Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CN HQgate

I found something that will potentially increase the number of views to 1000 by the end of the week.
If you're on the Toonzone Forums, then RegularCapital told me to e-mail Humphrey Black about CN HQ (and BM HQ returning). Almost two months later, I received an answer from Renata da Silva Araújo at Turner's office in Madrid, also talking about a hypothetical return of CN HQ to Portuguese shores, following Vodafone's footsteps in December 2013.

And now, for your delectation, my take on the e-mail I received from her:
1: The main reason why Turner invested on a "localized" channel for Portuguese audiences were the ratings. Down in the sewers. I can imagine a channel like any news channel in English having more or less viewers than CN HQ this time last year. I have to tell you that the channel's audiences were very low, very residual. Sadly, the aforementioned core target of channels aimed at kids in general is not composed of people who can speak English very perfectly but those who are learning it. The channel was an "educational" tool for twenty years and, that way, that perception is not right. If, in this very moment, CN is trying to conquer the ratings and reach the top 10 (or, in this case, return to the top 10), it's exactly because the channel's target disliked it for the fact that it was in English. Those who were born in the late 1990s and remember seeing the channel from an early age liked it and was their favorite channel. There were some advantages, like learning English any time (incluiding days without any school classes) and at home, without any language courses.

2: And it's right if, without a cartoon channel in English (two in this case, counting Boomerang), the language's exposition diminishes but we are probably not the best in Europe to speak Portuguese perfectly. In the past, 90% of all foreign content aired in their original language (or in another language, like what happened with the Shin-Ei animes on Canal Panda) and only the most popular shows were dubbed (when RTP had a TV monopoly). Later the market grew and 99% of all shows aimed at children (incluiding live-action shows, which used to be subtitled) are now dubbed. If you turn on FOX, AXN, Canal Hollywood and others, literally ALL the shows they air are subtitled! And the only "entertainment" channel (in English, without subtitles) focusing more on shows I get is BBC Entertainment! Let's just say that this is a characteristic that is decades old and it will SURELY never change. Also, twenty years ago, cable TV consisted solely of the terrestrial channels and tons of foreign channels (VIVA? Anyone?) and Portuguese-speaking channels were growing at a very slow rate.

3: That excellent characteristic (cue the Chef Excellence theme) is also another reason about why there's no dubbing "school" in Portugal. Portuguese dubs are sub-par compared to Spanish, French, Italian or Hungarian dubs because we don't have a dubbing tradition. They say that new dubs are underway to replace those awful ones.

4: As for the relation with Portugal and Spain: yes, I'm fully aware of it. You can see tons of Spanish products (products from Spanish companies) in Portugal. We have two full-scale El Corte Inglés department stores and a few supermarkets (incluiding one in Braga, where I live). Most companies have offices in Spain and also focus on Portugal for geographical purposes. For example: AXN, FOX, Disney and others. Their channels come from offices in Madrid (Nickelodeon/MTV has offices in Lisbon but takes their signal from Spain). However, both the closure of CN ES and the launch of CN PT aren't tangentially related to each other. Spain has the complete opposite of the pay TV situation: they launched the Spanish version of Boing with Mediaset España and CN ES closed down because Boing was more popular and all that. In the channel's final months it had a very meagre schedule. Boing is terrestrial and can be watched by literally anyone in Spain or anyone visiting Spain. Over here it can be watched in the border line, terrestrially.

5: We're sure that the team is the same: CN PT, Boing ES, the former CN ES. CN ES closed due to low ratings and became a web platform. Telecable, a local TV provider in northern Spain was aware of the upcoming situation and decided to remove it, replacing it with Disney XD. She agrees that when CN PT launched, the channel wasn't conveniently translated (incredibly enough, there was a difficulty in finding the right people and translators because they weren't on their better days...!). Here's the example I talked with her:
PT: "...ele é a mascote preferida das crianças"
ES: " la mascota favorita de los niños"
Disney had that problem. On the brighter side, we thank them for inventing, in 2011, the definitive Portuguese word for frenemy: "aminimigo". Promos are now adapted by Portuguese people and come from the USA, London or other offices in the EMEA region. Promos are made specifially for CN PT (and also for Boing ES) and there's promo interchange between European feeds, so the same promo can be seen on CN FR, IT, DE, UK and others. I'm aware of that, the RS premiere promo was the season 3 premiere promo from CN HQ (the one on CN HQ had a calm announcer).

