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International Newswire: HBO Nordic, Turner Launch New OTT Toonix Brand

Sourcing Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. Animation, Toonix bows as Turner rings its options on content delivery

In today’s International Newswire, Turner and HBO launch a new OTT family brand in Scandinavia; Lionsgate UK re-teams with Noel Clarke; and as the TV industry builds up for mid-month’s Mipcom trade fair, Keshet Intl. revealing its Mipcom slate, a report suggests television remains the preferred screen of choice  for viewing programs.

HBO Nordic, which operates in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, has launched Turner’s brand-new children and family OTT service Toonix. Created by Turner EMEA, Toonix is targeted at 3-12-year-olds and their families. The service will offer a mix of kids’ series and movies, including popular content from Turner’s Cartoon Network Studios and Warner Bros. Animation. Among its key shows are “The Amazing World of Gumball,” “Lego Ninjago,” “Looney Tunes” and “The Powerpuff Girls,” all of which are fully localized, with offerings in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish. Toonix will be available for consumers on www.hbonordic.com and through selected distribution partners in the Nordic region.

HBO Nordic has already broadened its offer sourcing content from not only HBO but also high-profile series from Showtime (“Twin Peaks”) and Hulu (“The Handmaid’s Tale”). The Toonix launch strengthens its family appeal as it faces off with not only Netflix but also Modern Times Group’s Nordic streaming service Viaplay in a highly competitive and relatively wealthy Scandinavian OTT market which places a high premium on children’s entertainment. HBO Europe and Netflix both announced their first commissioned original series last month, HBO’s a comedy-drama, “Gosta,” from reputed filmmaker Lukas Moodysson (“Mammoth”).

LIONSGATE UK RE-TEAMS WITH NOEL CLARKE FOR TV ADAPTATION OF ‘KIDULTHOOD’ 

Lionsgate UK is re-teaming with British multi-hyphenate Noel Clarke on a TV series adaptation of the 2006 teen drama “Kidulthood.” Clarke wrote and starred in the film, which followed a group of troubled teens in West London. He went on to write and direct two sequels, 2008’s “Adulthood” and 2016’s “Brotherhood.” Released in Britain by Lionsgate UK, “Brotherhood” became a solid hit, earning £3.7 million ($4.9 million) at the box office. The trilogy has achieved a combined U.K. box office of £7.5 million ($9.9 million) and sold more than 1.3 million units on DVD. The new TV series promises to stay “very true to the heart of the film franchise but refreshes the concept for a new platform and a new catchment audience.” While introducing a host of new characters, the show will also feature the odd familiar face.

“Adapting Kidulthood for television allows fans to watch new characters deal with new problems in the world I created with my team,” Clarke said.

Added Lionsgate CEO Zygi Kamasa, “Noel has a reputation for always being socially relevant, knowing how to deliver authentic entertainment to audiences and his newly drafted script proves that this reputation will continue in TV format.”

BBC ONE’S ‘DOCTOR FOSTER’ TO SEE RUSSIAN MAKEOVER

BBC One’s hit drama “Doctor Foster” is set for a Russian remake. BBC Worldwide has licensed the scripted format to production company Star Media for broadcast on Russia 1 next year.  Russian actress Kseniya Rappoport has been cast for the lead role. “The power of the writing, universality of the subject matter and success of the English-language original all make this a compelling and very exciting series to bring to Russian audiences,” said Star Media CEO Vlad Riashyn. Created by Mike Bartlett, the award-winning series starring Suranne Jones is currently in its second season in the U.K.

KESHET INTL. REVEALS MIPCOM SLATE

Hit Israeli show “Masters of Dance” is headlining Keshet International’s diverse slate at the upcoming Mipcom. The show has been a summer ratings smash in Israel, garnering an average 35% share, with delayed and online viewing accounting for an increase of 36% and 3.7 million views on the MAKO web portal. A second season has already been commissioned. Keshet will also present “Domination,” a primetime game show recently launched on Keshet Broadcasting, and, from Keshet UK, “Celebrity Showmance,” a comedy entertainment format showcasing the public antics of celebrity couples, social media and fake news. The show debuts Oct. 4 on ITV2.

TV SETS STILL RULE,  EURODATA REPORT SUGGESTS

TV unquestionably remains the preferred screen for viewing programs, according to Eurodata TV Worldwide and Tape Consultancy. According to their mid-year review, presented Tuesday in London, viewers in Europe’s top five countries (France, Germany, U.K., Spain and Italy) watched TV for an average of 3 hours and 48 minutes per day in the first half of 2017. The report indicates, however, that Internet viewing continues to enjoy growing success in TV media consumption. “In the major European countries, watching television programs on Internet is becoming general practice, and it can represent a substantial additional audience for certain content, such as targeted fictional content or youth entertainment,” said Frédéric Vaulpré, vice president of Eurodata TV Worldwide.

IDFA READIES CINEMATOGRAPHY SHOWCASE

The upcoming International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) is marking its 30th anniversary this year with a special focus on cinematography in documentary film. As part of its Camera in Focus program, established cinematographers and up-and-coming talent will attend the festival and discuss their work. Among the guest speakers will be Wolfgang Thaler, who worked regularly with the late Austrian filmmaker Michael Glawogger (“Whore’s Glory”); Pierre Lhomme, who will discuss his work on Chris Marker’s 1963 documentary “Le joli mai”; Finnish filmmaker Pirjo Honkasalo (“Atman”) and Ed Lachman, who will discuss his work on Wim Wenders’ “Tokyo-ga.” IDFA will take place Nov. 15-26.

John Hopewell contributed to this article

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