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RTÉ to up animation investment

Irish pubcaster RTÉ will significantly increase its investment into animation in the next three years.

The broadcaster’s plans include a new RTÉjr programming schedule, an Android app, an animated shorts scheme, a new coproduction initiative, and, most significantly, an boost to its baseline investment in animated commissioning.

RTÉ will invest more than €550,000 (US$630,000) per annum, calculated across three years, in local commissioning, while a dedicated fund of €100,000 per year to invest in at least one international coproduction has been revealed.

The news is the latest development move for the Irish animation sector, after Canadian children’s TV firm acquired Doc McStuffins studio Brown Bag Films in September.

“The new schemes announced today further underline RTÉ’s commitment to support the growth and development of the Irish animation sector, from emerging talent in our new TV shorts scheme, to a focus on international coproduction, to increased investment in the commissioning of animation programming,” said RTÉjr controller and cross-divisional head of children’s content Sheila de Courcy.

She noted RTÉ had worked with “approximately 15 Irish animation companies on 34 original series” in the past decade.

RTÉjr’s new schedule, which will target 0-7s, will focus on themes such as education, wildlife, family, history, culture, and art and crafts. It will include Havananimal.

The series will feature songs from broadcaster and musician Shay Healey. Animation will come from Kealan O’Rourke and Igloo Films.

Also on the slate is Makers, a series about Irish crafts made or young children; Magical Sites, which looks at Ireland’s most important national monuments; Out and About, which follows a family’s adventures on days out in their local area in North Mayo; I Want a Pet; Our Seaside, an observational documentary series; Dig in Diner, a food series hosted by waitress Muireann Ni Chiobhain; and Kidspeak, which looks at kids’ various interests.