13 JUN 2024

Alexandre Hénin: "Bayard Animation has been developing TV series for over 20 years"

As a subsidiary of France’s leading publisher Bayard, Bayard Animation has drawn on a catalog of iconic characters to build its success and stay relevant for two decades. The company's Managing Director explains this strategy.

13 JUN 2024

Alexandre Hénin

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With 20 years of experience in entertaining and edutaining series based on iconic characters, Bayard Animation shows are available on major television and SVOD platforms in France and worldwide. Alexandre Hénin, Bayard Animation's Managing Director, talked exclusively with Señal News about this consolidated path.

How could you describe Bayard Animation's main activities? 
"Bayard Animation is the Bayard group subsidiary dedicated to creating and producing audiovisual and video content for children and families. Bayard Jeunesse is France's leading publisher of children's magazines and children's comics. Drawing on a catalog of iconic characters including 'Petit Ours Brun' ('Little Brown Bear'), 'SamSam, Tom-Tom et Nana' ('Tom and Lili'), 'Zouk'... Bayard Animation has been developing TV series for over 20 years. Bayard Animation programs are available in France and worldwide on television and SVOD platforms. Our ultimate goal is to combine discovery of the world, the quest for meaning, and comedy to offer original entertainment for young and old, reflecting the values Bayard Jeunesse has upheld for generations among its readers." 

What are the leading children's projects you're promoting today? 
"This year, our premium series 'SamSam - Cosmic Adventures,'' co-produced with Folivari, premiered on France Televisions. Mediatoon oversees international distribution. The series has already been sold to France Televisions (France), RTS (Switzerland), RTBF (Belgium), Télé-Québec (Canada), EITB (Spain), NPO (The Netherlands), TV Puls (Poland), TET (Latvia) and MTVA (Hungary). We are also introducing an ambitious new web series for kids focused on learning English: 'I Love English with Essie.' The first season is already available on France Télévision's edutainment platform Lumni. These two projects showcase our editorial vision, perfectly blending entertainment and edutainment".

What are the highlight titles for Annecy MIFA? 
 "We are producing the second season of 'Zouk' in 52x11 format, co-produced with Caribara, for Canal Plus, with a scheduled broadcast date in 2026. Additionally, the new seasons of Bayard Jeunesse's iconic characters are currently being considered. We also have two productions currently underway: 'Nature Chaser' (25x3'), a digital series to help children discover plant and animal species in nature, for Lumni  and 'SamSam's Stories' (30x2'), a hybrid print/3D format encouraging young children to interact with each other in positive ways, also for Lumni."

Bayard Animation has been developing series for over 20 years. How did the company evolve during those years? 
"Today, we aim to maintain our current pace of one series per year, alternating with edutainment series for digital channels. Two strong axes of development, both aligned with the DNA of Bayard Jeunesse, are entertainment, with premium audiovisual series aimed at broadcasters and platforms, and discovery of crucial information, positive skills, and underlying meaning, with edutainment series that help children to grow up with self-confidence and develop their curiosity and talents. On the distribution side, we inked several deals with significant sales agents. These partnerships have allowed us to optimize the exploitation of our catalog while helping us accelerate the growth and audience of our YouTube channels, including Petit Ours Brun, with over one million subscribers and more than 800 million views." 

What are the company's main goals for 2024? 
 "Bayard Animation has launched the development of approximately ten new audiovisual series to accelerate the expansion of Bayard Jeunesse's universes on screens over the next five years. At the same time, we are always looking for new talents and partners, both in France and internationally. We attend MIFA with this goal in mind and continue our search at Mipcom. One of our major objectives is to expand our international development. To achieve this, we are open to partnerships, including foreign co-productions, allowing us to accelerate the distribution and promotion of our productions in new territories."

By Romina Rodriguez