Comcast and Sinclair are two companies that have many detractors. And some of criticisms are not without merit.
But the announcements over the last several weeks, first with the Universal Kids rebrand of Sprout (once owned by CTW, creators of Sesame Street), and Kids Click, the MGM/Weigel/Sinclair project which will bring both weekend and weekday animation back to the network airwaves (via Sinclair increasingly large station group, with the addition of the Tribune stations), a sort of rebirth has begun.
While the first few months will be slow, and the first year will be filled with growing pains – its become near apparent that their entries in the Kids Industry will have an affect – much smaller for Sinclair for now, much larger for Comcast at the beginning of the re-brand will have an effect on Disney (the king of the industry at the moment), Paramount/Nick and Cartoon Network/Boomerang.
For Comcast, this has been in the offering for almost 15 years. Rumblings started way back when they bought Classic Media but nothing come out of it. Then by co owning Sprout (and then when they bought NBC using it as a spring board for Sprout content). Then they bought Illumination entertainment – the animation house that made the formidable Despicable Me franchise, and then with Comcast buying Dreamworks Animation, they had no choice but to build the network. Despicable Me is a 3 BILLION dollar powerhouse, and with the addition of the myriad of Dreamwork’s IP’s and the fact they have tried to get back into the kids industry (since the end of the USA Cartoon Express) for this long they will be playing for keeps.
Sinclair is another beast of a different strain. With the announcement that BOTH former runners from the 4Kids era and the short Vortexx era will be joining Kids Click, Sinclair is trying to get tried and true success stories into the fray. You also have to remember that Sinclair runs everything – on a basis of penny pitching. Everything to cut costs they will do, but they will not (and they never do this for their local stations in the mid major markets, when it comes to news) short change quality. The massive, massive question comes down to the acquisition of newer shows from places like Netflix and others and the big question, will they go after the Toy Based anime (such as Yokai Watch) etc? Will Sinclair (who have good connections with the major evangelical groups, which air their preachers) ask for concessions (read this as airing certain shows of Christan bent) if expansion takes place later on with certain Christan based product (Veggie Tales etc)? Will they be a much stricter on what will air on Kids Click then 4Kids was in the past, or Saban and his dealings in the past?
This has all come at a time when Youtube has become a place where kids watch their stars, and where stars are born. The recent controversies concerning these stars, and with advertising rates and how and where Youtube is sending said ads. There is also massive, massive disconnects since all the changes with advertising for food, toys and others around children have changed – but only two products (Legos and Star Wars) have succeeded post the Marvel/LucasArts mergers. Then came fidget spinners, a product that wasn’t promoted on the kids networks, but on Youtube mostly – and it became a massive success. Something is wrong with the way the shows are promoted, the ads are placed and all the rest. The advertisers – cant fully trust YouTube, and if Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer is to be believed, a lot of the advertisements on the net (from Facebook etc) are based on fraud on a immense scale.
Things are going to change on a dramatic scale in the next several months to years, and as the corrections continue – players like Comcast and Sinclair will want a slice of the pie. The catch however is this. Are Comcast’s IP’s big enough to cause changes in the cable world? Or is Sinclair with a new hit in the future that will shock the system? Much stranger things have taken place. We will see what take place starting July 1st, and all throughout this year and next.