PRE-SCHOOL MONTH: Brands to watch

Just some of the brands currently making their mark in the sector.
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Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom (E1)

This show had a lot going for it even before it launched, having been created by Astley Baker Davies, the BAFTA awarding-winning team responsible for Peppa Pig. With this in mind, it’s perhaps little surprise that it enjoyed a successful launch on Nick Jr in April, or that it has already been sold into over 150 territories worldwide.
Awareness of Little Kingdom has been further boosted through a high profile ad campaign, a standalone website (, a microsite at and regular appearances in Redan magazines Fun to Learn Friends and Fun to Learn Favourites.
Golden Bear is the master toy licensee and E1 Entertainment is acting as DVD partner. Penguin is planning a series of books which will hit shelves in March 2010, while Cooneen and Misirli have been licensed to supply nightwear, underwear and socks. Cohen and Wilkes (outerwear), Character World (bedding) and Jumbo (puzzles and games) complete the current licensee line-up.
Consumer product launches across retail are currently being planned for summer 2010.

Big & Small (Kindle Entertainment)

This cute property is aiming to build on the success it has enjoyed since launching last October. Featuring the voices of Lenny Henry and Imelda Staunton, the show aims to open children's minds to a variety of outlooks on the world. Each story revolves around the comedy of Big and Small's constrasting approaches to life, encouraging young children to appreciate that people have many different ideas and opinions.
Start Licensing has been working on the consumer products programme. The long-term strategy continues to focus on key aspects of the show, such as music and the concept of perspective through the development of combinations of complementary big and small items.
Recent licensees to come on board include Fashion UK (apparel), Zak Designs (lunch and drinkware) and Little Star Creations (headphones and height charts). Avanquest, HarperCollins, Jumbo and Rainbow Productions are also on board.

Caillou (Cookie Jar - handled by CPLG)

Currently airing twice daily in the UK on Cartoonito, international pre-school show Caillou has been running for almost ten years. It is one of the top sold kids' TV series on iTunes, with the fifth season due to air in 2010 with an increased focus on storylines about healthy habits relevant to kids today, from nutrition and recycling through to exercise and brushing teeth.
The brand began as a book series in 1987, making its TV debut in 1998. Over ten million books and five million home videos have been sold around the world. In terms of licensed product, Famosa is the pan-European toy partner and there are multiple live shows touring North America, Spain, Portugal and Germany. The brand's online world also attracts more than one million unique visitors a month.

Doodlebops (handled by CPLG)

Currently airing twice daily on Playhouse Disney, there is also a Doodlebops animated series in development. Negotiations for a UK live tour are also underway.

Dora the Explorer (Nickelodeon)

Nickelodeon's Latina heroine is approaching her tenth anniversary, but is still as popular as ever (as the recent nomination for Best Pre-School Licensed Property at this year's Licensing Awards proves).
A new adventure, Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom, will release in October. The special episode features on Nick Jr and on DVD, and licensees will theme key product lines for Christmas 2009 including toys from Fisher-Price, books from Simon & Schuster and video games from 2K Games. Retailer activities, on-air advertising and consumer marketing will also back the launch.
Recent new licensed products for Dora include electronic lines from international licensee Linmark (such as toasters and portable DVD players). There are more than 80 licensees producing Dora products in the UK.

Fifi and the Flowertots (Chapman Entertainment)

Chapman has ambitious plans for Fifi this year. New look products will roll out to all retailers across the country from autumn/winter, with an international launch scheduled for 2010.
This includes a refreshed colour palate and a patchwork floral design coupled with strong handstitching elements.
Key product launches will come from Halsall, with an assortment of musical instruments, and Scentups, with hair accessories and jewellery. HarperCollins will be launching a range of play books, annuals and Christmas stories from September, while Blues Clothing has a new apparel collection - a Fifi Eco Tots range - available exclusively in Asda.
Various joint promotions with Roary the Racing Car will also be running.
To date, Fifi has secured over 50 UK licensees and has been sold into 166 countries worldwide.

Guess with Jess (Classic Media)

Due to debut on Cbeebies in early Q4, Guess with Jess will be supported by a national media campaign to drive awareness and 'tune in'.
The show is selling well internationally, with key broadcast partners on board including Treehouse (Canada), France 5, Disney (France, Italy and Latin America), ABC (Australia), TV12 (Singapore), C4U (South Korea) and Mnet (South Africa) among others.
Fisher-Price is the pan-regional master toy partner for the brand and development is well underway on its 2010 product range including plush and plastic. Other licensees include Egmont, Redan, TDP & Aykroyds, Jumbo, Hall & Associates, Misirli and Bacup Shoe.