6: Finally, the channels that appear on each provider have a serious period of negotiation and money. The reason why the Arab World gets two CNs is because there's still market for channels in English (because of the huge amount of expatriates and the fact that most Middle Eastern countries used to be British colonies up until the last century). It doesn't have to do with satellites... or is it? CN Arabic is FTA, MBC 3 airs Nickelodeon shows and Jeem TV airs Disney shows. Let's not forget the ridiculously HIGH number of expatriates living in the Algarve: if they want channels in English, then they have to use IPTV "providers" containing an unusually high number of British terrestrial channels (some of those providers carry Irish terrestrial channels) but not legally. We don't know if there are any hotels in the Algarve carrying CN HQ. As for the Arab World having two CNs, it depends on your pockets because you need OSN or another TV provider to watch it.
This petition I'm making for Turner would also apply for NOS, however those channels are (or may be) expensive, but those channels could be cheap and have ratings reaching up to 1%. CN HQ and TCM HQ are (in this case, were) cult channels in the past few years (Boomerang was, but to a very limited extent). All those times I went to ZON's store at Braga Parque (or NOS) and was talking about CN HQ and trying to bring it back resulted in stuff like "you need to go to England" or "we can't".

7: Concluding, she says that other Turner channels will arrive to Portugal, whose formats will be analyzed. A wider view at the Portuguese market did not satisfact everyone. Sadly, she couldn't comprehend it very clearly and didn't understand that I could get the English soundtrack since January and that I wasn't fully satisfied.

If there's something wrong, please correct me. Also, don't forget to comment!


  1. Thanks Guilherme for not taking it tooooo far from what I replied! Just a bit :) I guess it's an adaptation issue but it's ok, we all know how hard that job may be ;) and just to make it clear for all your followers, more that finding, you asked! So, if anyone else has opinions or questions regarding CN pt, please feel free to tell us all about it at! And Keep on loving CN! It's truly inspiring to see how much passion you guys have for the cherished result of our beloved work :)

    1. Uh... thanks. I like CN HQ mroe than PT however I need to use the e-mail address to answer a few issues, and I'm more interested in dubbing issues.
      If I had a time machine, then I'll make a campaign to promote CN HQ (just CN in general) to make it one of the most-watched channels in English. If I did that, then CN would still be in English. We were friends with the UK for many many years and they STILL haven't officialized English as an official language yet!

    2. ps: and sorry, it really wasn't clear in your first email that you were aware of the dual broadcast, most of the questions we've got so far where solved with that answer. We will keep on working to make it all quite right for you guys!

    3. oh, you commented! I can see your point and we hope we're able to answer to all your doubts! Cheers!

  2. It's nice to have a response from Turner about this issue, thanks to Renata for being helpful.

    Sorry but I laughed at the "you need to go to England" line. :D

    - RegularCapital

    1. They thought that they still had CN HQ where you live.

    2. That wasn't us! ;) please note that the above text presents Guillermo's point of view blended with his interpretations on my reply in Portuguese. So, again, any doubt, you have our email! Thanks!

    3. But wait! It's not over yet! Part 2 of the CN HQgate is coming tomorrow!

  3. Now I get your point.
    Now I get it a lot.
    And now I feel like there should be two, thanks for changing my mind.

    The problem with your posts on Toonzone is that whenever I read them I heard nothing but "wah wah, the dubbings suck i want my old cartoon network back!!!1" and people who have that passion for old stuff and finding stuff to moan about on the newer stuff are the kind of people I cannot tolerate (ex: 90s kids). You always came across a whiny man whenever I read the posts, hating on newer stuff without enough knowledge to back it up, and it was more ironic since you wanted there to be an independent version and complained about it once it came out, but here, I get your point.

    You managed to convince me. I truly believe now that having both CNs would be slightly unnecessary (and possibly not worth the money if they were to reserve that for premium services) but something the kids would enjoy. It would be a win-win for both sides.

    I just wish you would have said this sooner so I didn't have a bad first impression of you because I've always regarded Portugal as a country with such poor taste in cartoons (although my tastes are heavily biased so who am I to talk?) that no one even cared for it. People always seemed to accept the second best which still is Canal Panda, and I felt like "damn, wouldn't it be nice if Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network were given more highlight in Portugal?". So seeing people who actually have grown up with the channel (which are way more than I thought there would be) becoming more vocal, I can't bitch at them. Portuguese fans gotta stick together, you know?

    But anyways, thanks for altering my mindset for the better, this was something I needed.

    P.S.: If anyone knows how to change a Blogger username, that would be appreciated. It's too embarassing having this one as my username.

    1. Nevermind, managed to change it.

    2. This blog is now my "safe harbor" for my thoughts on CN PT and HQ.
      So anyway, remember that idea for a partial Portuguese soundtrack on CN HQ I had? I'll make a full list tomorrow.

