By Leah Hochbaum Rosner
Mipcom Jr., the two-day market dedicated to children’s programming and merchandising, to be held October 6-7 at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes prior to MIPCOM, is not for kidding around — but it is about kids and television.
While VideoAge dailies at Mipcom Jr. and MIPCOM will give participants daily, in-depth updates, here is a brief preview of what one can expect at Mipcom Jr.
Pam Slavin, vp of Production for Canada-based Cookie Jar Entertainment, will be attending the market with a number of animated series, including Magi-Nation, Will & Dewitt, World of Quest, Hooray for Huckle! and more. “All of these shows will be really successful,” said Slavin resolutely, before adding that the slate “is diverse enough that each can become a hit with different audiences.” She’s confident that despite the overabundance of cartoons that will be on display at Mipcom Jr., “Cookie Jar’s shows will be able to cut through the clutter” and become audience favorites.
Another Canadian animation production and distribution house that believes its shows will come out on top at Mipcom Jr. is 9 Story Entertainment which will bring action-comedy series Bash Boys for international buyers to view. Aimed at kids 8-12, the animated series features a 13-year-old kid who suddenly finds out he is a father — to a time-displaced 16-year-old from the future. In addition to screening the promo at Mipcom Jr., 9 Story will introduce broadcasters to the show’s newest production elements, including artwork. 9 Story will also bring series Best Ed, a 9 Story original production for Canada’s Teletoon and Cartoon Network U.K. and Futz!, a co-production with Teletoon about an odd-looking protagonist who never walks away from the call of danger.
“Kids today are seeking strong entertainment content from a variety of venues,” said Vince Commisso, CEO and co-partner of 9 Story Entertainment, explaining why he feels Futz! will breathe some fresh air into animated programming. “So we created [the show] with a timeless comedic anti-hero as its star to fit the diverse multi-platform needs of young audiences everywhere.”
Another company that believes it has what it takes to appeal to a broad range of viewers is BabyFirstTV, a U.S.-based cable and satellite channel dedicated to providing innovative programming designed to inspire a baby’s learning in an engaging and fun manner. The channel also features tools to help parents better understand the developmental benefits each program has for their baby. The firm will attend Mipcom Jr. for the second time as both a buyer in search of high-quality content for babies, and a distributor of a 24/7 channel for buyers around the world.
“Babies are like little sponges,” said Sharon Rechter, founder of BabyFirstTV. “So we want to give them the basics in a fun and entertaining way.”
She went on to say that she’s coming to Mipcom Jr. hungry for content to acquire. “Having a diverse slate is important to us,” she said. “And we think Mipcom Jr. is the place to find that varied selection.”
While in Cannes, the company is introducing a number of series, including I Can Sign!, which teaches babies sign language, and Numbers Around the Globe, which helps youngsters learn counting skills.
“What’s great about Mipcom Jr. is that it gets everyone in one place,” said Rechter. “A lot of work gets done. That’s why our booth gets bigger each year.”