Since going private last year, Chorion has quietly been building up its portfolio. Now it is ready to shout from the rooftops about its forthcoming line-up, which includes more Noddy activity, as well as the launch of Mr Men and Famous Five projects.
Can you give us a general overview of what you have been up to over the past 12 months?
Senior marketing manager for Europe John Collins: Chorion has been going from strength to strength since going private towards the end of 2006. This move has given the company enormous flexibility, allowing us to develop new properties at a pace that best suits our needs as a business.
And we have been devoting time and effort across a number of brands in our portfolio, in particular the highly anticipated Mr Men Show, the new animated Famous Five and the transition from book to screen of the hugely popular Olivia the Pig.
2007 has also seen the expansion of our international operations in New York, Tokyo and Sydney to maximise our presence in the US, Japanese and South East Asian markets.
How is Chorion looking to expand further? Are you looking for further production acquisitions or will growth come from organic launches?
Chorion continues to grow, in terms of properties in the portfolio, the number of personnel needed to bring these brands to audiences, and in reputation as we expand our presence in the key markets.
Are there any gaps in your portfolio that you are looking to fill?
We are always looking to bring through new properties, but our approach remains strategic, ensuring we complement our existing portfolio with properties across children’s and literary estates – areas where we have proved our strength and vision in maximising the audience reach for well-loved, often heritage properties.
Where does Chorion stand on the use of new media such as mobile and the internet when it comes to bolstering your brands?
With television audiences becoming increasingly fragmented year after year, it is vital to ensure you are able to operate in the digital and mobile space. Even with the best television platforms, audiences more and more expect to be able to engage with their favourite brands outside of this media and Chorion is committed to providing a cross-media brand experience for its audiences.
The Mr Men sites are clearly the focus of a great deal of our attention – and the sketch format of the new TV show in particular lends itself so well to digital and mobile exploitation.
The award winning Noddy.com will this autumn be undergoing a revamp to create a brand new, world class interactive media platform, and the Famous Five website is right on the pulse of pre-teens with its user-generated content approach.
What do you think are the major challenges facing the business and how will Chorion look to overcome them?
I don’t think there has ever been a more competitive time for the children’s licensing industry. The latest wave of property launches is the biggest yet. It is an amazing time for quality children’s television – with Lazytown, Go Diego Go and In the Night Garden amongst the current stand out shows – but so many excellent properties coming at once makes it very difficult for licensors, licensees and retailers.
Shelf space is at a premium and it is at retail that brands will either succeed or fail. Chorion is committed to supporting its brands at retail, both in terms of promotions and through the marketing support we give our brands that drive people in-store.
Our investment in new Noddy content, coupled with the excellent platforms we have achieved for The Mr Men Show and Famous Five, and the respected licensees with whom we work, ensure we continue to lay the best foundations for success for all of our brands.