Over the last few months Rai has concentrated its channels as well as the production of series and cartoons in a single structure in order to give a boost to the overall offering dedicated to younger viewers.
This has led to the creation of the new Rai Ragazzi headed by Luca Milano who was already in charge of animated production at Rai Fiction. After a “breaking in” period of a few months, what has changed compared to the old arrangement where we had the Rai YoYo and Rai Gulp channels on the one side and animation production on the other? We talk to the director.
“There are three production lines”, he responds, “the co-production of animation series that continues the work carried out at Rai Fiction, guaranteeing a certain amount of continuity; the purchase of European and international series, the latter mainly by Disney; and in-house studio production mainly realized at the Rai television center in Turin which is to be refurbished over the next few months. We will keep the successful programs but will also make some new productions which will increase in number. In fact the production of content will be at the center of the reorganization.
What are the editorial lines of the new Rai Ragazzi?
The editorial lines have to be divided between our two channels: Rai YoYo, the first channel for kids in Italy with titles that also attract a slightly wider audience than just preschoolers. A channel that, for the last year, has carried no advertising and that has, as a result, increased its offering. Here kids can discover the world in the happiest, most inquisitive way – friendship, the flavor of diversity – through programs that try to demonstrate differences in language and styles in order to shape tastes, which is the role of a public TV station.
At Rai YoYo no differentiation is made between boys and girls unlike on the commercial channels, a distinction also linked to gender stereotypes. We have Italian and European productions with very good viewing gures like “Masha and the Bear”, “Peppa Pig” and “Pj Masks”, but also our own “Topo Tip” and “Mini Cuccioli”, all very popular titles. In the evenings we have “Regal Academy” which has a rhythm and type of story that is more complex, for slightly older kids.
Rai Gulp consists of half cartoons and half live programs and will increasingly become a channel for 8 to 12 year olds.
Here adventure, educational novels like “Zorro”, which was very successful and “Geronimo Stilton”, are linked to live productions such as “Alex & co” and “Maggie & Bianca” which enjoyed remarkable immediate success.
This leads us to believe that national production has the capacity to compete with and surpass international production.
Certainly there is the problem of costs and investment, but if the series is a success the number of repeats is so high that it is possible to get that all back. Animation is at the heart of Yoyo’s programming and is also essential for Rai Gulp.
Rai is the driver of the Italian animation industry. We are confident that with the new law on audiovisuals we will be able to take a step further in the development of this sector.
Any advance news on the new series which will be broadcast?
On 18 January in Paris, in the France Télévisions auditorium, there will be the presentation of “Max & Maestro”, the first long-running children’s series about classical music coordinated by Maestro Daniel Baremboim and produced by the public television companies of France, Italy and Germany.
The collaboration with other European public networks which, until now, has been a characteristic of Rai Fiction co-productions in the field of cartoons must be extended to other programing genres.