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Be the Creature, a family series airing in the US on National Geographic Channel starring Chris and Martin Kratt, is Decode Entertainment's first foray beyond its kids TV base into factual. And the Toronto-based prodco is navigating non-fiction with a fully fleshed-out brand plan. This time around, the brothers live as wild animals, surviving in remote environments with bare bones gear. Beyond the tube, their animal adventures invite interactivity via websites, interactive TV and an online multi-player game.
May 1, 2004

Be the Creature, a family series airing in the US on National Geographic Channel starring Chris and Martin Kratt, is Decode Entertainment’s first foray beyond its kids TV base into factual. And the Toronto-based prodco is navigating non-fiction with a fully fleshed-out brand plan. This time around, the brothers live as wild animals, surviving in remote environments with bare bones gear. Beyond the tube, their animal adventures invite interactivity via websites, interactive TV and an online multi-player game.

Dan Fill, VP Interactive, says web licenses (equivalent to the license fee of one episode) are a successful model, and more interest in customized content is anticipated from Europe. The first minisite, licensed to series coproducer Nat Geo, features field notes and a guide to the exotic creatures encountered on the show.

For the itv component – which incorporates trivia and images – Decode hooked up with Canada’s Vidéotron and Bell ExpressVu, and tapped into funds from the Bell New Media Fund, Telefilm, Vidéotron Fund, Telus eLearning Fund and Nat Geo. Decode Interactive initially used BlueStreak middleware (deployed on Vidéotron), and is also working on a more widely compatible Open TV version, which it plans to license in the u.s. for season two. Fill says itv is challenging due to the number of different platforms in use, but says Open TV is more viable in Europe.

And to really let the audience Be the Creature, the action/strategy game launches in September. Decode is considering a few revenue options for the 3D game – a pay-to-play model, or a fee to purchase an installer disc. The game draws on educational themes, but has enough fun, fighting and gore for the 12 to 15 set. Players control animal characters and complete goals in an entirely CGI-generated world where the Kratts guide excursions.

The show itself is poised to roll out globally. Nat Geo Channels International has cable and satellite rights in 145 countries for the 13 x 1-hour series, and the worldwide launch starts with Europe in May; it’s also sold to Canadian pubcaster CBC. MM

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

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