Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Research: Adult Swim

For my last project my research was minimal and I knew it, so for this project I want to try and get into a little more and I am going to start by investigating the company that this brief is centred around: Adult Swim.

Adult Swim is a late night cable television channel that takes over from Cartoon Network on an evening. It is owned and run by TBS or the Turner Broadcasting Company, who in turn are part of the largest television and media conglomerate worldwide: Time Warner. Time Warner own hundreds of smaller companies including, Cartoon Network, HBO, New-Line Cinema, Warner Bro's Entertainment, DC Comics, CNN and many, many others. Essentially, they currently control what is shown on cable television under a rather broad spectrum of channels and names.

Adult Swim itself began in 2001 as a 'spin-off' to Cartoon Network. It airs more adult oriented animated TV shows, along with some classics such as Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast (One of my favourites when I was a kid). I personally remember watching a lot of films on TNT Classic Movies, because that is what followed Cartoon Network after it stopped airing cartoons at eight on Sky in, Britain.

One of my favourite shows as a kid: Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast

Adult Swim became very popular due to the content it was showing and the fact that it showed all of its shows completely un-censored. Instead of adverts, they will show a black screen with a message from one its viewers, if the message is derogatory they will often write a message back - this proved very popular with viewers. Following its success with classic shows, Adult Swim began to sign their own shows to be aired on the channel. Robot Chicken from Seth Green, a stop-motion animation show and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a limited animation fast food romp, remain two of the channels most popular shows.

Adult Swim also have a significant presence on the Internet. Dedicated channels on Myspace, YouTube and Facebook allow fans of the channel to watch clips from up and coming and shows receive time tables for their favourite shows. They have their own video podcast on iTunes and both there American and UK website allows you to watch full episodes of a lot of their shows.

Who said peddling smut wasn't easy....great show though :D

Adult Swim is broadcast in many countries including Australia, New Zealand and Latin America. In Britain, Adult Swim had a broadcasting block on Bravo, owned by Virgin Media Television. It aired all of Adult Swims most popular content including Stripparella, voiced by Pamela Anderson and created by ex-president/chairman of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee (Apparently I was write about smut being much easier to peddle). This channel has ceased being shown as of 2007 and thus far its only distribution in Britain is on DVD format, by series.

My favourite thing about the channel (Which I only got to watch as a 'television channel' for a short while on Bravo and now only follow through the Internet and DVD's) is their choice of programming and respect for the world of animation. They give their audience what they want and they know how to cater for them with new shows. They pick entertaining and envelope pushing comedy that doesn't fit into regular brackets of broadcasting. It is a haven for television shows that were rejected for the dangerous act of saying what everybody else is thinking.

First of all, they're not teens. Secondly, there's no water involved. The whole Hunger Force thing? That's probably misleading, too.

I personally find it very difficult to like anything knowing that it is owned by a huge multi-nation conglomerate because those kind of companies suck up money away from independent or smaller studios and then spend it on crap and buy out the smaller studios. But every so often you find a channel that you want to respect, even though you are aware of that fact.

One thing I really like about Adult Swim is that they really know how to market themselves as a product. The logo for instance attracts instant attention with the use of two square brackets. The whole thing is a reference to old swimming pools that would only allows people to use them at certain times, but the word 'adult' carries so many more connotations these days that it always catches people attention.

Seth Green doesn't take too much credit for the show.....

They also seem to know there market incredibly well because everything is successfully targeted at their chosen demographic: teenagers, students and other people between 17 - 29 years of age. There use of popular Internet sites such as MySpace and YouTube is particularly commendable, especially offering full shows from their own site. It shows that they know what their audience want and where their audience will be. Why advertise on bill boards if your audience is sat at home chatting on the Internet?

A lot of companies seem to manage to miss by miles when it comes to advertising to their market, but Adult Swim have got it absolutely spot on!

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