Turner Broadcasting axes Toonami

Station to be replaced by Cartoonito

LONDON —Turner Broadcasting is revamping its portfolio of U.K. kids’ channels as the highly competitive British children’s market continues to evolve.

From May 24 one of its five stations, Toonami, will be axed following poor ratings to make way for beefed up pre-school service, Cartoonito.

Turner’s four remaining U.K. tyke offerings, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoon Network Too and Boomerang +1 will remain substantially unchanged.

However, some of Toonami’s better performing shows will transfer to Cartoon Network Too.

Additionally Cartoon Network, Cartoon Network Too and Cartoonito will all be rebranded.

Said Dee Forbes, senior vice president and general manager of Turner Broadcasting UK and Ireland: “These changes are designed to give Turner a broader kids’ proposition with an earlier entry point to our brands through the provision of a wholly preschool channel.

“Our audience can now grow with our brands, from Cartoonito to Boomerang to Cartoon Network and Cartoon Network Too.”

Added Cecilia Persson, vice President of programming, acquisition and presentation, Turner Kids Channels adds: “Cartoonito launched as a block in September 2006 with an array of popular programming including ‘Barney’, ‘Hi-5’ and more recently ‘Pororo.’

“It is a bright and happy destination that has been well received. The decision for it to become a full channel was backed by extensive research which indicated that a preschool channel works best when it matches the typical day of its audience.

“This is why we have introduced day parting to reflect the lives of preschoolers and their parents, splitting programming and interstitials into clearly defined moods and activities such as storytelling and getting ready for bed.”

Turner indicated that if Cartoonito proves successful in its new guise the channel could be rolled out in other markets.