CANNES — Andy Yeatman, Netflix’s head of Global Kids Content and 2017 MIP Junior keynote speaker, was asked how he limited the amount of television he allows his three young daughters to watch.
Simple, says Yeatman,
“They only watch TV on iPads, and we keep them high up out of reach when showtime is over.”
Huh. Never thought of that when my kids were little. ‘Course, back then, it would have been a killer humping that bulky boat anchor of a 25-inch Zenith up and down off the top of the refrigerator.
Need more evidence the TV world is changing? Yeatman packed the big room Sunday at MIP Junior even though Netflix doesn’t plaster images of their shows on billboards across town as their terrestrial rivals do. Nor do they even have the decency to buy a damn booth like the other players.
They just come in, over the top, shock the old gang with an endless parade of content, mention their 104 million subscribers, and leave.
Get this: Netflix will launch 37 “original” kids shows in 2017. (They deem shows they acquire,and invest in from many countries as “originals.”)
Given how several of these shows can be split into two separate seasons, they basically launch a new children’s show every Friday, 52 weeks of the year.
Yeatman shared some of Netflix’s acquisition strategies with the crowd who filled every seat in the Marriott hotel’s Grand Theatre. Basically: identify what works for a local broadcaster, the top IP in a local market. Buy it. Call it a Netflix original. Run it around the world.
He showed a slide of three new, animated, children’s shows made in Canada for Netflix. While on stage, he wore a T-shirt featuring one of thenew Canadian shows.
Coexist with linear and home video, Launch shows around the world on the same day. Launch entire seasons all at once (kids like to binge, too). Make everything available on-demand.
Yeatman says almost half of Netflix’s children’s programming is produced outside the United States. He noted that there is no house style at the streaming service. One of their latest acquisitions is a good example. Mighty Little Bheem, from India, does not look like their other shows. It’s about an Indian toddler named Bheem who talks baby talk. The gibberish makes the tyke easy to export, says Yeatman. Avoid shows with lots of pesky dialogue, the exec advised. Look for an easily understood hook.
Bheem should be easy to merch, too. Stealing a page from the Disney playbook, Yeatman says Netflix is getting more aggressive in the dolls and book spin-offs. They’ve hired a merchandising and licensing team.
The TV world is changing, but Yeatman said Netflix’s own research shows one thing remains the same: Saturday mornings are still a peak time for children’s viewing. So take those iPads down from the top shelves every weekend.