EXCLUSIVE: “We want ‘Mechamato’ to be one of our biggest launches of 2021”: WM APAC Kids head Leslie Lee

In early October, Cartoon Network (CN) picked up famous animation production house, Monsta’s new action-comedy animated series, Mechamato. The synopsis of the series follows : 

Mechamato revolves around the adventures of a young boy named Amato who inadvertently becomes the master of MechaBot, a Power Sphera with the power to mechanise any daily life object into high-tech devices. Together they can combine into the titular armoured hero. With the help of his best friends, Mechamato is on a mission to defeat and capture bad robots before they cause more chaos in the city.

AnimationXpress spoke to WarnerMedia APAC Kids head Leslie Lee on the acquisition of Mechamato, expanding Asian content programming and more. Lee oversees POGO, Cartoon Network and Boomerang in Asia Pacific regions. Read on:

Leslie Lee

> What’s unique about Mechamato that makes it stand out to be acquired by Cartoon Network? Who owns the IP?

Mechamato combines the best of kid empowerment and wish fulfilment. It then mixes it all up in an exciting package of fun, heartfelt humour and non-stop action. When we saw the pilot and character designs for the show, we were instantly attracted and felt that Cartoon Network would be the perfect home for the character and IP. 

Monsta has a great track record in the region, and we felt that the show had a lot of potential to attract even the kids in Japan (who have plenty of shows that fall into this genre) and Australia (where this style is relatively under-represented). Monsta is the owner of the IP, and we are the ones privileged enough to partner with them to bring the show to our legion of fans around the region.

> How is Cartoon Network looking to expand and enrich its APAC market with a myriad content line-up?

Our goal is to bring the best animation content to kids all over the region. To do this, we use our original content pipeline from the US to attract our fans, our regional acquisitions to broaden our reach and our original content developed out of APAC to further engage and connect with our local audiences. 

Every piece of content plays a part in contributing to a robust and compelling tapestry that is Cartoon Network. We want our offering, be it in on linear TV or on streaming, to stand for great content and the home of the best in animation for kids. Over the coming years, you’ll be seeing content that celebrates the diversity of our Asia Pacific region; and reimagining of our legendary, evergreen characters; as well as introducing new storytelling formats.

> What’s the strategy Cartoon Network is considering for marketing and promoting Mechamato

We are making sure that Mechamato is one of our biggest show launches of 2021 with a slew of great marketing and promotional activations. With the pandemic still leaving things up in the air, we are not able to share concrete plans at the moment, as things are still evolving but you can be sure we would leverage the full strength of our network and social media to promote this show. 

> How’s the experience of collaborating with Monsta? How many seasons and episodes has WarnerMedia taken up?

In our current agreement, we have secured 26×22-minute episodes. Our collaboration with Monsta has been exceptionally smooth. They are clearly a bunch of professionals who are incredibly passionate about the show. We are excited by the possibilities and can’t wait for fans to see what’s in store. 

> How are POGO and Cartoon Network building up on Asian content and what are the points that the kids broadcaster keeps in mind while choosing animated projects to air? 

Besides our pipeline of regional original shows such as the award-winning Lamput and Monster Beach, we are in development for a few other projects that we aren’t at the liberty to disclose at the moment. We’ve just launched our POGO originals – Smashing Simmba over Diwali, which comes on the back of the very successful July launch of TITOO

It’s also about recognising and showcasing the diverse and deep pool of animation talents and companies in this region. When we look at content for our platforms, we are cognisant of the fact that they need to stand alongside some of the world’s greatest shows and characters in our deep library: From Tom and Jerry to The Amazing World of Gumball to We Bare Bears, we need our local and regional content to be able to stand the test of time and also appeal to a wide base of fans.

As such, we place utmost importance on the quality of storytelling, the fit of the content on our platforms, the creative teams’ track record or potential, and how the characters and stories develop. 

> What’s new on Cartoon Network’s plate apart from Mechamato? Any new significant partnerships in place or in progress?

Besides Mechamato, look out for brand new and original series such as The Fungies!, Looney Tunes Cartoons, Elliott from Earth coming in 2021. Also, the delightful spin off from We Bare Bears, called We Baby Bears, will be making its debut on Cartoon Network in the second half of 2021. 

In addition, we have brand new specials and episodes from all the fan-favourites such as DC Super Hero Girls, Ben 10, Adventure Time, Teen Titans Go!, and more waiting in the wings throughout the year.