Cartoon Network Africa’s Future Plans For More Local Content And Viewing Ratings Performance
South African media news website – The Media Online has interviewed the channel manager of Turner Africa (and France) – Julien Borde, in the interview, Julien talked about the new pop-up channel in Africa – Superhero HQ, new local content and viewing ratings.
Regarding the temporary pop-up channel – Superhero HQ (Super-powered by Cartoon Network), Julien said a channel was needed to target both adults and kids, as 51% of CN’s audience are in fact adults and includes adults who watch animation with their children, as TV shows and movies about superheroes are popular at the moment, it was an ideal theme for the pop-up channel. Superhero HQ was set up to air during the school holidays, which is when children’s television broadcasters have a captive audience and Cartoon Network wanted to make use of its animation library, which includes CN’s original programming, content from Warner Bros. Animation and some acquisitions. In order to localise the channel for an African audience, Turner hired South African comedian Mojak Lehoko who created some superhero related comedy sketches for the channel.
Local Content and Localisation
Julien Borde also said that there will be more local content appearing on Cartoon Network Africa very soon, including a second season of the dance show – Pop Up Party and magic show – WOOALA! Pop Up Party season two will feature 15 super-talented kids from different backgrounds in Cape Town going head to head to express themselves through movement and dance. In WOOALA!, Wian, a 23-year-old South African magician, will use everyday objects to perform illusions and magic tricks that will amaze children and their parents.
Cartoon Network Africa also developed its new Creative Lab initiative, which is an opportunity for potential African animated show creators. The winning shorts are currently being produced and will be shown at DISCOP Johannesburg 2019 in November. After some market research, it was revealed that the African market is very interested in anime as a comic form, Cartoon Network Africa has acknowledged the findings and will premiere a new anime series on Cartoon Network Africa on Saturday 27th April – Bakugan: Battle Planet.
Viewing Ratings, VOD, Content Distribution
Turner’s content is distributed to 56 different countries in Africa, because of local differences, Turner has to make sure its content is suitable for each market it broadcasts to. Turner Africa had a successful end to 2018 with the children’s channel multiplex (Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing and Toonami) and TNT reaching new viewing rating highs.
Cartoon Network remains to be the favourite children’s channel in South Africa, dominating the top 15 best performing shows. Cartoon Network’s Ben 10, Apple and Onion and Craig of the Creek are particularly popular in Africa. Boomerang is also growing, its now the second favourite childrens channel in Africa, for kids aged between 4 and 14 years old, it’s also the second most popular channel in French speaking Africa (Boomerang France is received in Francophone Africa). Recently, TNT was the second movie channel within the total African movie channel movie market (source: AGB Nielsen).
In Africa, conventional linear pay-TV is still a popular option for entertainment, however Turner has worked with DStv to provide programming on its Catch Up VOD (Video On-Demand) service and is distributing Boing Africa and Toonami Africa on Cell-C’s live-streaming service – Black. Turner also formed a partnership with South Africa-based streaming service Showmax, the deal included Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim programming.
Cartoon Network Africa Upfront Event, Cartoon Network Africa Creative Lab Winner Announced
Turner Africa held an upfront event in Johannesburg, South Africa this Tuesday (13th November), unveiling a new lineup of programming, content and partnerships for its kids channels Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing and Toonami and also its recently launched TNT channel, which replaced TCM (Turner Classic Movies) in Africa. The new TNT channel airs a variety of Hollywood blockbusters (with popular movies such as The Illusionist, Crank, Robin Hood, Gladiator, The Island, Jurassic Park and King Kong) and has achieved a 45% ratings increase since its launch in September. Compared to other multinational broadcasters in Africa, Turner is also a leader in local content. Turner’s channels broadcast to 54 countries in Africa in four different languages: English, French, Portuguese and Arabic, with the Arabic language channels ran by a separate Middle East and North Africa team. The special Upfront event was hosted by South African comedian Nicholas Goliath along with senior members of Turner Africa’s team.