Humf (E1)

Humf – created by E1 Entertainment and award winning animators King Rollo Films – made its debut on Nick Jr in March.
The animated series for both television and books is aimed at one to four year olds and tells the story of the adventures of a determined, but not always successful, purple furry thing.
Humf is already building a fanbase on Nick Jr and is one of the channel’s top ranked shows. E1 is now eyeing a merchandise launch in 2010.

Little Princess (TV-Loonland)

Based on the best selling children's books by Tony Ross, Little Princess remains one of Milkshake's most popular shows. Following the success of the first two series, now airing in over 180 territories, and two 22-minute TV specials, the third season with 35 additional episodes will premiere in 2010 on Milkshake, featuring Brian Blessed.
The merchandising programme currently includes over 60 licensees. Master toy licensee Martin Yaffe will be introducing new plush and pram sets, as well as hero castle play-sets for autumn/winter. A strong TV tie-in publishing programme by Andersen Press continues to roll out with over 400,000 titles sold to date. A special Christmas title is due to launch in-store for the winter season.

Mister Maker (RDF)

Mister Maker regularly achieves 400,000+ viewers per episode on Cbeebies. The pre-school arts and crafts show has 60 episodes filmed and a further series in development.
Creativity International, Dorling Kindersley, 2Entertain and Egmont are all on board, with further licensing categories in discussion for 2010.
The property is also attracting attention in Latin America, ranking number one in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia. DVD and publishing has already launched in the territory, with further partners covering arts and crafts, QSR promotions to roll out from the third quarter.

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan (Nickelodeon)

This September, Nick's pre-school TV channel Nick Jr will be premiering this new animated educational series, in which kids learn about Chinese culture and language in a fun and relevant way.
Ni Hao, Kai-Lan is the story of Kai-Lan Chow, a pre-schooler who speaks both English and Mandarin.
The first product ranges in the UK Kai-Lan licensing programme will be aimed at the teen/tween market, followed by pre-school toys and products in 2010/11.

Noddy in Toyland (Chorion)

The series debuted on Five’s pre-school Milkshake block this spring and been airing on France 5’s les Zouzous since June.
TiJi in France will start broadcasting the new show in November and, in Spain, Noddy in Toyland will air daily on TVE from September. Biplano is the licensing representative for the brand in Iberia.
In terms of merchandising, the new toy line from master toy partner NSR will hit retail shelves this autumn. Chorion is actively seeking other partners for the brand.

Numberjacks (Open Mind)

Since taking the licensing for Numberjacks back in-house earlier this year, Open Mind has some ambitious plans for the property.
There is already a significant licensing programme in place, with 20 UK licensees and 150 product lines. Over 175,000 DVD units have been sold; over 750,000 magazine unit and more than 200,000 book units. Numberjacks also boasts 45 international broadcasters, five overseas licensing agents and nine foreign language versions.
Series two will begin airing on Cbeebies in September, while, ahead of this, the Numberjacks Seaside Adventure will be released exclusively on DVD in August.
Longer term plans under consideration include a live touring show, Numberjacks for Schools, online tutorials, a birthday club, mobile website and retail exclusives. The brand's costume characters will also be making seaside appearances across the UK in the summer holiday period.

Olivia (Chorion)

The 3D animated show, based on the book series by Ian Falconer, has got off to a good start on Nickelodeon in the US, Five in the UK, ABC Australia and TF1 in France. Olivia will air on over 120 broadcasters around the world including YLE Finland, SVT Sweden, NRK Norway and RTP in Portugal.
Spin Master is on board as global master toy partner and is developing a line of pre-school toys for roll out in autumn 2010. TF1 has recently picked up merchandising and licensing rights to the property in France. In addition, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the international DVD partner outside of the US and in the UK, while Simon & Schuster will release a new TV tie-in book this autumn.

Peppa Pig (E1)

One of the UK's biggest pre-school properties, Peppa Pig has confirmed sales of over two million DVDs and one million children's books. This includes the best selling pre-school activity annual for two year's running.
On top of this, there are 55 licence agreements in the UK alone, in categories ranging from blankets and beanies to board games and backpacks.
Internationally, the show has been sold into over 180 territories and licensing programmes have been established or are being planned in a number of regions including Europe, Asia and the Americas.
E1's aim now is to make Peppa Pig into an evergreen propertyand has carefuly built up the merchandising programme over a long period with this purpose in mind. A number of large promotional campaigns are in the pipeline for this autumn, a new style guide is in development for 2010 and a raft of new episodes are planned for delivery each year until 2012.

Penelope (TV-Loonland)

Already an established brand in Japan and France, TV-L is now looking to expand Penelope into the UK with Cbeebies. The animated series was launched in July, housed within the 'Show me Show me' block.
Gallimard has published tend Penelope titles to date (sold in over 14 languages) and the brand is supported by plush, apparel, stationery and games in Japan and France.
Additional TV tie-ins are being planned by Random House.

