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Comedy Rules, But It's Still Hard To Laugh All The Way to the Bank.

Two companies in France and one each in Italy and Germany offered a challenging but promising picture of children's animation in Europe, despite tighter budgets, increased competition and market fragmentation.

According to Marie Conge of France's Go-N, tighter budgets means fewer high quality shows. But both Nicolas Atlan of France's Gaumont and Jo Daris of Germany's Studio 100 spoke of added competition. "In the last few years there has been a rise in the number of players in the market," commented Daris. Added Atlan: "In France there are a lot of producers and competition is very high. It's hard to find talent."

To Micheline Azoury of Italy's Mondo TV, market fragmentation represents the biggest challenge: "New ways of watching TV are altering the relationship between consumer and advertiser," she said.

Even though competition is increasing, also increasing is the number of territories and outlets to market children's animation.

China is opening up, but as g Conge commented, "It can be I hard to manage."

Similarly, Atlan said: "China is opening up for co-productions [but] it is still a challenge for sales." Daris seemed to be more optimistic: "China is opening up gradually for non-Chinese content and there is also an interest in co-production and partnerships with non-Chinese production companies," and added: "Due to new tax incentives, animation by now takes place more readily in France than in the Far East."

Other territories showing improvements are LATAM and South Korea for Go-N, and Europe for Mondo TV, in particular Germany, Austria and Switzerland. "[But] our biggest breakthrough," added Azoury, "has been in Latin America with Nickelodeon LatAm, A+Mexico and soon FTA in Chile and Peru."

In terms of trends, comedic shows seemed to be high on everyone's agenda. "I see a lot of comedy for sure," commented Gaumont's Atlan. Echoed Go-N's Conge: "We're focusing on comedy, and also action-adventure with comedy content to it." And, added Atlan, "By talking to broadcasters, comedy is still the main thing. The trend is both adventure and comedy."

"A growing trend is live-action comedy drama for the teen market. In fact many broadcasters are opening slots on their schedules for this genre," Mondo TV's Azoury concurred. "Non gender-specific shows and comedy still rule this year."

To Daris, the trend is that "In Europe, writing--in comparison to the U.S.--is getting better and there is a broader variation in formats, like hybrid shows with a mix of live action and animated sequences. [But] generally, it is still important to build and establish brands." Said Atlan: "The quality of animation all around Europe has really improved."

Ultimately though, all children's animation companies have to make money and here's how Studio 100's Daris summarized the challenge: "In the last few years there has been a rise in the number of players in the market--especially on the non-linear side, which leads to different and increased license terms that often cover non-linear rights packages without the potential for any increase of the license fee. The revenues generated by SVoD are good, but TV continues to remain the most important medium for establishing high awareness for a property and is thus still crucial especially for our merchandising and licensing partners. The growth of non-linear offers puts traditional linear broadcasters under pressure and that results again in lower license fees."

Caption: Studio 100's Jo Daris

Caption: Mondo TV's Micheline Azoury
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Title Annotation:Animation in Europe
Comment:Comedy Rules, But It's Still Hard To Laugh All The Way to the Bank.(Animation in Europe)
Publication:Video Age International
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Oct 1, 2017
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