This year, organizers predict over 470 buyers from 50 countries and 900 distributors from 55 countries will be in attendance at MIPJunior, the mini-market dedicated to kids’ TV that will take place in the two days preceding MIPCOM. Kicking off October 2, MIPJunior has a host of panels, seminars and networking events available, and most importantly, will offer up countless buying and selling opportunities. On the conference side, not to be missed is the Kids Mastermind Series keynote delivered by Hannah Montana co-creator and executive producer Michael Poryes. A number of other interesting activities will be going on as well, including the Kid’s Jury Screening, which challenges producers to have their worked critiqued by a panel of children, and a seminar called “The ‘I’ Generation: Games, Apps and New Devices,” which will once again attempt to decode young people’s interest in technology.
VideoAge talked to a handful of children’s TV execs to find out what they expect for MIPCOM’s little brother event and how challenging it is to sell kid’s shows in the current climate. For complete coverage of MIPJunior, check out the Day One issue of VideoAge MIPCOM Daily.
Joy Rosen, founder and president of Toronto-based Portfolio Entertainment has a busy MIPJunior planned, which will include the launch of a brand new kid’s series and continuing the ongoing sales of production The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! The Portfolio team will be on hand targeting buyers from around the world. “We always have a global focus, but we’re working really hard to close our European sales this year,” she said. Nevertheless, distributing to the kids market is not easy. Rosen estimated that on non-niche channels, children’s shows account for zero to five percent of programming.
Another Canadian, Toronto-based Breakthrough Film and Television co-founder and executive producer Ira Levy, concurred that in Canada and around the world, children’s shows are competing for a limited number of spots. Asked how much time goes to kid’s shows on non-niche channels, Levy had this to say: “In Canada, unfortunately, very very little. Only CBC does kids programming. It’s almost nonexistent.” Still, Levy will have his hands full at MIPJunior, promoting Brazilian co-production My BiG BiG Friend, Jimmy Two Shoes, and as he put it, “Finding producers internationally and putting together a lot of development and production deals, as well as forming relationships with partners.”
The sentiment about too few slots for too many producers was a common refrain. Arnold Zipursky, CEO, president and co-chairman of Toronto-based CCI remarked, “Recently, the cost of entry into the industry has gone down, so there are more people creating content and more producers in the market.” He added that the glut of shows has been a big challenge for indies. This MIPJunior, CCI’s slate is topped by Artzooka, a co-production with Germany that Zipursky described as “a cross-platform trans-media property.” In addition to broadening its horizon’s with shows integrating a variety of media, CCI is offering series including Artzooka as formats.