Granted, it’s true that
Cartoon Network has removed their Andrew W.K. video from YouTube (600 negative comments will do that), but I wouldn’t read too much into that token gesture. From where I’m standing, it appears to be little more than a carefully calculated effort to quell their viewership’s outrage and not representative of a meaningful shift in direction. If any doubt remains about the network’s true intentions, look no further than this recent Broadcasting & Cable article in which the architects of the live-action strategy speak about their goals. The piece details at length why they’re switching to live-action, and describes the network’s “360 degree” marketing campaign to usher in live-action, including the distribution of 8 million copies of a free CN Real magazine at theme parks and movie theaters.
One of the figureheads in their brand-wrecking transition is Stuart Snyder, executive VP and COO of Turner animation, young adults and kids media. The article states that Snyder made switching to live-action a priority when he came on board in 2007. “I think these new shows, whether reality or live scripted, really open up and broaden the audience, so you can be thinking about new advertising categories,” Snyder said. “It opens up more categories for us than just being in shows specifically [targeting] 6- to 11-year-olds.”
Cartoon Network’s Chief Content Officer Rob Sorcher acknowledged in the same article that inserting live-action into a brand called Cartoon Network will take time for audiences to accept: “Anytime you do something new at a network, particularly at one with a very specific niche, there will be a reaction. People will say, is this appropriate? We are doing something that is very different than anything in the nearly 20 years of history of the channel. It is possible that this is going to take a while.”
Animation fans meanwhile continue to mobilize. Over 2,500 people have now joined the Boycott Cartoon Network’s CN Real Block on Facebook. A new website has launched called “Stop the Madness” that encourages people to take specific actions to protest the network. A quick search for “Cartoon Network” on Twitter also reveals a steady stream of complaints. (Cartoon Brew suggests using the hashtag #CNFail to organize all the complaints on Twitter.) Finally, if you’d like to register your complaints directly with Stuart Snyder, try sending him a friend request on Facebook. I’m sure he’d love to hear from a few fans of the channel.
More to come…