With offices in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Eastern Europe, Planeta Junior represents entertainment content from some of the top producers around the world, including ZAG, ON Animation, SuperProd, Cottonwood, Studio 100, Animoka, Mobo and SAMG. Founded in 2000, the company’s roster includes hits such as Miraculous, Gormiti, Milo, Pucca, Squish, Mutant Busters, Heidi and Maya the Bee. We recently had a chance to chat with Paula Taborda dos Guaranys, content director of Planeta Junior, about the company’s productions and initiatives for the rest of 2021. Here is what she told us:
Animag: Can you tell us how long you’ve been with Planeta Jr?
Paula Taborda dos GuaranysI started with Planeta Junior in January of last year, so it’s been about one year.
What kind of animated content do you look for when you’re buying shows or commissioning material?
Planeta Junior’s business is very extensive, so there’s an opportunity for a variety of content. When we’re buying for our AVOD channels, we’re looking for shows that will positively impact the viewer. We’re speaking to children from a very young age, so we feel it’s important that we’re teaching valuable lessons while entertaining. It’s no different when we’re commissioning material, but we also have to consider Planeta’s consumer products and editorial arms, so we look for properties that can be exploited 360. We’re looking for shows that stand out, that are unique and that, above all, engage children.
What are your most popular shows right now?
When it comes to L&M, no show compares to Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir. It is a distinctive show that combines excellence in production with greatness in sales. From our portfolio, we’ve been receiving very positive feedback for Milo, Superpigs and Planeta Junior’s first original series, Tilly, The Power Within.
Tilly, The Power Within (Planeta Junior)
What can we look forward to seeing from Planeta Junior in the months ahead? What are you excited about?
Hopefully, more and more original productions. I came to Planeta Junior with the exciting task of creating a portfolio of original content. We’ve just brought our first original series to Kidscreen, and we’re seeing a great reaction. We’ll continue to develop more and expand our target audience to encompass all ages, from preschool to young adults.
What is your take on the global animation scene in 2021?
Last year with the pandemic and the shift to staying at home, we’ve noticed an increase in co-viewing activities and search for educational content. We feel this will continue in 2021 and maybe even longer.
How did COVID-19 and the subsequent stay-at-home era impact your job and studio overall?
Like many other businesses, Planeta Junior had to adapt to the restrictions of working remotely. Several of our studio partners had the infrastructure in place that allowed for a seamless transition to the home office. Others suffered a more significant impact, and we had to deal with production delays. Both our internal team and external partners rose to the occasion, and we could mitigate most losses. But more than a business impact, it’s a personal struggle for each one of us. For a while last year, I had both my parents admitted to the hospital with COVID-19. It was a difficult time to prioritize work, but Planeta Junior was incredibly supportive and accommodating. They have both recovered since.
Milo (Fourth Wall in assoc. with Planeta Junior)
What do you look for in an animated show?
I’ve always valued entertaining shows, but that contained essential values and presented kids with good examples. We’re looking out for stories that contain both humor and kindness. That accurately reflects the diverse world children are living in. We care about authentic representation and aspirational qualities.
What are some of your favorite animated shows/movies of all time?
Lately, I’ve been very impressed by Netflix’s Hilda. It’s a show based on the British comic series about a fearless little girl who imagines a fantastic universe in her own backyard. The animated series is stunning; original and intriguing. It’s a gift to parents and children alike. In the same fashion, Netflix’s Christmas animated movie, Klaus, provides a unique spin on the classic Santa Claus’ tale, speaking to all age groups.
What do you love about your job?
I love my job! [Laughs] I love being a part of the process that culminates in a child’s favorite show or series. The idea that we’re participating in kids’ lives, that we’re somehow adding to that experience of growing up, is inspiring to me. That’s also why I feel so strongly about creating authentic stories that reflect positive values. Whenever we do focus groups, I am excited to hear the children’s reaction, even when it’s negative! What are their takes on the color? The design? We’re doing it for them, so that’s one of my favorite parts: Getting to the end, when they can open the present we’ve carefully crafted and wrapped for them. It makes every all-nighter worth it.
What is the best way to approach you?
Through email! I’m always keen to read and evaluate pitches, and though I receive many, many projects, I make sure to go through every one of them. I must admit that because of the volume of submissions, it may take a while to respond. But be confident if you send me something, I will read it. I do take my time to look over the project and provide personalized feedback.
Learn more at https://planeta-junior.com/en.
Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir (ZAG Ent.)