Exclusive: WBD looks to broaden kids offer in EMEA & eyes coproductions

Goat Girl

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) EMEA is looking to broaden the appeal and range of its kids & family offering, with coproductions being sought and shows for tweens in demand.

Speaking to TBI at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France, Sean Henry, VP of content strategy and acquisitions for kids, EMEA, explained that the company is looking to co-produce and acquire shows that appeal to “all kids aged 6+”.

Currently, “more boys have been watching our network channels than girls,” said Henry, who oversees the kids and family content pipeline for brands including HBO Max, Cartoon Network and Cartoonito in EMEA. He points to upcoming shows such as Goat Girl and the returning Totally Spies! that are “quite different to what we have done before” and of broader appeal.

“But we’re also looking for things that might skew a little bit older, something that a tween audience can enjoy, maybe families as well. Gremlins: Secrets Of The Mogwai, which is coming next year, is a really good example of that.”

Henry said that this upcoming animated spin-off from the Gremlins feature films was the kind of co-viewing event experience that he believes can “help us broaden the appeal beyond the existing core.”

Comedies have “always been at the heart” of Cartoon Network, added Henry, who said his team is always looking for such projects as the genre “really drives peak viewing.”

Speaking in a panel session at the festival, Henry said that WBD wants to see “everything, content for all kids ages, all demos,” and, expanding on the point to TBI, explained: “What we are doing as a team is to not set too many parameters for people who are pitching to us.

“Sometimes you don’t know a great idea until you see it, so what I’d encourage creators and distributors to do, if they think it’s relevant for the brand and the audience, most importantly, 6-12-year-olds, pitch it to us and let’s have a discussion.”

Henry revealed that his team is “not really in a position to develop an idea from scratch” and won’t fully fund any productions, so are always looking for co-production partners.

It’s great for you to come to us with a financing plan and then that’s something we can take forward,” said the exec, adding that if a promising project in need of further development was brought to him, it could potentially be taken forward by the development team at Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe.

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