Kartoon Channel! Gets New Spanish-Language Content

Genius Brands International has announced a new Spanish-language content service for children — ¡KC! En Español — on its streaming platform Kartoon Channel!

Kartoon Channel! also announced Oct. 5 that it is now available on Pluto TV.

With ¡KC! En Español, Kartoon Channel! expands its current  platform to serve the Latino children’s community in North America. The new Spanish-language children’s program service will reside on the main Kartoon Channel! platform and function as a sub-brand of Kartoon Channel!, similar to Kartoon Classroom!, which premiered in September 2020. The offering will launch with Genius Brands’ “Rainbow Rangers,” in addition to “Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab,” “Mi Perro Chocolo,” YouTube’s “Spanish Tree TV” and “Stan Lee’s Mighty Seven.”

“Not only is this the right entertainment and cultural move for Kartoon Channel!, but it also makes good business sense too,” Jon Ollwerther, president of Kartoon Channel!, said in statement. “Today, 26% of kids in the U.S. under the age of five are of Latinx heritage, a number that is only expected to grow. Further, 83% of Latinx audiences are streamers, versus 73% of non-Latinx audiences. Finally, digital ad-spend focused on the Latinx audience in the United States has more than doubled from 2015 to 2020 and the market today is estimated at over $1.5 billion. We look forward to this becoming an important and growing contributor to the business of Kartoon Channel!”

“Following the success of our educational sub-brand Kartoon Classroom!, ¡KC! En Español was the obvious next step for us,” Michael Riley, Genius Brands International’s chief diversity officer, said in a statement. “We’re proud to announce this new offering during Hispanic Heritage Month and to better serve the Latinx community, now in English and en Español.”

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Genius Brands International’s digital network Kartoon Channel! is a family entertainment destination. Kartoon Channel! delivers  content across multiple platforms, including Comcast, Cox, Dish, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Android TV, Android Mobile, Google Play, Xumo, Roku, Tubi, Samsung Smart TVs and LGTVs. Kartoon Channel! can also be streamed on TVs and mobiles device by downloading the app, or on desktops by visiting www.kartoonchannel.com.

Georgia Latino Film Alliance Appoints Julie Ann Crommett Board Chair

The Georgia Latino Film Alliance (GALFA) has appointed Julie Ann Crommett, a former Walt Disney Studios, NBC Universal and Google exec, as its new board chair.

Crommett will work closely with the board of directors to grow the organization into a valuable resource and support system for next-generation Latino filmmakers, students, executives and content creators in Georgia, according to GALFA.

“It is my great honor to welcome Julie Ann Crommett as the newest elected GALFA board chair, “said Jose Marquez, CEO and founder, GALFA, in a statement. “Her unique business experience in the DEI [diversity, inclusion and inclusion] space, her creative insights and ongoing commitment to advocating for systematic change will undoubtedly help our organization scale to greater heights under her strategic guidance.”

“We are so fortunate to have Julie Ann join us in our mission towards achieving new benchmarks in the film and entertainment industry,” Yvette Moise, president and co-founder of the Georgia Latino Film Alliance and Festival, said in a statement. “Together we will work towards making this place a whole new world.”

The Georgia Latino Film Alliance and Film Festival conducts the Georgia Latino Film Festival in the state of Georgia, which features Latino-directed, -produced and -acted films among other national and international entries. The mission of the Georgia Latino Film Alliance is to build awareness of independent films and film as an art form, provide educational opportunities for students and Georgia Latino filmmakers, and create opportunities for the Georgia communities to experience high-quality Latino films.

Crommett has been working in the diversity, equity and inclusion space for more than a decade in the film, media, entertainment and tech industries.

“I am humbled to join the GALFA board and look forward to working with the talented board, partners and members who tirelessly foster Latino development in the film industry,” Crommett said in a statement. “GALFA is moving ahead stronger than ever. I’m excited to join Jose and Yvette and their outstanding team in giving voice to America’s next generation of Latinx Storytellers.”

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Crommett has worked at The Walt Disney Studios and NBC Universal as well as Google. She is currently founder and CEO of Collective Moxie, a consultative agency that focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, narrative and community engagement.