There’s more than 20 million Cartoon Network fans in South Africa alone, and many more across the African continent. Next year, Cartoon Network Africa will air 325 hours of new content, which will include six exclusive new shows and 1,325 new episodes. According to the 2018 Sunday Times Generation Next Youth Survey, Cartoon Network is the “Coolest Kids TV Channel” in South Africa and is also the second coolest channel overall for the third consecutive year. Next year, CN fans in Africa will be treated to a brand new Cartoon Network original series – Victor and Valentino and just before the end of the year on 23rd December, Summer Camp Island will premiere (following a sneak peek episode on 13th December). Local content coming soon to Cartoon Network include a second season on Pop Up Party where kids take part in dance challenges and also the launch of an animated shorts series called Mike and Rob, the shorts follows two microbes making jokes with local references voiced by South African comedian – Trevor Gumbi.
Pop Up Party season 2, where we see local kids expressing themselves through some incredible dance challenges; the launch of Mike and Rob, a series show-casing two witty microbes making jokes with local reference voiced by local comedian, Trevor Gumbi; and African magic will take center stage in Boomerang’s new exciting local production set to hit screens in 2019.
Boomerang also recently undergone a fresh in many territories across the EMEA region, including Boomerang Africa which had a refresh this month, the channel also has a new brand positioning called “Watch. Laugh. Play”, In 2019, Boomerang will continue to air The Tom and Jerry Show (voted “Coolest Animated Brand or Entertainment Characters” in the Sunday Times Generation Next 2018 Youth Survey), Grizzy and the Lemmings and The Happos Family. Also coming in December this year, Boomerang Africa will be airing a world premiere – Taffy, which is a co-production between Turner EMEA and France’s Cyber Group Studios. Also, African magic will take center stage in Boomerang Africa’s new exciting local production due to air in 2019.
Cartoon Network Africa’s and Boomerang Africa’s December 2018 Highlights, with info about Summer Camp Island and Taffy:
In a statement regarding the audiences of Turner’s properties in Africa, Jaime Ondarza, Senior Vice President for Turner Southern Europe & Africa said:
“As Turner, our audience needs are becoming more pertinent and we’re constantly challenging ourselves to be more innovative and creative in our offering to keep attracting and entertaining our loyal fan base, on-air, on-line and for-real. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing the best service and high-standard content to our fans. We are benefiting from high awareness and a great level of brand recognition with our brands in Africa. CNN International is widely known to be the most trusted source for news and information on the continent while our kids’ channels, Cartoon Network and Boomerang, have been leading and gaining market share within the pay TV kids industry for almost four years in a row.”
Back in June this year, Cartoon Network Africa launched a new initiative called “Creative Lab”, is a creative competition where the winner and runner-ups will be given the chance to produce a pilot for Cartoon Network Africa; the pilots will premiere on the channel next year. This week at the DISCOP Johannesburg media convention, the winners and runner-ups of Cartoon Network’s Creative Lab 2018 were announced, Moshood Ridwan from Nigeria won the top prize for his animated comedy idea – Garbage Boy and Trash Can. The pitch impressed the competition’s jury panel and approved of the show concept’s art style, absurd humour and funny characters. Garbage Boy and Trash Can follows self-proclaimed superhero Garbage Boy and his sidekick Trash Can on a mission to fight for justice.
While talking about Garbage Boy and Trash Can – Ariane Suveg, the Programming Director and Head of Kids Content for Turner Africa said: “Ridwan’s style is a perfect fit for the channel and shows fantastic graphism that makes the show instantly lovable, unique and full of energy.”
The runner-up entry – Intergalactic Ice Cream, created by John Phillips of South Africa, follows the life of a 13-year-old kid named Makhaya, whose afterschool job as a delivery boy for a mysterious ice cream parlor launches him into space where he goes on the craziest, danger-filled and dairy-fueled adventures this side of the Milky Way.
The other runner-up entry – Majitu by Mark Kinuthia from Kenya, is about two friends named Jasiri and Bokari, who are on a quest to rid the world of evil and stop a terrible witch from opening the gates between Earth and the phantom’s universe.
Regarding the competition entries for Cartoon Network Creative Lab, Ariane Suveg also added:
“Diverse and original content is what Cartoon Network is all about. Now, more than ever, we are on the lookout for something out of the norm, which challenges the status quo, new, irreverent, smart, truly African and unexpected! We were pleasantly surprised by the wealth of animation talent on the continent and the selection panel had a tough task; the editorial guidelines for the channel were very specific, and yet we received many applications.”
At the end of the upfront event, Turner Africa announced the winners of the brand new The Powerpuff Girls awards, which celebrates the achievements of young girls in Africa, whether its Science and Innovation, Leadership or Creativity and Art. Toya Delazy, the voice of Bliss in the African English language variant of The Powerpuff Girls hosted the awards ceremony. The Powerpuff Girls Awards were first announced in August this year.
