17 Oct 2017
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Storytelling key for Amazon’s kid content

MUMBAI: Innovation in design or storytelling is key for Amazon when making a decision on whether or not to go ahead with commissioning a kids show.

At the recently concluded MipJunior trade event in Cannes, France for kids channels and content creators there was a panel discussion called ‘What do Channels and Platforms Want?’.

A report in Mipblog noted that the panel included Amazon Studios head of kids’ programming Tara Sorensen; Canal+ Groupe head of children’s programmes and channels Laurence Blaevoet, Disney XD senior VP, GM Marc Buhaj and CBBC creative director, scripted, animation and co-productions Sarah Muller. The moderator was WorldScreen group editorial director Anna Carugati.

Sorensen talked about how Amazon approached its children’s offering. It started with the pre-school age group. “Our curriculum really focuses on right-brain thinking, creativity, so we weren’t really competing with the core curriculum of other channels,” she said.

Sorensen said that innovation in design or storytelling is important for Amazon when commissioning a show. “We are medium-agnostic, which is to say we will do live-action, we will do animation, we will do CG, we will do hybrid, we will do puppet. Right now we are looking to fill the pipeline in animation… but otherwise we are open to anything unique that hasn’t been done before.”

Buhaj, the Mipblog report added, talked about Disney XD as “the laboratory” for Disney: “The philosophy of us is we want to push, research, try things, and come up with storytelling, content and narrative that kids absolutely need.”

“We are looking for stuff that’s really really good, but incredibly cheap!” joked Buhaj. “It is really important to have a strong creative point of view… and at the end of the day we want to meet smart people and smart studios.”

Meanwhile, Muller talked about her mandate “to deliver a world view that includes all children: we hold a mirror up to reflect society for all children, so you will find the widest range of content on CBBC… everything from really quite hard-hitting documentary dealing with quite tough subjects like autism, bereavement and substance abuse within families, through to gender issues for children… through to news, sports, factual entertainment, comedy and drama.”