While serving as VP of multicultural audience engagement at The Walt Disney Studios, she spearheaded efforts to diversify talent in front of and behind the camera, connect creative projects with communities they touched, and build a more inclusive culture within the studio. She played an integral role in contributing to key film release projects including Disney/Pixar’s Soul and Coco, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Raya and the Last Dragon, and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther. She also created Disney’s “Launchpad: Shorts Incubator,” a program that provided six directors from underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to produce a short film for Disney+. Additionally, and in partnership with Disney executive chairman Bob Iger, she launched and co-chaired Disney’s first-ever Creative Inclusion Council dedicated to increasing inclusion and accountability in Disney’s creative endeavors.

Crommett has been recognized by The Hollywood Reporter’s “35 under 35,” the IMAGEN Foundation’s Influential Latinos in Entertainment list and as an ADCOLOR Innovator. She hosted a TEDx Talk in 2016 covering equity and storytelling and serves on the boards for the Hispanic Federation, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers and Women in Animation.

A Puerto Rican and Cuban American, Crommett was raised in Atlanta and earned her B.A. in English from Harvard University.

Nearly Two-Thirds of U.S. Latino Spanish-Language Content Viewers Stream

A recent Horowitz Research survey found 80% of U.S. Latino TV content viewers are streamers, including nearly two-thirds (64%) of Latino Spanish-language content viewers.

Eight out of 10 (80%) subscribe to at least one SVOD service. On average, Latino streamers pay for four streaming services.

According to Horowitz, half of Latino households (49%) subscribe to both a traditional MVPD and at least one streaming service, with younger, multilingual, bicultural, family households the most likely to leverage both MVPD and SVOD platforms to meet their households’ needs, which includes demand for both English and Spanish content.

Six in 10 Latinos watch Spanish-language content at least occasionally, according to the study. Notably, viewing of Spanish-language content is as high among bilingual, bicultural Latinos as it is among their Spanish-dominant counterparts. And, almost one in three (29%) English-oriented, highly acculturated Latinos watch in Spanish at least occasionally, according to the study.

While traditional (broadcast and cable) used to be the main source for Spanish-language content, the Spanish-language TV landscape is transforming, according to Horowitz. The past couple of years have ushered in an explosion of Spanish and Latinxo-themed streamed content, starting with the success of Netflix’s “Narcos,” “La Casa de Papel,” “Elite,” “La Reina del Sur” (a Telemundo series) and other popular shows.

Horowitz noted Latino audiences can now access Spanish-language and Latinx-themed content across a wide variety of free and paid services: Peacock, with a selection of Telemundo content; Amazon Prime Video, which is making substantial investments in Spanish and Latino-themed content; FuboTV, offering Spanish-language sports programming; Discovery, which offers various Spanish-language mobile apps; Pluto TV, with free programming and channel surfing in English and Spanish; Pantaya; OnDemandLatino; and the new Univision/Televisa venture Prende TV, among many others.

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“Latinx consumers have long been underserved in the streaming space, but this is completely changing now,” Horowitz’s Adriana Waterston, SVP of insights and strategy, said in a statement. “There is a market for all sorts of streamed Spanish and Latino-themed content, ranging from traditional telenovelas to content that speaks to the sensibilities of younger, bilingual, bicultural U.S. Latinos. Importantly, much of this content will not only appeal to Latino consumers but other audiences as well.”

Latino audiences continue to value the benefits of traditional MVPD services when making their subscription decisions, such as accessing live TV content, watching television episodes the day they air, and having access to local, national and international up-to-date news coverage.

However, two in three Latino consumers surveyed perceive that the quality and variety of Spanish content available in the streaming ecosystem is as good or surpasses that which is available through MVPD services, which could lead to more Latino households becoming cord-cutters, according to Horowitz. The Horowitz survey shows that already 22% of Latino TV homes have cut the cord in the last three years.

“Latino households have been some of the most loyal customers of MVPD services, driven by the desire to have access to the most robust selection of both English and Spanish content,” Waterston said in a statement. “As streaming services amp up their Latino-oriented offerings, traditional players will need to find new ways to retain their value proposition among this audience.”

NBCUniversal, Telemundo Partner on Streaming Content Studio

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises is creating Telemundo Streaming Studios, which it bills as the first-ever Spanish-language studio in Hispanic media exclusively dedicated to serving the growing Latino streaming audiences in the United States and around the world.

Following the creation of original titles “El Señor de los Cielos,” “La Reina del Sur,” “El Recluso,” “No Te Puedes Esconder,” “Jugar con Fuego” and, most recently, “Dime Quien Soy,” “100 Dias para Enamorarnos,” “Falsa Identidad” and “Mariposa de Barrio,” Telemundo is expanding production capabilities to create original scripted content exclusively for direct-to-consumer platforms. In addition to developing and producing its own IP, the new studio will offer production services to third-party direct-to-consumer platforms.

