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September 2009, Week 2


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Doc Britto <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 8 Sep 2009 10:16:30 +0200
text/plain (88 lines)
Dear all,

I am beginning to work on a French research project to analyze the 
current French TV cartoon offer for young children (and possibly extend 
the analysis to older kids).

One of the main issues I will analyze is what has happened/is happening 
to public television in France through this perspective of children's 
programming, specifically by comparing cartoon production . Cartoons are 
the dominant genre of children's programming in France. In reference to 
preschool cartoons, my proposal entails comparing the programming of 
France's main public channel (France 5) to a few of the main private and 
thematic cartoon cable/satellite channels.

Having been an insignificant player until the 1980s, France ranks today 
as the world's third largest producer of television cartoons. France is 
also Europe's greatest animation producer ( an average of 280 hours for 
the years of 2000-2005). France ranks as Europe's biggest exporter (62,3 
million Euros in 2004). Animation is also the genre most produced by the 
French (followed by documentaries and fiction). The bulk of this cartoon 
production (80% of the total) comprises series with episodes in the 13 
or 26 minute format, destined for 6 to 10 year-olds, with an average 
budget of 3-7 million Euros for a series of 26 minutes (26 episodes). 
(CNC 2006)

My comparison of current programming would analyze criteria such as 
genre, cultural/educational content, format, cost (when available), 
audience ratings (if available), production data, and the advertisements 
that are shown along with the series (product type, message). I propose 
to compare the cartoon series programming during one week, from 6 
a.m.-midnight, during the regular cartoon series season (outside 
vacations and holidays). My comparison would include the following five 
channels: France 5 (free, public), TF1 (free, private), Piwi and Tiji 
(thematic, private, cable), Disney (thematic, private, foreign, cable).

Main hypotheses

One of my main hypotheses, based on my readings so far, is that, if 
compared to the selected private channels, the main public channel for 
preschool children's animation in France (France 5) will not display any 
significant difference concerning the series' genres, the percentage of 
educational content compared to exclusively entertaining themes, the 
cultural and artistic quality level, and the series formats. It is proof 
that, in reference to multiple criteria, children's cartoon programming 
on public television in France is indistinguishable from the programming 
of private channels. However, there may be other criteria where we may 
find significant differences and I hope that the proposed comparison 
will bring them to light (for exemple, differences concerning the number 
of original French productions, advertisement (quantity, product type, 
target), and audience measurements).

Another important hypothesis is that one of the cardinal functions of 
the French public channels as it concerns the animation market is to 
fortify the French animation industry. However, the main production 
companies in this sector are private, forming a monopoly of 
approximately 10 companies. Consequently, this means that the public 
television channels are at the service of this private monopoly. (The 
exact manner of how the public channels co-finance and co-produce 
cartoon series is not clear to me at this point, but it is another 
important aspect of the complexity found in this mixed public-private 
dynamics of the current French television animation industry). 
Nevertheless, this monopolistic structure is not absolute, allowing the 
participation of other less important companies along with a variety of 
other players active in the marketplace. Moreover, this support function 
of the public channels for the French animation producers is further 
reinforced by various types of aid offered by the French government 
along with other more recent European initiatives to support all 
European animation industries.

If this subject or research proposal is of interest to any list members, 
I would very much appreciate receiving comments on the proposed research 
project or structure, or suggestions for related bibliography.

Best regards,

V Britto

Univ. de Toulouse
Toulouse, France

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