Building a strong digital presence is essential, say experts at Cartoon Digital
- The panel saw the participation of Entertainment One president Olivier Dumont and Rainbow’s SVP Contents and Acquisitions, Cristiana Buazzelli
The second day of Cartoon Digital 2021 (26-28 May) hosted a discussion entitled “What Is the Added Value of Digital Space for Successful Animated IPs?”, moderated by Cristina Angelucci, editor-in-chief of the Italian trade publication Licensing Magazine. The panel saw the participation of Entertainment One president Olivier Dumont and Rainbow’s SVP Contents & Acquisitions, Cristiana Buazzelli. Before introducing the speakers, Angelucci explained that the talk was aimed at identifying the digital challenges that entertainment companies are currently facing while promoting their brands and engaging with their audiences.
Buazzelli shared a case study on one of Rainbow’s biggest successes, Winx Club [+see also:
film profile]. First, she touched upon the project’s milestones, including its initial broadcast back in 2004, the making of eight TV series, four TV films, two Netflix spin-off series, many live shows and several successful merchandising campaigns. However, she explained that it took time to build up a solid digital presence; for example, the official website was launched in 2003, and as of today, it is fully responsive and available in 22 languages. “We entered YouTube in 2012, when it opened up the Content ID tool, and now we have an official channel in 14 languages,” said Buazzelli. She added that the franchise’s presence on Facebook was kicked off in 2011 and on Instagram in 2015. Currently, there are also seven Winx-related apps on the market. She explained that their work with VoD platforms started hesitantly in 2010, but they have now established a dense network of partnerships with many global, regional and local players.
The project’s “global footprint” was accompanied by a series of dedicated events celebrating Winx Club as a pop-culture phenomenon and taking place in Singapore, at Venice’s Mostra, in New York and at San Diego’s Comic-Con, among other locations. The partnership with Netflix has proven particularly fruitful, as it fully embraces the Los Gatos-based platform’s editorial policies of promoting girl empowerment as well as diversity. The brand’s strong digital presence, Buazzelli argues, helped to develop a solid fanbase of viewers who were children back in the early 2000s and who are now young adult women attracted by a sort of “girlhood nostalgia”. Towards the end of her presentation, Buazzelli explained the foundations of the so-called “virtuous circle of Winx Club”, achieved by alternating between new animated and live-action content, and then boosted by social media and promotional coverage.
Next, Dumont spoke about his company’s numerous IPs and its core strategy to create content that can engage kids and families of all kinds, regardless of their country of origin or revenue, along with the commitment to make its brands accessible, so that children can have their favourite heroes “in their pocket”. He then talked about the incredible success of Peppa Pig, now the most-streamed preschool show for kids of any age in the world. Similarly to Rainbow, Entertainment One also started out by developing a strong presence on YouTube, initially driven by exposure, rather than YouTube revenues, and now having racked up over 110 million subscribers and 148 billion lifetime views. Peppa Pig’s digital strategy is rich and diversified, as it involves new partnerships, app content, music videos, experiential content, stop-motion toy videos, more episodes stretching out until 2027 and the franchise’s specials. Later, he touched upon PJ Masks’ “show to shelf” original content and apps, pointing out how important it is to take maximum advantage of seasonal and key cultural moments to gain reach and engagement as well as crafting videos closely connected to content.
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