Sony Pictures Television Networks (SPTN) is  to launch its first free-to-air channel in Italy after acquiring local children’s network Neko TV. Neko TV will be rebranded as Pop on May 4, targeting boys and girls aged between six and nine.

The channel, which has been available in the UK since 2003, will be a “vibrant mix of fascinating stories, laugh-out-loud comedy and exciting action, brought together by unforgettable characters,” SPTN said.

Its schedule will feature acquisitions such as The Deep, Kuu Kuu Harajuku, Wild Kratts, The Insectibles and Power Rangers Ninja Steel, all of which have never aired in Italy before.

The network will also work with local production companies, and a collaboration is already underway with Monza-based Maga Animation to create a series of shortform animation interstitials.

The channel will be accompanied by a website featuring interactive games, Pop’s ArtPad app and videos.

Kate Marsh, executive VP of SPT’s Western Europe International Networks division, said the launch “marks a new era” in the company’s European business.


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By Expat