With Adult Swim’s morning announcement of Rick and Morty season five, the announcement seemed to be a different direction to how the network plans to do business. The network has already shown a brand refresh for Toonami which, with the help of series like Final Space, appears to be shedding the label of just being a lineup of linear premieres of series that have already streamed, and instead be a new showcase for a new trend in adult animation wherein comedy isn’t at the forefront. This was confirmed as such by Adult Swim head Michael Ouweleen during this month’s WarnerMedia Rise panel and with this new hire, it appears the network is continuing this trend.
According to Deadline, Tricia Melton, CMO of Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics division, has tapped Deena Sanjana Beach as VP of marketing for Adult Swim. In the new role, Beach will lead the development of the brand, marketing, media, and social media strategy for all original series, stunts, and network initiatives across multiple platforms.
Adult Swim is a network that has been devoid of marketing for at least five years. Typically, the network is famous for one billboard in NYC, one in LA, and small social media push. The laziness of this marketing PR push has been felt in the ratings as even juggernaut Rick and Morty dropped 40% in the overnights last year and this year Final Space, a series which at one point was touting nearly over a million viewers back when it was on TBS/TNT, is now down 75% in the overnights largely thanks to little to no marketing done by Adult Swim, leaving all of the heavy lifting to go to show creator Olan Rogers who is also responsible for writing all of the episodes, approving merchandise, and more. The series also doesn’t have a streaming home for next day viewing, with only the franchise’s first two seasons made available on HBO MAX.
Deena has a lot to fix here, but from the looks of the Rick and Morty announcement, she’s looking like she’s veering in the correct direction of what marketing for the network SHOULD be.
Not to be outdone, Disney is continuing to see the increased success in their ongoing investments in adult animation, despite doing their best at trying to kill off their fanbase with voice actor changes, incorrect aspect ratios, and silly warnings being displayed before content viewing. Deadline is reporting (note, they incorrectly labeled adult animation a “genre”) that Disney has launched 20th Television Animation with Marci Proietto running the new division. The relaunched studio will not only continue to manage it’s busy slate of originals that include The Great North, Solar Opposites, Koala Man, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, Bless The Harts, Duncanville (the showrunners just signed with Verve), American Dad, Central Park, and The Prince. Not only are those 11 series in production, but the unit has “dozens” of other series in various stages of production (an animated Deadpool R-rated series for Hulu starring Ryan Reynolds in the lead role is being discussed) and is looking to expand which is very exciting news.
The further away from the Disney board…the better.