By Nadia Khalil
Pakistan is a massive territory in terms of cartoon predilection in kids. Moreover, there is a great media infrastructure that allows us to connect with the Pakistani kids through screen
," said Ian Diamond, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Turner Entertainment Networks Asia, Inc (TENA) during an exclusive interview for the 'Tview'.
Based in the regional headquarters in Hong Kong, Diamond is responsible for the continued development of Turner's entertainment brands including Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Pogo and TCM Turner Classic Movies in the Asia Pacific. He was recently in Pakistan for the channel's promotional work while 'Tview' took an opportunity to meet him solely.
"Cartoon Network is globally renowned as the premier entertainment destination for kids and the Network is well known across the world as a provider of high quality premium programming content for kids. Globally Cartoon Network invests over US$ 500 million in producing original programming," he revealed when asked for the expansion of the channel Cartoon Network. "With a presence in over 160 countries, we understand kids better than anybody else, and our unparallel understanding of kids' space has been demonstrated in various markets around the globe. Cartoon Network is available in 17 languages in all over the world across 21 separate feeds," he added. "To date, it is available in more than 165 million homes worldwide. CartoonNetwork.com - the network's companion web site is consistently one of the top-rated kid's entertainment web sites. Thus, it gives me pleasure to state that Cartoon Network has begun another important chapter in Pakistan, by launching a dedicated feed especially for the country. This strategic move is a demonstration of Cartoon Network's commitment to provide Pakistani kids with world-class, superlative programming," he promised.
Diamond drives the TENA business strategy of aggregating content and properties across multiple platforms including television, web, narrowband and broadband wireless content, publishing, consumer products, promotional licensing and lie events. He leads TENA's strong localisation efforts to provide relevant programming and marketing initiatives in key markets.
"Essentially, Cartoon Network is the best place for cartoon illustrations. It offers more cartoons and more characters (2,000+) than anyone else, and draws from the world's largest and best cartoon library consisting of more than 14,000 Warner Bros, MGM, Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network originals series and shorts. A key region for the Network worldwide, Cartoon Network is available in close to 40 million C&S homes in the Asia Pacific region alone," he informed while elaborating the network.
Responding to as what feedback the channel has received from Pakistan after the launch, "One universal similarity among the children is that they all love cartoons no matter as to what background, surrounding and culture they possess." "Majority falls in love with cartoon characters in their adolescence, and in Pakistan the situation is the same," he added.
What about some education, information and awareness through the channel? "Cartoon is an excellent form of expression, which can deliver positive messages and can create awareness among kids as the characters speak to you and narrates the whole story through their gestures. I have a mission to provide better quality relevant programming and marketing initiatives in Pakistan," responded Diamond.
Highlighting the prominent features of the up coming ventures, he said, "We believe that our upcoming cartoons on Cartoon Network would not only provide fun and frolic but also would help to generate the building skills in Pakistani children as we are providing the cartoons for the next generation." Diamond countered to a question about special programmes for school kids while saying that they have come with all new and better shows for kids and school going toddlers. "Shows have been developed in a better way whether its comedy or action," claimed Diamond.
About the rising violence and sex, which has been introduced in cartoons while diminishing the element of innocence in today's children, he said, "Yes! Television can play in developing healthy minds and positive behaviour in kids. Television should depict constructive activities, however, there are some kind of negative commotions in every society that should also be shown on screen to guard our kids from all the evils. It is necessary to show them the realities of life and expose all sides of life." Diamond highlighted that most parent watch the cartoon with the kids in the West and it should be followed everywhere so that the kids are guided accordingly.
Why 'Tom & Jerry' is most popular cartoon amongst all?
"A cartoon like 'Tom & Jerry' is still ruling kids' hearts because it is an amalgam of great script and magical production as well as a good combination of characters. This is one cartoon, which is running successfully since ages, but even then kids are not bored rather they watch it with the same zeal. The cartoon has only two characters playing with each other; we always know that Tom is not going to catch Jerry but that does not leave a flat impact on kids."
The show is going great guns and still is the number one show, however, Popeye, Scooby Doo and others are also kid's favourites but not to the credence of 'Tom & Jerry', estimated Diamond.
Diamond informed that Cartoon Network Pakistan is exclusively distributed by Information and Systems Corporation (Pvt) Ltd that has the rights for this channel in Pakistan since the channel is well distributed and available across the country. He added, "I am delighted to say that within a few months of its launch, Cartoon Network is available in more than 1.5 million homes." He claimed that the cartoons are dubbed in around 17 languages of world including Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. Animated cartoon movies are one flavour, which is an important part of kids diet on screen, which has been introduced in Pakistan and at present they have an enthusiastic feedback from kids here. Tarzan, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast are few to mention to add to the list of favourites.
"Cartoon Network in Pakistan is no doubt a very successful venture, and still has a long way to go. TENA is hoping to do their best to fulfill children's expectation by running the cartoon programmes on different events like Eid, Basant and other special days that will solely be designed for the Pakistani kids," he revealed.
Ian Diamond commenced his career with Turner in June 1994 as creative director, where he was responsible for overseeing and planning the on-air design, Network identity, image campaigns and creation of all interstitial material for both Cartoon Network and TCM. He arrived in Asia in 1991 to work for Star TV's general entertainment channel - Star Plus, responsible for the promotion of its on-air material.