Kidvid: ‘Sheep’ to nuts

Buyers offered wide range of choice at Mipcom Jr.

CANNES – Whether it was Aardman’s “Shaun the Sheep,” the Beeb’s “Skunk Fu” or Nelvana’s scatological “Fartzilla,” buyers were spoiled for choice at Mipcom Jr., which wrapped Sunday.

Distributors brought some 937 shows to the two-day kidvid mart — 12% more than last year — and screenings soared to a high of 42,848, from 35,000 last year.

But the mart’s digital screening facilities allowed buyers to zap from one show to the next without lingering for very long.

Attendance was up 4% from last year to 829 participants, including 452 buyers.

Most execs milling around the Carlton Hotel, venue of the mart for the first time, concurred that the quality of programs on offer was high.

“Every year, the bar keeps shifting higher and higher,” said Philippe Delarue of Futuricon, the Gallic producer of two shows currently airing Stateside: Cartoon Network’s “Dragon Hunters” and the shortform “Minuscule,” airing on Disney Channel.

French companies distributed five of the top 20 most frequently viewed shows at the mart, ahead of the U.K. with four titles and the U.S. with three.

Live-action shows that drew interest in Cannes included ZDF’s “H2O — Just Add Water,” about teenage girls who morph into mermaids; BVI TV’s teen pop star-themed “Hannah Montana”; and Decode Entertainment’s “Glimmer,” about budding magazine hacks.

But with so many shows out there, securing a TV slot is an uphill battle — and drawing decent fees out of broadcasters even harder — as DIC Entertainment’s Andy Heyward pointed out in a keynote speech about licensing.

Fellow keynote speaker Toper Taylor, whose Cookie Jar Entertainment is riding high with hit TV show “Doodlebops,” agreed it’s “hard to produce for the very modest license fees broadcasters pay” — hence the need to think merchandising, homevid and Internet.

For the second year running, a telenovela mart ran concurrently with Mipcom Jr., attracting around 150 buyers. U.S. fare drew the strongest interest, with two Tepuy shows, “Accessory to Love” and “30,” first and second in terms of viewings. Indicating the genre’s internation strength, the Netherlands’ “Double Life,” Israel’s “Juanita Is Single” and France’s Marseilles-set “Life’s So Sweet” also were in the top 10.

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