Monday, March 18, 2013

Fun, humor key to universality

(Published March 19, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Cartoon Network’s programming has always been premised on fun, entertainment and surprises—and it won’t change any time soon, according to Turner International Asia Pacific Limited’s content officer Mark Eyers.

In the Inquirer’s recent e-mail interview with Eyers, he stressed that the best-known kid-geared cable channel in the region, is adapting to viewers’ changing behaviors.

“We are constantly looking for ways to ramp up the fun,” said Eyers. “With the recent launch of Turner’s two new channels, Cartoonito and Toonami, Pinoy kids of all ages now have more content available to them on three dedicated platforms.”

Toonami, Eyers stressed, is dedicated to programming for action-oriented older boys, while Cartoonito’s shows are ideal for much younger viewers and their families.
Eyers is in charge of overseeing programming and acquisitions for CN, among other Turner channels. He considers humor an essential and consistent component in the network’s projects. He explained: “Whether on-air  or online, ‘funny’ is at the heart of the Cartoon Network experience. Viewers see this through promotions, games, apps, campaigns … even in more adventure-oriented shows like ‘Ben 10: Omniverse,’ there’s always a laugh.”

Eyers is thankful that the channel’s mostly American animated shows are well-received in the country. “Right now in the Philippines, Cartoon Network is the number one cable channel for kids aged 2-12, in terms of rating and reach,” he said. “This strong position is bolstered by our top comedy series: ‘Adventure Time,’ ‘Oggy and the Cockroaches’ and ‘Regular Show.’”

Complementing the humor is the universality of content, Eyers stressed: “We’re more alike than we are different. Kids, wherever they’re from and whatever their upbringing, love to laugh! Just like CNN, Cartoon Network goes beyond borders, just bringing humor instead of news.”

 The different shows are also respectful of cultures in the territory, he added. “All of our shows have to adhere to a certain criteria. The humor is never mean-spirited and has relatable scenarios with layered comedy and character-driven storylines. That’s why series like ‘Adventure Time,’ ‘Ben 10: Omniverse’ and ‘The Amazing World of Gumball’ are so popular, from Seoul to Singapore and Mumbai to Manila.”

The Asia-Pacific region can look forward to the new series “Dreamworks Dragons: Riders of Berk,” based on the hit film “How to Train Your Dragon,” as well as new episodes of familiar shows, including “Oggy and the Cockroaches.”

As for the channel’s evolution content-wise, Eyers cited the enduring quality of certain humor-centric programs: “The Cartoon Network DNA hasn’t changed much since we launched over 20 years ago. Many of our shows are as popular now as they were then, and there is a huge affinity with series older than 10 years such as ‘Tom and Jerry,’ ‘Scooby-Doo’ and ‘The Powerpuff Girls.’”

(“Oggy and the Cockroaches” airs Fridays, 8 p.m.; “Ben 10: Omniverse,” Sundays, 10 a.m.; “Adventure Time,” Fridays, 7 p.m.; “The Amazing World of Gumball,” Saturdays, 11 a.m.; “Regular Show,” Fridays, 7:30 p.m.)  

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