“Latinos are pacesetters of cultural and technological change,” Beau Ferrari, chairman, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, said in a statement.  “We are … super serving the Latinos of today with the best original, premium and culturally relevant content across all platforms.”

According to Nielsen, driven by streaming video consumption, Hispanics spend more time per day on video through TV-connected devices and video-focused app usage compared to “total adults.” Hispanics are often 50% or more of the average audience to shows that center on Hispanic characters and stories, which is a remarkable over index considering they are roughly 20% of the population.

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Based out of Miami, Telemundo Streaming Studios will be housed under Telemundo Global Studios, led by Marcos Santana, who will continue to oversee all original scripted productions for the network, including international co-productions. The new production unit launches with more than 35 projects in development and in production, including the dramedy “Armas de Mujer” for Peacock, “El Marginal” seasons four and five for Netflix, as well as the remake of “Historia de un Clan,” upcoming seasons of “El Recluso,” a new version of “El Diario de un Gigolo” and the action-packed series “El Immortal.”

“As pioneers in the production of scripted Spanish-language content for U.S. Hispanics, we have a wide range of experience to invest in producing the best scripted content for the growing number of Latinos who consume their favorite shows across streaming platforms,” Santana said in a statement. “With these new studios, Telemundo will be the go-to source for Latino streaming content in the US and around the world.”

How Netflix Got its Latino Mojo Back

Netflix has been a consumer hit across most ethnic groups since launching by-mail DVD rental service in 1997. Yet, the SVOD pioneer had apparently lost some favor among Latino streamers over the past few years with household penetration down 9% through last April, according to new data from IHS Markit/Technology.

Now that trend has reversed with Latino viewership up 4% in the past six months. The reason? Original Spanish-language programming that IHS says is driving viewers away from Prime Video to Netflix and Hulu.

“The movement of Latino audiences from Amazon to Netflix reflects the two services’ level of investment in Spanish-language content,”  analyst Fateha Begum said in a statement.

Top Netflix original shows include: “La Casa de la Flores,” teen murder series, “Elite,” “Narcos: Mexico,” “La Casa de Papel,” Netflix’s most-watched non-English series ever; “Club de Cuervos,” political thriller, “Ingobernable,” 1920s feminist workplace drama, “Las Chicas del Cable,” first Argentinian series, “Edha,” and crime thriller, “Estocolmo,” among others.

“Although Amazon leads in overall video content, with a total of 3.4 million hours of programming, Netflix offers 15 times more hours of Spanish-language content than Prime Video,” Begum said. “In terms of total hours of Spanish programming, Netflix is the clear leader in the U.S. video streaming market, followed by Hulu.”

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Citing an internal survey, IHS said 20% of respondents who subscribed to Netflix in the past year cited local content as the reason for subscribing. At the same time, with subscriptions based on month-to-month satisfaction, churn among all demographics is high, including Latino.

About 20% U.S. households dropped service over a 12-month period and did not return, according to the survey, while 30% signed up to at least one new SVOD service during the same period. Consumers also cancelled and re-subscribed to services to watch new seasons of content.

IHS said Latinos are twice as likely to cancel and re-subscribe to a video service as other consumers and 50% more likely to use a free trial only than the average consumer.

The London-based research group found Prime Video was the most cancelled video service among Latinos, while Netflix took the top spot among all respondents.

Netflix’s investment in Spanish content has increased considerably in the past years as it seeks to increase its worldwide subscriber base. Nearly 14% of Netflix’s catalog was comprised of Spanish language content in September 2019 — up 12% from the end of 2018.

The report contends Spanish-language content is vital for Netflix in Latin America, the United States and Europe where content quotas mandate 30% of programming be local.

While Netflix increased its Spanish language content by nearly 30,000 hours between December 2018 and September 2019, Amazon saw a decline of 2,000 hours. The majority of the change occurred in the first half of the year for both video services and mirrored the trend in penetration among Latino respondents.

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IHS said device distribution continues to play a role in SVOD choices for Latino subs, who are more likely to select services offering greater access to stream programming. While connected-device penetration tends to be marginally lower in Latino homes, IHS said the demand for accessibility stems from larger family sizes with four or more people.

Netflix Jan. 21 reports fourth-quarter fiscal results after the market close.