This is the fourth in a series of posts from leading producers in the run-up to MIPCOM 2016. The posts are coordinated by TV business consultant Deborah Macdonald.
Oli Hyatt is Chair of Animation UK and owner of Blue-Zoo productions. For the past 9 years, been a campaigner for the creative industries in the UK. Blue-Zoo credits include, Tree Fu Tom, Miffy, Olive the Ostrich, Alphablocks and Digby Dragon to name but a few.
MIPBlog: Could you please introduce yourself in no more than two sentences?
My name is Oli Hyatt, I am the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Blue-Zoo Animation and slowly retiring chair of animation U.K. I’ve been creating animations for 19 years now, and while the industry and my business has changed so much, good story, strong design and ambitious programming for children is still at the heart of everything I do.
> What do you think is the most innovative thing in kids TV now, and why?
The most innovative thing in children’s TV are the deals people manage to pull together to get shows off the ground in an ever fragmenting and saturated market! Most innovation in kids TV seems to be happening in new media, but in terms of traditional broadcasting technology and talent, innovation could/should allow for some really amazing shows, but much of this potential seems tempered by budgets available and with expensive shows like Digby Dragon we have started to reach the limit on what’s possible on the current tariffs for independent producers.
Was I meant to say Pokemon Go?
> What opportunities does the development of new platforms and business models (YouTube, Netflix, etc) open up for your activity today?
Blue-Zoo is looking to be both a service studio and an IP owner, so like everyone else more competition is great, but the styles of deals on offer and the further slicing and dicing of rights and ownership makes getting things off the ground and owning enough back end to make it worth your while increasing complicated. However, some brands are breaking through now with no TV platform whatsoever, so the power is beginning to shift.
> Is the playing field now more level? To what extent is the ‘traditional’ system (pitching to broadcasters and so on) still powering your business, and how do you see that system evolving?
The playing field? Hasn’t it always been a minefield? Traditional systems are still powering Blue-Zoo, and the much exaggerated decline in viewing of TV originated content is not really affecting our business for example Digby Dragon had the biggest ever weekday launch on Nick Jr and channels like Tiny Pop are growing quickly. In the UK the BBC is still most peoples first port of call, but if you’re willing to tie yourself in to large international deals more money is on offer elsewhere. It is and has always been the broad range of broadcasters and platforms that produces the diverse range of content for children and long may that continue!
> What is your favourite TV show/IP today and why?
In a world saturated with all singing, all dancing, epic, comedy programming, things that really catch my attention are the more subtle and publicly minded shows, CBBC’s My Life series are a fine example of this, Programming that really does something for children and doesn’t just sell them a toy! However if you do want a merchandising money maker……. did I mention Digby Dragon!