Snaptoons invade Cartoon Network

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | June 22, 2009
The kids' channel plans to develop these experimental Snaptoons minisodes into features or long series

Beginning June, Cartoon Network has been wooing kids with a new set of characters called Snaptoons.

It was way back in 2006 that the channel had announced its intent to develop homegrown cartoon heroes called Snaptoons (Short New Asia Pacific Cartoons). After two-and-a-half years, it's time for the channel to introduce new cartoon heroes to the kids and the marketers alike.

Introducing newly developed characters, the channel has come up with three Snaptoons minisodes, namely, Kul-Veera, Sulochana and Johnny Goes To Bollywood. Minisodes are short-duration films of 10-12 minutes each.

Sharing details about the Snaptoons initiative, Monica Tata, vice-president and deputy general manager, Entertainment Networks, South Asia, Turner International India, says, "Snaptoons, as such, is unlike any other project, as it is not a product of a regular brief-ideation process followed by the channel. Instead, it is a concept that emerged from soliciting ideas from the Asia-Pacific region. For developing homegrown characters, we received as many as 301 pitches from countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Australia."

Out of the total entries, Cartoon Network short-listed 10, of which five were from India itself. Tata pointed out that this proves that the country is a great incubator of ideas.

For the three Snaptoons, Cartoon Network collaborated with media houses such as Graphiti Multimedia (Kul-Veera), Famous House of Animation (Johnny Goes To Bollywood) and Miditech (Sulochana).

The three minisodes are already on air and on June 28, the channel plans to air them back to back, starting at 5:30 pm. Tata explains, "These Snaptoons further prove our commitment towards encouraging and developing homegrown animation for kids. We are measuring the kids' as well as marketers' response to these productions. Depending upon the feedback and viable economic model, we will take a call on converting them into longer formats of entertainment."

The channel will take a call on the future form and scope of these experimental Snaptoons, keeping in mind whether the concept lends itself better to the theatrical medium or the television format.

Silas Hickey, creative director, Asia Pacific Animation Development, Turner Entertainment Networks Asia, explains, "Kul-Veera represents the action genre, with iconic characters of the Mahabharata acting as inspiration for a contemporary rendition of a story. Sulochana is a comedy adventure focusing on a girl who has animals for friends. Johnny Goes To Bollywood is about the wild dreams of a young man to be loved by one and all in the fascinating city of glamour, Mumbai."

Hickey believes that the Mahabharata's characters beautifully lend themselves for great animation. A strong character that can lead the story is a must for a captivating animation project.

Tata informs that the Snaptoons minisodes will be taken off air after June 28, as these are not meant to increase stickiness for the channel or to serve as a tool for increasing the channel's TRPs.

The idea is to test the kids' response by making them sample these new characters and then come out with bigger entertaining fare around the Snaptoons.

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