Turner Broadcasting is making some changes to its U.K. portfolio of kids’ channels, which includes Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Toonami, Cartoon Network Too and Boomerang +1. The news follows today’s announcement that Gametap senior VP and general manager Stuart Snyder has been tapped to head Turner’s to new Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media group.
On May 24, Toonami will officially become Cartoon Network Too, and will be available across Sky (602), Tiscali TV, Virgin TV and Top Up TV. The renamed outlet will feature top Toonami shows alongside current Cartoon Network favorites.
In addition, Cartoonito, the preschool block that currently airs daily on Cartoon Network Too between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m., will become a full preschool channel. The entity launched as a block in September of 2006, offering such shows as Barney, Hi-5 and Pororo. According to Cecilia Persson, VP of programming, acquisition and presentation for Turner Kids Channels, the decision to make it a full channel was backed by extensive research which indicated that a preschool channel works best when it matches the typical day of its audience. Cartoonito will continue soft learning of French in the interstitials via six unique characters called the Cartoonitos, and will also extend segments of the interstitials to introduce live-action short form content exclusively commissioned for the channel.
Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Boomerang +1 remain in their respective positions, but all channels will undergo a makeover that will phased in throughout the year. The first outlets to get a face lift will be Cartoon Network, Cartoon Network Too and Cartoonito.
‘These changes are designed to give Turner a broader kids’ proposition with an earlier entry point to our brands through the provision of a wholly preschool channel,’ says Dee Forbes, senior VP and GM of Turner Broadcasting UK and Ireland. ‘Our audience can now grow with our brands, from Cartoonito to Boomerang to Cartoon Network and Cartoon Network Too.’
Forbes goes on to say that Turner Broadcasting is aware that kids’ TV is highly competitive and has also taken industry-wide knocks in terms of advertising restrictions and depletion of original programming. She notes that Turner has recently upped the ante regarding original production by launching a dedicated Cartoon Network Development Studio that is charged with making U.K. produced content.