MIPJUNIOR: US cable channel Cartoon Network is to develop more children’s content online as opposed to on TV, delegates here heard this afternoon.
Keynoting at MipJunior in Cannes, Stuart Snyder, president and chief operating officer of animation, young adults and kids’ media at Cartoon parent Turner Broadcasting System, pointed to the channel’s website as a potential testing ground for new Cartoon Network content.
“I don’t think everything has to be created as a television show first. Things can be developed as shorts, as games or as apps. It’s about the best way of launching new characters,” he said.
Earlier this year, the kidcaster aired The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange, a property that originated as a series of shorts on YouTube before being developed as a TV show.
Without mentioning specific projects, Snyder said “more and more things are in development with us in the digital space,” and emphasised how much technology had changed the way children now consume content.
“The great thing about technology today is that it’s lowering the barriers to displaying creative talent and kids are now absorbing more content than ever before. But it’s important to understand how they use that technology and to be there with them when they’re doing it.”
Snyder also reflected on his tenure at Cartoon Network, stating that the channel was “struggling in the US” when he took the role in 2007 and turned it around. He also spoke about his decision to air live-action content on the channel for the first time.
“Kids said they wanted to see more of themselves on the channel, so we started looking for live-action shows that would work on Cartoon Network. Five years later, some things didn’t work, but a lot of things did,” he said.
“We found the right voice and the right texture now for live-action now. But at the end of the day animation will always rule on Cartoon Network,” he added.
Snyder also emphasised that Cartoon Network would continue to look for what he called “alternative, irreverent shows,” such as Adventure Time and Regular Show.
“We want something that makes us a little bit uncomfortable at times – something original that isn’t derivative. For example, Adventure Time is not your typical kids show and has so many different layers.”
For more on the role the web is playing in developing tomorrow’s TV hits for kids, check out the cover story in the current issue of C21 Kids.