Aly Jetha: This is a very exciting year. We just expanded our New York office so that we can support our oznoz.com launch. Our Vancouver Studio continues to do well and turn out great animation. Our show 1001 Nights has been picked up around the world. We continue to sell our line-up of proprietary properties (Mixed Nutz, 1001 Nights) to TV stations and content providers around the world. We are looking to green light a third season of 1001 Nights soon.
We are also launching oznoz.com with Sesame Street and acquiring top quality content for that platform. We are also looking to enter into some exciting partnerships for distribution and development of new properties. We have lots of goals and high hopes for this new year.How is 1001 Nights doing?
Shabnam Rezaei: 1001 Nights has just launched worldwide on major networks. Teletoon in Canada is airing Season One with great success. The audience in Canada is wonderful and we’ve received lots of good feedback from our friends and fans telling us how much they love the characters of Shahrzad, Maymoon the monkey, the kids, and also recurring heroes like Sinbad. In French speaking Canada, we’ve had a wonderful dub partner in Technicolor and we are now broadcasting the show on the biggest channel, which is CBC Radio Canada. Worldwide, we have sold into more than 50 countries and are almost complete with Season Two. Our #1 Show Rating at Mip Junior’s Top 30 List in Cannes really help put us on the map and shine a light on what a great comedy series this is for the whole family. We had a lot of views in Cannes and it’s a testament to great writing and great animation from our crew.Is 1001 Nights also available in the multiscreen format and what else do you forecast for brand extension?
Aly: The show is not only available around the world on many TV stations but digital version of it is available on different platforms depending on the territories. We also have comic books that supplement the series and are in talks about publishing novels in the same style as Harry Pottery with a major publishing house right now. Licensing and merchandising of our characters, including theme park plays and fast food toys are some of the other ideas we have been approached about and are very excited to enter into. While our target age group is 6-9, this is clearly a family show that can extend to many merchandising opportunities. Another avenue we’ve taken is developing some fun online games and adventures using the over 100 characters our audience meets through the Nights Tales. This is just the beginning for us.What are you presenting at Kidscreen and what are your goals this year?
Aly: We are also presenting our new distribution
platform Oznoz.com and looking to
acquire additional content to distribute on
Oznoz. The site targets bilingual families
who want their kids to be immersed in a
second language through great cartoons,
books and games. We just celebrated the
Chinese New Year by offering for the first
time Wake Up With Elmo in Chinese to
North American audiences. There is a real
hunger for this type of product and what
better way to introduce kids to a new language
than with Sesame Street. Oznoz has
just brought on many titles with Elmo, Zoe
and all the other wonderful characters of
Sesame. We have DVDs in French, Arabic,
Japanese, Hindi and much more.
Shabnam: We have lots of goals for Kidscreen. Sell more of our Big Bad Boo property line-up. That includes our series Mixed Nutz and of course 1001 Nights. We have 3 other properties in development, which we are pitching in this round to major stations and also looking for co-production partners around the world.
Aly: We have always wanted to do co-productions and have a lot of great partners in mind once we can find the right opportunity. Given that we are a Canadian Studio, there are lots of countries that have wonderful co-production treaties we hope to take advantage of. We have some shows in development right now that are puppet-based or CGI and our studio in Vancouver is a 2D shop, so for those instances, we really are looking to partner with some top-notch studios around the world.What are the trendsetters in the global animation space today?
Shabnam: Our philosophy when it comes to trendsetting is to do the show that feels the best for today’s audience. We don’t like to chase other shows or try to “be the next spongebob”. One of our development projects today called “Astra’s World”, which is a preschool show and very well received, tries to combine a Technology curriculum into the storylines so that kids can identify better with the characters. We find through interaction with our fans and family that every kid is now so digitally connected and we need to create characters that are living a similar lifestyle. It’s no longer about the TV or the iPad but an integrated experience and enjoyment of a brand at multiple touch points. We are hoping “Astra’s World”, which follows the mission of our super Astronaut “Astra” will take off soon.