Netflix has acquired the rights to two Russian cartoons, “Leo and Tig” and “Be-Be Bears.”
Both series are created by the Moscow-based Parovoz Animation Studio and are set to be released in 190 countries.
In “Leo and Tig,” aimed at children ages 3 and up, a lonely leopard finds a friend in a baby tiger. The 11-minute episodes follow the furry playmates as they explore Russia’s mountainous Altai region.
“Be-Be Bears” is also set in the wild, and centers on a tight-knit group of animal friends. (Contrary to the title, the show also features a raccoon, a fox and a chick.) The cartoon is suitable for children of all ages, and the episodes clock in at five and a half minutes.
Netflix has been expanding its children’s programming in recent years, so much so that it has become a cause for concern among cable television networks, which have failed to compete with the digital behemoth.
Now it’s taking that competition overseas.
At last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Andy Yeatman, Netflix’s former director of children’s and family content, said international viewership of programming for young people far exceeds that of domestic viewership. The platform has been responding to that demand by acquiring rights to more international content, and by producing more originals aimed at young viewers.
The streaming platform has proved it has an eye for global hits. “Leo and Tig” was recognized for its international potential at a Russian animation festival last year.
By Sara Aridi