series without dialogues, co-produced with RAI Ragazzi, which revolves around visual gags and which was a fascinating challenge from a creative and production perspective. It’s an innovative project, that is a tribute to timeless cartoon 'slapstick comedy," he added.
In the same line, Gruppo Alcuni is also in production with a new season of the “Mini Pet Pals” series, which is a brand where the company has created 156 episodes and one feature film so far. "The new episodes will revolve around 'our' six small animals getting ready to start school. It will certainly be engaging for the many children who watch them every day on RAI Yoyo and many other world TV networks, to see how they experience the amazing adventures and marvelous discoveries they’ll be living in their 'forest school,' Manfio said.
MOMENT OF OPPORTUNITIES
In Manfio's opinion, "everything around us is going through constant change, and the audio-visual market in particular. Change generates extraordinary opportunities (consumers’ needs may change, better yet we can make them change), and this is why we are called to observe the market on a continuous basis, paying attention to the requests of our audience, understanding how the market is responding, and imagining unexplored possibilities," he higlighted.
In terms of the evolution of the audio-visual industry, Manfio asserted that these days, where the digital convergence between mass media and new media has become the new reality, "we haven’t witnessed the death of TV, rather a crisis in its traditional business model, along with the appearance of a myriad of devices and interconnected features, not so much on the part of technology as in the users’ habits. Our productions therefore tend to be directed towards a 'pluri-televised' system, where the world of TV (in all its forms), interactive web entertainment, and video-games meet. We try to create content for a fluid plural system, where multiple distribution platforms co-exist."
Manfio also affirmed that Gruppo Alcuni produces content the audience can watch in whichever way or place it prefers, that enables them to interact with the characters thanks to the use of applications that give additional information about the show, and allow for an active online participation. "Finally, we pay close attention to the fact that the user (but we might need to find a better word) can create his or her own audiovisual content directly," he completed.
About the future, the Gruppo Alcuni CEO asserted that "as content producers we have to convey trust in the future, especially since we’re projected towards younger audiences. We should be like young Leo, and even more like his friend Lisa (the main characters of our latest feature film and TV series), since they never give up and experience each challenge as an opportunity to start over. Leo and Lisa put their talents together: genius and determination, which are qualities that belong to our young protagonists, but we feel are also a part of all of us. If we want to take off with new momentum once this emergency is over, we must go back to being recognized and appreciated in the world for what we have already produced as content creators, and what we will be producing for the cultural growth of our kids", he concluded.
By Romina Rodríguez
Our productions therefore tend to be directed towards a 'pluri-televised' system, where the world of TV (in all its forms), interactive web entertainment, and video-games meet. We try to create content for a fluid plural system, where multiple distribution platforms co-exist.” Francesco Manfio CEO of Gruppo Alcuni