Ten year-old Uviwe Bubu from South Africa, won the Blossom Award for Leadership. Uvine received the award for her Mini Sparkles project, which helps bring sanitary towels to underprivileged girls throughout Africa.
Twelve year-old Mwangala Maunga from Zambia, won the Buttercup Award for Innovation and Science, her solar-powered water purifier project which is now providing clean water in rural and local areas
Eleven year-old Daniella Soje from Nigeria won the Bubbles Award for Creativity and Art. Daniella’s Trash to Art project inspires young people to make better use of their waste for a better Africa.
Turner Africa has conducted extensive market research in Africa to better understand the audiences of its brands and also to find out what kind of local programming its viewers want, according to Julien Borde, Turner Africa’s head of channels, Cartoon Network Africa and Boomerang Africa will be producing a localised version of Cartoon Network EMEA’s (Europe, Middle East and Africa) YouTube series – Toony Tube. In terms of marketing and public relations, Cartoon Network will be at the Johannesburg Zoo on the 8th and 9th December and will also tour the Kwazulu-Natal coast for 10 days with Cartoon Network and Boomerang’s Beach Tour.
In terms of channel distribution, Turner Africa has distribution deals with TV platforms with various pay-TV platforms in Africa including MultiChoice (DStv), StarTimes, Orange, SFR/Altice, Canal Overseas and other regional services, also mobile streaming services such as Cell C’s Black streaming service and Maroc Telecom.
Some entertainment and news channels are already available on the Black streaming service and also DStv’s Catch Up and Now services. Turner Africa has also made a deal with a new SVOD (Subscription Video on-demand) service called Showmax, owned by Multichoice, from mid November, content from the U.S. number one cable network – Adult Swim will be available on the service, the service will also include content from Cartoon Network and Boomerang. Despite the closure of the pan-African Kwesé TV satellite pay-TV service earlier this month, Toonami Africa is still airing on Cell C’s Black streaming service, also in 2019, Toonami will air more Lego DC Comics content and also super-hero movies such as Justice League Universe. Next year, Toonami will also have new episodes of Dragon Ball Super and also a new show – Inazuma Eleven.
In 2019, Boing will premiere international animation shows such as My Knight and Me, DC Super Hero Girls and new seasons of The Jungle Bunch and Total Drama Action. Boomerang refreshed its on-air look this November with hilarious idents, a vibrant colour palette and a tone of voice which brings to life the brand proposition of ‘Watch. Laugh. Play’. We are excited to announce that the latest Cyber Group Studios animation production, Taffy, will be launching at the end of the year with the world premiere happening in Africa!
SABC (The South African Broadcasting Corporation) has signed a broadcasting rights deal with Turner Africa for Ben 10 – one of Cartoon Network’s most successful properties in terms of animated content and merchandise sales. SABC premiered Ben 10 in July, with a Afrikaans dub of the first season of Ben 10 airing on SABC2 and a SiSwati dub airing on SABC 1 later this year.
Regarding the Ben 10 broadcasting rights deal with SABC, Guillaume Coffin, VP Head of Commercial & Business Development at Turner Africa said:
“Partnering with the SABC reflects our strategy to expand our brands’ presence in South Africa. We are thrilled to bring Ben 10 to new fans and audiences across more screens and in new languages, Turner is dedicated to a localisation strategy that adapts to the cultural differences of its African markets. Implemented in recent years, this effort has helped Turner address the gap in locally-relevant content, drive programming that resonates with African audiences, and boost brand value across the continent. This collaboration allows new local audiences to engage in the Cartoon Network brand.”
Also earlier this year, Bafana Bafana’s (nickname for the South African Football team) midfielder, Reneilwe “Yeye” Letsholonyane, helped to promote Ben 10 during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
In terms of advertising, Turner has appointed advertising representatives Mediamark in South Africa, and Greenworld Communications in Nigeria in October.
Regarding the topic of advertising, Guillaume Coffin also added:
“Our wide portfolio allows us to target a large array of segments from families, to kids, through to young adults; we can offer our client fully integrated advertising offerings from non-linear to linear and on-the ground events. We are aware that clients are looking for fully integrated advertising package which Turner Africa is able to now do in South Africa and Nigeria”
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