To get international producers' perspectives on the role of publishing in the children's TV business, VideoAge contacted animation companies in Canada, Germany, and Italy.
VideoAge spoke with Kristin Lecour, vice president, Consumer Products, 9 Story Brands, and Hayley Solman, development executive, 9 Story Media Group (who shared their comments), Peter Kleinschmidt, international commercial director of Studio 100, and Valentina La Macchia, licensing director of Mondo TV Group.
VideoAge: When is it strategically important to publish?
9 Story: While historically we have tended to launch publishing programs after our series are up and running, we are currently working on a property that we feel might benefit from launching a few books prior to content. Every scenario is different and we make sure that we are not following any sort of formula, but are doing what is best for each brand.
Valentina La Macchia: We only collaborate with publishers who are both committed to our brands and who can guarantee that there will be product availability alongside the TV launch. We believe it's essential to ensure that books are on sale while the series is on air. That said, books might sometimes appear before the broadcast date, if, say, the content is educational or the editorial content is interesting in itself and only indirectly related to the show.
Peter Kleinschmidt: Publishing at the same time as the broadcast launch, or within a certain time range, is better for both the show and the books. In general, products that transport or extend the content of the show towards the target group support the broadcast and enable kids to delve deeper into the stories while identifying with the characters. Thus, the brand can grow steadily, and at a later stage, other products from various licensing categories can follow. We always strive to find the best publishing partner for our brands during the development and production phase, to reach a maximum of synergies and plan the timing for a perfect launch.
VA: When is it better that the book reflects the script, and when should it only take inspiration?
9S: We evaluate this on a case-by-case basis as each property offers a unique set of opportunities. We review the source material and determine what will be the most engaging way to bring these characters and their worlds to a new medium. Oftentimes, we set out to retain the evergreen qualities of the books in our television series. We want our series to have...