Behind the masks: eOne's Ami Dieckman talks the success of PJ Masks

Behind the masks: eOne's Ami Dieckman talks the success of PJ Masks

Following a new partnership with Just Play, Ami Dieckman tells us why 2017 is shaping up to be the brand's biggest year yet.

How was 2016 for the PJ Masks brand, where has the property seen the most growth?

2016 was a very exciting year for PJ Masks, with broadcast launches around the world. Ratings for the show have been fantastic, it’s a top rated show on Disney Junior in several territories including the US, France, Spain, Italy, Australia, Germany, Portugal, Russia and South Africa and continues to gain broadcast traction in key markets such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand as well as Latin America and South East Asia.

Meanwhile, websites, apps and music videos have helped to maintain interest between the episodes. The first PJ Masks app was downloaded over three million times in six months.

The fanbase for the show has grown so quickly that we had to bring forward the launch of merchandise to meet the rising demand from consumers. With new partners set to broadcast from 2017 onwards this will put us in a strong position. 

Talk us through the current core ranges for the brand.

Toys are spearheading the consumer products programme with Just Play at the helm as the master global toy partner. Toys debuted in the US from fall 2016 and will launch in multiple markets around the world from January 2017 via best in class local distribution partners including the likes of Giochi Preziosi and Bandai.

Outside of toys and dress up, core categories include clothing, publishing, accessories and back to school.

Why is 2017 set to be a big year for PJ Masks in the toy space and the wider consumer products market?

Toys are the backbone of our pre-school properties and the importance of this category is key to its success at retail. 

Signing Just Play as the brand’s global master toy partner was our first major appointment and we have been working exceptionally hard with Just Play to create a wide selection of toys that will strengthen the connection that fans have with the show. Sales figures coming from the the US Toys R Us launch are exceptionally strong and the property has become one of the top selling across several SKUs.

What is the timing for the global rollout strategy?

The first wave of products outside of North America will be led by Europe. France leads the international roll out in January 2017, closely followed by the UK in February 2017. These will be followed by Iberia, Germany, Italy, Benelux and Russia.

We have selected best in class partners across the key categories, so Bandai is distributing Just Play’s toy line in Iberia, Simba will distribute in Germany and Flair in the UK.

Why should retailers be excited to get on board with the PJ Masks brand, what does it bring to the toy space in particular?

PJ Masks has all the hallmarks of a hit pre-school property: great storytelling, aspirational characters and kids love to re-enact what they see on the screen. With the addition of new terrestrial and VOD broadcast paltforms launching in multiple markets this year we will see the awareness grow exponentially.

Toys and dress up will be central to the licensing programme, which is something we’re really excited about. 

What new categories are you looking at for 2017?

We are working towards a broad range of merchandise in multiple territories and are looking to sign new partners that complement our core toy programme. A key focus for us is experiential activity in our key markets. The level of consumer engagement that this generates is phenomenal.