Sparrowhawk Media, DIC Ent. and Corus Ent. Inc.s Nelvana Enterprises have created a strategic joint venture to launch KidsCo, a multi-platform global television channel for children and families. The first launch of KidsCo is anticipated this fall in central and eastern Europe with subsequent premieres throughout 2008 and 2009 in approximately 40 territories across Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific.
KidsCo, a 24/7 multi-platform channel, will be committed to providing a responsible and entertaining environment for children and families around the world. The unique channel utilizes Sparrowhawks state-of-the-art broadcast distribution facility in the U.S. and the companys international network of affiliates. Veteran media exec David Elstein is chairman of Sparrowhawk, and Hulbert, former president of Walt Disney International Television, is part of the management team at Sparrowhawk that launched and managed the Disney channels worldwide and currently broadcasts the international Hallmark channels.
KidsCo will feature renowned animated and live-action television series and feature-length movies from pre-eminent independent animation program suppliers, DIC and Nelvana. DICs programming library features more than 3,000 half-hours of top quality series, including INSPECTOR GADGET, STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE, MADELINE, DENNIS THE MENACE, CARE BEARS and more. Nelvana Enterprises catalog of 3,000 + half-hours of kids programming features international favorites, such as BABAR, FRANKLIN, THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN and ROLIE POLIE OLIE.
KidsCo will also acquire programming from other major childrens content suppliers, produce original properties to launch on the channel and will also feature prime-time family movies. KidsCo programming will be localized market-by-market and will be programmed by day-parts to create a strategic line-up targeting segmented audiences.
This alliance draws on the collective expertise of the best in the business, and the libraries of our content partners contain some of the worlds most popular childrens programming, said Hulbert, Sparrowhawk Media ceo. The combined experience within the KidsCo organization has enabled us to develop this concept based on an innovative business model from which we all benefit. He adds, Sparrowhawks global commercial and technical distribution networks manage the successful operation of the Hallmark Channel across more than 150 countries. It is this unique combination of assets that enable us to deliver KidsCo in an environment designed to reassure parents, at a price that platforms will find very refreshing.
As the childrens market continues to evolve it presents new challenges for program suppliers looking to find a home for their product, said Andy Heyward, chairman/ceo. The KidsCo collaboration allows Sparrowhawk, Corus and DIC to pioneer an innovative business model that allows us to own international broadcast real estate to showcase our existing catalogs, as well as launch new programming overseas. He added, KidsCo offers the partners a unique opportunity to merge their combined strengths to create a truly dynamic international distribution platform.
This partnership reinforces the strength of Nelvanas library in international markets, said John Cassaday, president/ceo, Corus Ent. We are proud to be partnering with Sparrowhawk Media and DIC Ent. to deliver on our shared mission of entertaining children and families around the globe. Sparrowhawks distribution expertise combined with Nelvana and DICs extensive libraries of parent-trusted programming will provide audiences with highly-entertaining, family-friendly experiences delivered in innovative ways.
Sparrowhawk Media (sparrowhawkmedia.com) is a group of media companies operating television channel broadcast and program distribution businesses worldwide. Backed by Providence Equity Partners and 3i, Sparrowhawk owns and broadcasts the international (non-U.S.) versions of the Hallmark Channel, Movies 24 and KidsCo. The 18 feeds for the international Hallmark Channel air across 152 countries to more than 60 million subscribers in the U.K., Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, Latin America and Asia. Movies 24 was recently launched on Sky and Virgin TV in the U.K. and will be rolled out internationally in the near future. Sparrowhawk also owns a state-of-the-art broadcast facility in Denver, Colorado, which provides transmission facilities for both the Sparrowhawk and third party channels operating as Sparrowhawk Broadcast Services. Sparrowhawks program distribution business owns the international rights to more than 580 miniseries/TV movie dramas in the Sparrowhawk Distribution Library (formerly the Crown Media/Hallmark Library) and also incorporates Sparrowhawks mobile video messaging business TxtBIG!
DIC Ent. (www.dicentertainment.com), a leading children's entertainment company, is a full-service studio dedicated to creating, developing, producing, distributing, marketing and merchandising family-based intellectual properties. In 2006, DIC and AOLs kids online destination KOL launched the new branded kids programming block, KOLs Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party for CBS. DIC has developed strategic partnerships with key domestic and international broadcast partners throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and Australia. DIC is headquartered in Burbank, California, with international offices in New York, Paris, London and Cologne.
Corus Ent. Inc. (www.corusent.com) is a Canadian-based media and entertainment company. Corus is a market leader in specialty television and radio with additional assets in pay television, advertising and digital audio services, television broadcasting, childrens book publishing and childrens animation. The companys multimedia entertainment brands include YTV, Treehouse, W Network, Movie Central, Nelvana, Kids Can Press and radio stations including CKNW, CKOI and Q107. Corus creates engaging branded entertainment experiences for its audiences across multiple platforms. A publicly traded company, Corus is listed on the Toronto and New York exchanges.