  4. I fixed a few typos and added something.

  5. I don't exactly understand why you feel the need for both feeds.
    If CN-PT allows you to choose the english audio track, why do you find it so important to have the other feed? If you were talking about an entirely different channel, with a different product or for a different audience (a bit like what Disney does with the Disney Junior channel), I'd understand. But having 2 feeds of the same channel seems a bit counterproductive. Maybe I'm interpreting your view on this in the wrong way. Can you explain it a bit better?
    Also, you say that having the english audio helps children learn English, as if there is no other way for kids to hear the language. But I'd say that nowadays kids have even more access to english products on the internet. There are so many games, videos, pages, etc all over the place with english only content, that I don't see how an english-speaking channel could really make much of a difference.
    I'd love to know your opinion on this.

    1. Well, as stated before, the Arab World gets two CNs on pay TV providers like OSN. Turner was wise and decided to launch it on FTA satellites, in order to prevent CN HQ (on pay television) from disappearing.
      My initial purpose of CN PT was to follow the footsteps of the Arabic version and be accessible to anyone with a TV. with CN HQ being a pay channel. Also, those in the Algarve were probably irritated by the switch, there are lots of expats living there.

  6. Ok, I get it. I hadn't understood the pay vs open channel idea. That could be an idea, but I still don't see how it would be all that interesting for Turner or for the providers. Again, it's not a different product, so why would anyone want to pay for a channel that is pretty much the same as CN-PT? Especially with the dual-audio track. Expats know how to use a remote to change audio tracks too...

    1. Uh, well, both channels have a different schedule.
      CN HQ has:
      Batman: The Brave and the Bold
      Teen Titans GO!
      Ed, Edd n Eddy
      Cow and Chicken
      Johnny Bravo
      while CN PT has:
      Just Kidding (eww...)
      The Garfield Show (which doesn't fit on CN, it does actually fit on Boomerang)
      So there you go.

    2. Well, I sort of understand where you're coming from, but I still don't agree. Your justification is just that you prefer (older) shows from the HQ feed, not that there would be a strong reason for providers to carry that extra channel. Still, you're entitled to your own opinion.
      Personally, though I think CN PT has room for improvement, it's had an interesting development and is enjoyed by its target audience. At least that seems to be the case with the kids in my family. They love watching the shows in their own language and understanding what's going on.

    3. CN PT has improved. A lot. Quickly. It "destroyed" the recent shows we like:
      -Adventure Time has become orally genderswapped where Finn sounds girly, Jake sounds likean old man and LSP sounds more manly;
      -Regular Show (which wasn't shown in Portugal for four months) has an older, depressed Mordecai, Muscle Man sounds like he's someone's demented grandfather, Skips sounds younger and the dub is nothing compared to the original and it is now setan Portugal;
      -The Amazing World of Gumball is also set in Portugal, Gumball sounds girly (his VA is Teresa Arcanjo, a grown woman which could easily voice Nicole), Richard sounds more demented, Nicole makes me remind of Tamako in the Portuguese dub of Doraemon (in terms of language and voice change), Darwin sounds more girly and Anais sounds almost the same;
      -Ben 10: Omniverse has just lost it's "action factor" thanks to the EU-PT dub;
      -Uncle Grandpa has voices too hard to copy;
      -and Steven Universe, whose titular character sounds girly.

    4. Half of these I don't think are legit complaints. I think it's just you getting mad that female voice actors can do boy voices and get it right most of the times.

    5. I'm OK with females voicing males in the original versions, but not with females voicing males that are actually voiced by males in foreign versions.

  7. I posted part 2 of the CN HQgate yesterday night. It has some suggestions.

  8. Using female voices to dub young boys is common practice in the dubbing industry, and not just in Portugal. It has a lot to do with the quality of the voice acting. A professional voice actor (and let's not forget that these are professionals, even though in Portugal their work ends up being ignored and sometimes unjustly criticized) can get all the nuances and moods through that someone with the right voice, but no experience probably wouldn't. (and by the way, LSP is voiced by a man in the original. That's the whole joke)
    As for the "set in Portugal" issue. This is, again, common practice when you're localizing a tv show/video game/etc. Don't forget that the main target audience are young kids. This way you give them familiar elements that they can identify and understand, so that they can then enjoy the whole context, placing them at the same level as the english-speaking kids watching the original version.

    1. LSP's Portuguese VA sounds 20% more manly than the original VA.
      Let's not forget that Doraemon is voiced in Japan by a woman! The English dub does the same, in the Nancy Cartwright variety.
      A few PnF episodes feature localizations: in "Hip Hip Parade", there's some bloke which Buford criticizes for having a Viseu accent.
      I think that Portugal NEEDS a channel in English aimed at kids. Again. And with good ratings this time.
      I've made some suggestions, please read "CN HQgate - part 2".