Variety Junior 2012
Editors‘ Choice and leads a lineup of six mobile apps the network has put out this year. Snyder says the company sees the rapid development of alternate platforms as opportunities for extending its brand, which, from the start, has been the company’s path to success in an increasingly crowded field. “There is certainly more animation than there was 10 or 20 years ago,” says Snyder. “We are still doing for our brand and our audience the same thing we’ve (always) been doing, which is it’s all about surprising our audience with fun, different and unique content.” While Cartoon Network’s strengths have always been in animation — aimed particularly at boys — Snyder says talking to the network’s viewers always reveals some surprises. For example, a few years back Cartoon learned that its audience also enjoys live-action fare. “So we started down that path of finding the right live-action shows that could fit the Cartoon Network brand,” says Snyder. The net took some criticism from animation purists but found a hit in the videogame-inspired “Level Up.” There is more live-action programming in the works. “Our core will always be animation, but we also will put on other genres,” he says. Content also is increasingly coming from sources beyond the U.S. and outside traditional TV content sources. Snyder cites “The Amazing World of Gumball,” which was developed by Cartoon Network Studios Europe and was a hit when it debuted first in the U.S.; and “The Annoying Orange,” adapted from the hugely popular online videos. Similarly, the network continues to produce programming inhouse, developing talents such as “Adventure Time” creator Pendleton Ward and “Regular Show” creator J.G. Quintel, as well as partnering with producers from around the globe. Such deals include Lucasfilm, which produces “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” out of its Singapore animation studio; DreamWorks Animation, on “Dragons: Riders of Berk”; and Canada’s Cake Entertainment on the “Total Drama Island” franchise. In the kids business working across borders is relatively easy, Snyder says. “While there are differences between territories, the one thing that has remained constant over the years is that kids are kids.” The rising popularity of animation and the explosion of demand for quality kids programming has helped Cartoon Network keep its focus, he says. “Competition makes us do a better job, frankly.” Having reached virtually every market in the world, Snyder says the network is looking to take its biggest franchises to the next level with development deals for live-action feature-film takes on “Ben 10″ and “Captain Planet.” Snyder says those efforts are like icing on the cake — intended to expand and capitalize on the network and its brand, but the main focus remains cartoons and the TV biz. “We want to continue to do the best content that surprises our audience, giving it to them on all platforms.”
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