Exclusive: Kids’ TV leaders talk financial and culture benefits of co-productions

Co-productions are helping to drive quality and increase cultural diversity on children’s shows, say leading kids’ TV industry figures.

Speaking on yesterday’s TBI Talks (click here to watch on demand), Shabnam Rezaei, co-founder and president of Canadian-US animation studio Big Bad Boo, producer of Hulu’s The Bravest Knight, highlighted how she has seen the number of co-productions on the rise for several years and that the current climate means they make sense “now more than ever”.

“We have all the French-Canadian and English-Canadian broadcasters as partners and they have been talking about co-productions for a very long time, simply because it makes financial sense,” said Rezaei. “The cost of production wants to be kept high, because we want to produce really high-quality shows that are in line with a Netflix show or as Disney show and so co-productions make sense.”

Rezaei added that this desire to maintain high quality productions has led to alliances between the likes of Canada’s CBC, the UK’s BBC and ABC Australia “because they’re very like-minded in the children’s space and they want to work together.”

Nina Hahn, SVP of international production and development at Nickelodeon International, who also took part in the webinar, gave a specific example of an upcoming co-production at the company, which she said would represent the best of both Eastern and Western cultures.

“We’re actually half-way through production on a project, The Twisted Timeline Of Sammy And Raj, which is a co-production between ourselves and Viacom18, which is our Nickelodeon Indian arm,” revealed Hahn.

“There is so much amazing content in India and so much amazing content in the West, but never the two sort of meet, and so we sat down to create a show which takes the Indian culture and is reflective of what works in India, but also has what works in terms of ingredients of stories that are told in the West.”

Hahn explained: “We put it together and came back with this show, which is an amazingly fun show acted by Indian actors, written by an Indian and West writing team and it’s a real collage of the two to take the best of both East and West to make a show.”

Read Next