In 2022, in Annecy, the world capital of animation, Mediawan Group introduced its new division dedicated to production and distribution activities for youth and family content. Now celebrating its first anniversary, Mediawan Kids & Family is establishing itself as a powerhouse in this segment. Julien Borde, President of the division, explained what is the potential of kids' content within the group and analyzed what a project must have in order to go from the idea to the development.
▸ What is the potential of the kids' content for the company?
“We are big believers of both kids and animation segments. There is a boom in animation, and that is because animation is not only for kids. At the same time, it is everywhere, as it fits both in digital as in television. We have a slate which covers a large range of target demos, such as preschool or even adults. The idea with all of our labels in Europe is to be ready to cover all the needs of the market. At the same time, the ambition that we have within Mediawan Group, which is a fast-growing company, is to enable European talents to bring their stories to kids and families.”
▸ What approach must a project have to go ahead with the development?
“I would say it must have art and emotion. First, there is a meeting with the talent and the creative team to make us believe in a project. We know there are some needs in the market and we obviously analyze the business side, but creatively we focus on finding the people who are able to show their projects with heart, with emotions, that are able to build universes that kids will enjoy. It is very subjective, in fact. I think the industry in general needs daring editorial proposals, because animation is a very complex and long process. There is a tendency sometimes to copy and paste an old formula. We are creative and talent driven, so we focus on finding the best daring shows and talents that are going to help us to bring innovative shows to the audience.”
▸ Is it important to have a mix between classic IP and new IP?
“We are building our portfolio with a good balance of existing IPs and new ideas. The existing IPs are helping us to create new IPs. When you are programming a kid's channel or service, you are really using both. That is because existing IPs help to sustain and grow new ideas. For us, it is really part of the same ‘toy box’ in a way. That is because in a toy box a kid surely has a toy which is fun and he knows very well, but he also loves to discover new toys. I think that is a fun part of our formula to entertain kids.”
▸ Do you believe that kids content can travel to any platform?
“This is an industry in which you have no recipe to success; you are building success case by case. Therefore, each IP deserves a specific strategy to grow and be shown to the demos all around the world. This is why it is fun, because in a way it is not an industry, as it is all really artisanal.”
▸ What is the strategy to make an IP as global as possible?
“It is all about partnering with the right people. With each IP we have a very solid network of windows, such as traditional broadcasters or streamers. Each time we partner we aim to combine our strengths in every expertise. This is what we are doing with DeAPlaneta Entertainment, for example, which is one of the strongest groups in licensing and merchandising. We have built a strategic partnership with them to represent us. They are even a coproducer in our new show ‘Karters.’ So we combine our strengths to be able to bring success to the market.”
▸ How different is the timing of animation compared to other genres?
“We have to be really agile. Things are changing a lot, and I think we will see massive changes in the future.I hope technology makes it easier for us to produce faster. That is one of my biggest expectations for the future. It is true that we have very long production processes, so being agile is more important than ever in this industry.”
By Diego Alfagemez and Federico Marzullo