“There is a new generation flourishing, moving their main focus more to computer animation and 3D tech”
Industry Report: Animation
Tiivi Tüür • Acquisitions executive, ERR
We spoke to the Estonian executive, who talked through the content the pubcaster wishes to acquire, its target audiences and its distribution strategies
At this year’s Cartoon Forum (19-22 September), we sat down with Tiivi Tüür, acquisitions executive at Estonian pubcaster ERR. During our chat, we covered several topics, including ERR’s participation in the forum, the current state of Estonian animation, the pubcaster’s target audiences as well as content acquisition and distribution strategies.
Cineuropa: Why is it important for ERR to attend Toulouse’s Cartoon Forum?
Tiivi Tüür: If you’re a buyer for children’s animation, Cartoon Forum is the event I would heartily recommend you attend. This creative and relaxed atmosphere that Cartoon Forum has always had inspires and motivates us as buyers to continue searching for the best content. It’s also a good opportunity to do some social networking with both old and new friends from the animation field. And it’s a great place where you can get this great, positive kick-off for the next season. You get the chance to see projects at an early stage and to look ahead at what we'll have on our channel in the years to come. Having the opportunity to look at the current trends and the types of programmes being produced is something you don’t want to miss. During these three days, you can truly put your focus on animation, which you can rarely do when you're in the office doing your regular job. I’ve been attending Cartoon Forum since 2010, and it's great to know that many of the projects pitched during these years have later found slots in ERR’s programming for children!
What are your main activities here at the forum? What type of content are you seeking?
First and foremost, I’m watching the pitches of the projects. Of course, having meetings is part of this forum as well, but the main focus is on seeing as many projects as possible. That’s what makes this event so special and so different from all the others, so it would be a shame not to make use of this opportunity and support these wonderful projects – and their creative teams – by attending their pitches. And, of course, the better prepared and the more entertaining the pitches are, the more enjoyable it all is! Currently, we’re searching for animation series targeted at both pre-schoolers and children – mainly series, but also specials.
What type of young audience does ERR target? How has this focus shifted over the last two or three years?
We acquire kids’ content for both pre-schoolers and children aged from 6-12. Both age groups are important to us, and we try to keep these groups balanced. Two or three years ago, the focus might have been more on pre-school programmes, but after launching our children’s platform in 2019, we have been trying to find equally good content for both age brackets. For our pre-school audience, we prefer shorter programmes (5-7 minutes, maximum 11-13 minutes), whilst we aim for longer series for kids (11-13 minutes and 22-26 minutes). We are also keeping an eye on different fillers, both those with no dialogue that are more entertaining, and those that are educational, with dialogue.
How would you judge the current state of Estonian animation? What are its strengths and what are the areas that need improvement?
The current situation in Estonian animation, including both classical animation and stop-motion, is that we still have very good handicraft skills, but since the budgets for production are very low, and there is a lack of good and skilled producers, we only make festival films. Financially, it hasn’t been easy for either Nukufilm or Eesti Joonisfilm. The good news is that animation is taught in several schools, and there is a new generation flourishing, moving their main focus more to computer animation and 3D tech.
Are you only acquiring content, or are you open to co-producing or contributing in some other way to the projects in development that you find suitable for your editorial needs?
Yes, we mainly only acquire programmes, which are produced and are ready to be delivered, but we are also willing to give a helping hand to projects that we find interesting for our channel by issuing letters of commitment for media funding. Unfortunately, we don't have the budget or the people to co-produce, but hopefully these letters can also be helpful for some of the projects. Pre-buying a series is also rare for us, as we prefer to see the finished version before making any final decisions.
Do you distribute your content only through linear TV?
We show our kids’ content both on linear TV (ETV2) and on our children’s platform, Lasteekraan. The platform includes animation series for pre-schoolers and children, live-action series and children’s films, but also our own in-house productions, audio books, games and much more. So, besides TV rights, we are also now acquiring FVoD rights so that our young viewers can watch not only the catch-up programmes, but also different content not present on our TV schedules.
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