Former Zlin kidfest topper Koliha will run web

MOSCOW — Czech pubcaster CTV is to launch a new kids’ channel with Petr Koliha, former artistic director of the Zlin Children’s Film Festival, at the helm.

Koliha ran Zlin for nine years, transforming it from a small local festival into an international event that this year screened 247 films and drew 100,000 visitors, including industry buyers and sales agents.

He stepped down Saturday after prepping next year’s 53rd edition to begin building the as-yet unnamed channel, due to launch in the first half of 2013.

The channel, which will compete with a wide range of commercial and cable programming for tykes available on Disney, Minimax, Jim Jam, Duck TV and Nickelodeon, will draw on Czech TV’s resources and rich archive of kids’ programming going back 60 years as well as buying local and international product.

“As a public broadcaster, we will aim to provide a service that will mainly offer alternative programs for children and youth,” Koliha told Variety.

Koliha plans to commission local independent productions and source “the best product from Europe, the U.S. and the world.”

“We plan to attend the next LA Screenings and other world TV and film markets,” he added.

The channel will draw some programming strands from Czech TV’s two existing channels but will concentrate on creating new airtime blocks for three target groups: 4-8 year olds, 8-12 year olds and post 9 p.m. shows for those age 13 and up.

The channel will feature interactive elements that address the multi-tasking, Internet-based interests of today’s younger viewers.

“Our main goal is to develop a specific media world for young people with attractive and broad-ranging programming that has some added messages,” Koliha said.

“We want to develop programs in a wide variety of genres, including animation, entertainment, documentary, live shows, news, sports and culture. Paradoxically we would like to show children that they can spend their time not only in front of a TV.”

Koliha’s successor at Zlin is due to be announced during the Fall.

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