ITVS GE's Trudi Hayward details licensing plans for Matt Hatter Chronicles

Trudi Hayward, SVP of global merchandising at ITV Studios Global Entertainment talks us through the programme for the popular brand
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Firstly, how did the brand perform in 2013?

Matt Hatter Chronicles enjoyed an excellent year in 2013 and as the UK licensing agent we’re excited about how the brand is building both globally and here in the UK.

The hit action-adventure series has achieved extensive international TV exposure across free and pay TV platforms and consistently high ratings in Europe, Africa and Australasia has led to the appointment of a global network of licensing agents and a powerful brand base.

In the UK specifically, the show attracted strong ratings on CITV and ITV and following on from this success the licensor Platinum Films are now in production for a new series.

Platinum also appointed the Simba Dickie Group as master toy licensee across EMEA, CEE, Russia and India, which strengthened our existing line-up of first-class UK licensees and kick-started the international consumer products programme.

How many licensees does it have to date, and in which categories?

We have a fantastic group of licensees on-board for Matt Hatter Chronicles in the UK and the list continues to grow.

In addition to Simba Dickie Group as master toy, other partners include: Penguin (publishing), Titan (comics), Topps (trading cards and sticker albums), Pedigree Books (annuals), University Games (board games), Tactic Games (puzzles), ITVS GE Home Entertainment (DVD), TDP Aykroyd (underwear & nightwear), Smith & Brooks (apparel), VMC (dress up & accessories), Trade Mark Collections (bags), Character World (bedding & homewares) and London Europe Group (watches, clocks and stationery).

We’ll also be announcing new licensee partners soon so watch this space!

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What are some of the best performing products? ?

The UK consumer products programme is set to roll-out from July this year, spearheaded by the much-anticipated Matt Hatter toy range from Simba Dickie and supported by initial product launches across publishing, games, puzzles, apparel and stationery categories in September ‘14. 

The AW14 line debuted at London’s Toy Fair and impressed with its interlocking SKUs, 3D ‘Multivision’ features and ‘Hero Hatter Tech’. Role-play, vehicles and action figures will be core to the first phase toy line with interactivity and collectability key to the play factor.

We’re pleased to say the range has received the same positive reception at the International Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg and we’re excited about the overall brand performance anticipated in its first year.

Are you looking to sign more licensees this year – if so which categories are you targeting??

Of course! 

It is vitally important to give a breakthrough brand like Matt Hatter strength and depth at retail and there are still fantastic opportunities for potential new partners to join the Matt Hatter L&M programme.

At ITVS GE we are pro-actively recruiting new and exciting licensees and we are particularly looking to fulfil categories such as housewares, greetings cards, party ware, gifts, food and confectionery. With new deals in the pipeline, our team will be at Spring Fair early February to consolidate interest and meet new potential partners.

Do you have any special marketing initiatives or promotional activity planned for 2014?

Simba Smoby UK is co-ordinating a TV advertising campaign with over 1000 TVRs planned and a number of high-profile marketing initiatives. The brand will also be supported with trade and consumer PR activity, smart immersive digital content, retail promotions and of course a sustained presence on-air and online. 

What has the reaction from retail been like to the brand??

Very positive.

The reaction at Toy Fair Olympia was particularly strong and Matt Hatter Chronicles has been highlighted in the Spielwarenmesse International Trend Selection, in which international media partners present the top themes in their respective country markets, as the number one UK brand.

Timed retail launches will take full advantage of a strong and growing brand awareness among the target audience of boys aged 5-10 during 2014. Retail selections are being finalised in the next few weeks and we’re optimistic about securing strong retail platforms to support the categories launching this year.

What would you most like to achieve with the brand by the end of 2014??

Our aim is to capitalise on the great momentum that the Matt Hatter brand has built over the last 12 months and to continue to grow our fantastic licensee base with the right partners.

Supporting the products going into store towards the end of the year with retail and marketing promotions is of course a key priority, so that we head into 2015 with a retail success story.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The reaction from licensees and retailers both in the UK and internationally has been extremely positive and with strong demand from Matt Hatter fans worldwide, 2014 is set to be a landmark year. 

Our ambition is to establish Matt Hatter as a ‘beacon brand’ in the UK for many years to come, and to continue to collaborate with Platinum and all our licensees and retail partners to produce innovative product ranges which are true to the brand’s DNA and celebrate the unique 3D Multivision concepts with interactive digital experiences and brand extensions.

For licensing opportunities, contact: consumer.products@itv.com or +44 (0)20 7157 6163.

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