Kids’ entertainment pioneer now reaches over 130 million viewers in 22 countries
The most successful kids’ entertainment station in the Middle East region — and the first kids’ station launched in that market — is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year as one of the best-known children’s media brands in the Middle East and North Africa.
Headquartered in Dubai, UAE, Spacetoon, the free-to-air kids’ channel, broadcasts in Arabic to 22 countries and more than 130 million viewers in the Middle East and North Africa on digital satellite. Since its launch in 2000, the popularity of Spacetoon has grown at a remarkable pace, thanks, in part, to an offering of content that is sensitive to the region’s cultural values and to its ownership of the rights of the largest library of Arabic-dubbed animated cartoons in the Arab world. In fact, after 15 years Spacetoon is one of the best-known children’s media brands in the Middle East and North Africa, recognised and loved by both children and families.
Spacetoon airs numerous globally successful shows from Europe, the US and Japan including Thomas and Friends, Bob the Builder, Masha and the Bear, Babar and the adventures of Badou, My Little Pony, The Pink Panther, Hamtaro, Hello Kitty and DBZ. However, local content is also an important part of its output and to supply this Spacetoon has an in-house studio producing proprietary cartoon series.
Programming is built around the concept of ten planets — or content styles — customized to attract a distinct audience within the overall target segment of children between 4-12 years. Every hour of the day is dedicated to a planet according to viewing patterns and the age of the audience. The ten planets cover the full spectrum of children’s interests under the headings Movies, Abjad (a reference to the Arabic alphabet), History, Science, Action, Adventure, Sport, Comedy, Girls and BonBon.
The interactive-oriented concept of Spacetoon has not only attracted viewers but also advertisers, who are able to choose slots depending on when the programs are aired for a specific target audience in the 4-12-year age group. This helps to maximize the impact of an advertiser’s product and brand.
But Spacetoon is also very conscious of its social remit — it is branded as an edutainment-oriented station — and has won a number of awards from international bodies as diverse as The Arab League, UNICEF, and WHO, all of which use Spacetoon Middle East to communicate information regarding public health, environmental matters and safety issues among others.
But even as it celebrates a successful decade and a half, Spacetoon is already looking forward. Plans are advanced for new productions and series as Spacetoon looks to expand both output and reach in the coming months.