Mattel Creations expands global reach of Thomas & Friends with new broadcast deals

A raft of deals have been struck in China, while the Thomas & Friends series will have a new broadcaster for pay TV in the UK from 2017.
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Mattel Creations has secured a raft of new international deals for Thomas & Friends.

The firm has signed multiple deals for Thomas & Friends with broadcasters and digital platforms in China, including with China Central Television, LeEco, China Mobile and Air Media. A Thomas & Friends channel also recently launched in China on Youku, with over three billion people reached in China across all Thomas & Friends digital platforms.

Other Asian broadcasters onboard for new Thomas & Friends content include NHK (Japan), Global TV (Indonesia), GMA (Philippines), KBS (South Korea), TVNZ (New Zealand) and TVB (Hong Kong).

For the rest of the world, Mattel Creations has signed international broadcaster deals for Thomas & Friends series and specials with ABC TV (Australia), Channel 5 (UK), Minimini (Poland), Next (South Africa) and RTÉ (Ireland).

Elsewhere, the Thomas & Friends series will have a new broadcaster for pay TV in the UK from 2017 onwards, when it moves from Nickelodeon Junior to its new home, Cartoonito.

Cartoonito will be airing Series 20 of Thomas & Friends in early 2017, followed by the latest special Thomas & Friends: The Great Race, at Easter.

“Thomas continues to be one of the top performing children’s shows in the world and the latest host of exciting new global deals for the series and specials demonstrates how we are extending the reach and range of platforms as part of our distribution strategy," said Justin Richardson , VP content distribution and content strategy, Mattel Creations.

"We are also delighted to see Thomas do so well on theatrical platforms, which is testament to the great production values of these specials and the appetite from fans to see Thomas on the big screen.”

Mattel Creations have signed a new deal with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment for European home entertainment distribution of Thomas & Friends specials in Benelux, Greece, Turkey and Czech Republic. The deal also includes European home entertainment distribution of Thomas & Friends Series 20 in Italy, France, Malta, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican, Luxembourg, Andorra and French language Belgium.

Kate Schlomann, VP global brand marketing for Thomas & Friends, added: “The Thomas & Friends franchise goes from strength to strength with its global appeal to parents and children. Thanks to our content distribution strategy, we see new generations of families all around the world discovering the content’s powerful message of friendship and camaraderie as well as humour, action and fun.

"The brand’s expansion into Asia has seen phenomenal growth and this latest deal with CCTV will further cement this once it starts to TX next year.”

Thomas the Tank Engine™ was created over 70 years ago by a British clergyman, the Rev W Awdry, as a storybook for his son. That story quickly grew to become the award-winning global brand franchise it is today, enjoyed by families in more than 150 territories and in over 40 languages across multiple touch-points and formats, including: 400+ original TV shows; 11 feature-length films; 14 websites in nine languages; apps; toys (ranked number one property in the pre-school toys category in the UK and Australia and number two in the US); consumer products; publishing; live attractions and much more. 


Big screen beckons for Mattel Creations

The new division has a slate spanning live-action movies, video games, TV shows based on the American Girl and Barbie brands, as well as feature-length specials for Fireman Sam, Thomas & Friends and Bob the Builder.

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