There's a 'healthy appetite for Hey Duggee toys', says BBC Worldwide

Jade Burke

By Jade Burke

October 2nd 2017 at 7:17AM
There's a 'healthy appetite for Hey Duggee toys', says BBC Worldwide

After securing toy partners in Jazwares and Golden Bear, BBC Worldwide has witnessed a growing demand for toys inspired by the property. Here, the firm’s global brand director for pre-school, Harriet Newby Hill, reveals all on the brand’s burgeoning social media following and plans to take Hey Duggee to new territories.

How has the Hey Duggee brand been performing over the past few years? 

Hey Duggee has been doing fantastically well and we’re very proud of its success. It’s been a break-out hit on CBeebies and consistently ranks as one of the top three programmes on the channel and has an impressive global footprint in over 150 territories.

It’s also award-winning, with a BAFTA and an International Emmy Award under its belt. It’s been selected for the Ottawa Int. Animation Festival (Sept) and also the Japan Prize 2017 in Tokyo (October).  And as you’d expect, with the brand performing this well, there is a strong and growing demand for licensed product.

What do you think the Amazon Prime Video deal with BBC Worldwide’s kids’ content will bring to the property? 

The Amazon Prime Video deal is a lovely addition for Hey Duggee fans. We are in a fortunate position whereby the show is both an appointment to view property on linear and a favourite show for audiences to repeat watch on digital platforms as well. We know that pre-schoolers enjoy repeat watching their favourite shows, and Amazon Prime Video provides our young fans another place to discover and enjoy Hey Duggee.

Hey Duggee apps have been proving popular with fans, surpassing one million downloads. Why is it important for the brand to have a presence in the digital space?

Our Hey Duggee apps and social media platforms help us build a relationship with parent/carers and extend the enjoyment of our young fans through makes, bakes and short-form promotional content. We’re incredibly fortunate to have such great content to inspire our brand extensions and to have a partner in Studio AKA who are as excited as we are at trying new forms of digital activity.

We currently have over 109,000 fans on Facebook and over 5,000 followers on Twitter and those fans are active and engaged. Of course, we use the platforms to keep our fans updated on new episodes, product launches, product availability and so on, but most of all we offer a dose of Duggee fun, activities and hugs to brighten the day.

We’ve got quite a lot up our sleeves, from more fun assets for digital platforms, heaps of short-form content ideas and we are very excited about the designs coming through for UK secondary licences. 

Harriet Newby Hill, BBC Worldwide

On an international scale Hey Duggee is smashing viewing figures. Are there any new territories you’re hoping to take the brand to? 

It certainly is – the appeal of Hey Duggee is undeniable. In the US, the series was in Nick Jr’s top five programmes at launch last summer and is consistently a strong performer for the channel. In China, Hey Duggee has had a phenomenal start and has had around 470 million combined views on Tencent and iQIYI, since launching on these sites in April and May.

We of course would like to expand the show’s global paw print further with leading broadcasters and platforms. Our focus is very much on finding the right partner who will love the show, understand how best to grow the brand in their market and have a strong audience reach.

How has the property been performing in the toy space? Are toys a crucial expansion for Hey Duggee? 

Hey Duggee toys continue to do well at retail. We’re enjoying a great partnership with Jazwares in the US who recently launched a range of collectable plastic figurines and play-sets, small plush and a talking Hey Duggee plush in Walmart and Target.

In the UK, Golden Bear continue to develop the brand with a new Hey Duggee plush product range for autumn/winter 2018. Recently the current Hey Duggee plush completely sold out in the UK due to popular demand and fans were continuously asking on our social platforms when more stock would become available, so there’s definitely a healthy appetite to Hey Duggee toys out there. Our focus is on finding the right licensing partners to meet this growing demand.

Are there any new licensees on board you can tell us about? 

We have a host of great new softline licensees for Hey Duggee that we are very excited about. VMC are on board to make Hey Duggee accessories such as headware, gloves, scarves and umbrellas, as well as dress -up items. Trade Mark Collections will be bringing a range of backpacks and umbrellas to the market, Roy Lowe & Sons have inked a deal with us to create Hey Duggee socks and we have signed-up William Lamb for footwear, including slippers and wellington boots.

Additionally, we have Paper Projects on board for stickers and other recent launches that have proved an immediate success include Aykroyd and TDP for nightwear, underwear and swimwear and Blue Sky Designs who create a wonderful range of art, stationery and activity products.

What’s next for Hey Duggee? What should fans look out for over the next year? 

We’ve got quite a lot up our sleeves, from more fun assets for digital platforms, heaps of short-form content ideas and we are very excited about the designs coming through for UK secondary licences. As the Hey Duggee fan-base expands we will continue to grow our digital paw print and brand extensions in these markets.

BBC Worldwide is exhibiting at BLE this year. Why should attendees stop by your stand? 

Over the last few years we have built robust plans to grow our brands into sustainable franchise led businesses, which we hope will lead to great success for all involved. We work with some exceptional creative talent and have really strong brands that are performing well on air both in the UK and globally, resulting in a growing demand for merchandise and would encourage all to visit us at BLE to hear more.

Why are shows such as BLE important to you guys? 

Licensees and retailers are continually searching for IP that can help expand their business and reach new audiences, and BLE gives us the perfect platform to showcase our portfolio of growing new and established global brands.