Monday, October 8, 2012
Cartoon Network may take on Angry Birds with own digital IP
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/appsblog/2012/oct/06/cartoon-network-mipjunior-stuart-snyder Cartoon Network is considering developing original content as apps and games first rather than as TV shows, in an effort to create its own digital brands to rival the likes of Angry Birds. "One of the things we are considering and talking about is how do we play in that digital space for original content?" said Stuart Snyder, president and chief operating officer of parent company Turner's Animation, Young Adults and Kids division. "I don't think everything has to be created as a show. Things can be developed as shorts, they can start as games, they can start as apps… That is the nature, more and more, of where the business needs to think of itself." Speaking at the MIPJunior conference in Cannes, Snyder declined to give specific details of any games or apps that are being created, but he confirmed that "more and more things are in development for us in that direction". "People come in and want to do a show, but think about the characters. What's the best way to launch these characters? Maybe it's a game, maybe it's a short. That's what the freedom of today provides." Snyder was keen to stress Cartoon Network's desire to embrace new technology and distribution platforms, rather than fight it, although he's far from the only television executive paying lip service to this message on a conference stage. The proof will come with Cartoon Network's projects. "The great thing about technology today is it's lowering the barriers for creative talent to get things out there," said Snyder. "Shorts are everywhere now, on the internet… We picked up Annoying Orange, which is a web phenomenon. Anyone can now put out stuff because of technology." But he suggested that Cartoon Network and other established channels will continue to play an important curatorial role, discovering the best shorts and characters and bringing them to a wide audience. This, despite his channel and others facing competition from YouTube, which is investing heavily in original content for its service. A threat? Snyder's public face was one of unconcern. "YouTube having all these channels? That is just another option. I'm not sure at the end of the day that just 'more is more' is going to cause success," he said. "At the end of the day, this is about great storytelling, great characters, and an audience finding it… Frankly in our space right now, what's happening is there's a lot more clutter. Our challenge is to be that company that continues to find things that break through." That challenge extends to making use of every distribution channel possible for those breakthroughs. Snyder said Cartoon Network is alive to the necessity of looking beyond the television to reach its young audience. "Through our TV Everywhere efforts, we know it's critical to get our content to kids as often and on as many different platforms as possible," said Snyder. For Cartoon Network, that includes a revamped version of its app, which enables children to watch videos and live television, while simultaneously playing games via a split-screen interface on their iPad. That said, Snyder said he prefers not to pontificate too much on what the next big technological trend for children's entertainment will be, preferring to listen to Cartoon Network's audience to gauge their changing media habits. "We're trying to understand how kids are using technology, and being there with them, whether it's games, shorts or full episodes," he said. "The minute we think we know what's next, we won't know what's next. They'll tell us what's next."