Playhouse Disney

Playhouse Disney recently celebrated its best quarterly performance in the UK. The channel doubled its share year on year to 1.8 per cent and attracted 5.8 million viewers including two millions kids, up 14 per cent on the previous year (Source: Barb).
Key highlights include Handy Manny, which achieved its best ever quarterly reach with 3.7 million viewers, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, reaching a consistent 4.4 million viewers over the last two quarterly periods.
Pre-school continues to be a key area for Disney Consumer Products. Last year saw product launches for My Friends Tigger and Pooh and Little Einsteins. Earlier this year, products rolled out for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Handy Manny.
This autumn/winter will see the Mickey Clubhouse product range expand to include new lines, while the Handy Manny line will see increased distribution across the UK.

Postman Pat SDS (Classic Media)

Postman Pat SDS launched on BBC2 in September 2008 and is currently airing on Cbeebies. The show has proved to be something of a ratings hit, with consistently strong tune in and the best episode rating seventh in terms of the top performances on Cbeebies in May (HWK0-3 and Kids 4-6).
Master toy partner is Character Options, while there are currently 60 licensees on board in the UK. These include TDP & Aykroyds, Ravensburger, Egmont, Cohen & Wilkes, Trademark Collections, TMI Solutions, VMC Accessories, William Lamb, Zap, Blast and Universal Cycles.
A retail partnership has been secured with Toymaster for the fourth quarter, which involves children taking a letter in store for Pat to deliver it in time for Christmas. It will roll out across 250 stores in the UK and will incorporate SDS brand exposure in the Toymaster catalogue, in-store and online.
The Postman Pat SDS live theatre tour, produced by Premier, is set to begin in February 2010.

Richard Scarry (Cookie Jar, handled by CPLG)

With more than 150 million books sold in over 30 countries, few authors can lay claim to having created classic characters, vehicles and settings like the ones in Busytown. Cookie Jar is now building on the brand's multi-generational appeal by signing licensees that reflect the popularity and timelessness of the property.
In the UK, the existing publishing programme is with Simon & Schuster, which will debut a new line of books in summer 2010. Cookie Jar is looking to sign new partners in a variety of categories including toys, apparel, accessories, domestics, gifts, back to school and stationery.
Busytown Mysteries has been sold to Canada's CBC, plus Nickelodeon (Italy), France 5, ZDF (Germany), SVT (Sweden), Radio Canada, YLE (Finland), RUV (Iceland), DR (Denmark) and NRK (Norway).

Sesame Street (Sesame Workshop)

Founded in 1969, Sesame Street remains one of the leading educational brands in the world, loved by children and trusted by adults. The brand was recently extended with the arrival of Bert & Ernie's Great Adventures - which takes the popular duo beyond the basement apartment at 123 Sesame Street and into an all-new claymation series. It is currently airing every weekday on Five (which also co-produced the series) and every Saturday and Sunday on Five. Elmo's World also continues to air daily on Five.
In terms of licensing activity, Mattel - the worldwide master toy partner - has enjoyed phenomenal success with TMX Elmo and Elmo Live, which will be relaunched in autumn/winter, supported by a heavyweight TV campaign.
The UK home entertainment partner, Abbey Home Media, will continue to release new titles throughout this year and into 2010, including Sesame Street: Being Green, which is due to arrive on August 24th. All releases will be supported by strong advertising and PR campaigns, as well as multiple cross category promotions.
Three new interactive CD Rom titles by Avanquest have already been released this year. Aimed at pre-schoolers, and featuring numerous activities to make learning fun, the titles teach fundamental skills in a learning style based on almost 40 years of research.
Finally, the Sesame Street apparel programme continues to grow and expand its retail reach. It has recently added a new babywear range, currently available in Mothercare.

Super Why (Bulldog)

Super Why airs on Nick Jr, regularly bringing in more than 150,000 viewers per day and peaking at over 230,000.
It is the first original programme from Out of the Blue and is produced in conjunction with Decode Entertainment and CORE Digital Pictures. The series focuses on the adventures of four fairytale friends: Whyatt Beanstalk (Jack's younger brother), Red (from Little Red Riding Hood), Littlest Pig (from The Three Little Pigs) and Princess Pea (from The Princess and The Pea).
Bulldog is currently building up the licensing programme, with RC2 on board as master toy licensee and Cesar producing a line of dress-up. Character Worls, Little Star Creations and Redan have also recently come on board.

The Hive (PPC Enterprises)

This new pre-school property follows the fortunes of the extremely cute Bee family, who live together in Honeybee Hive. Storylines explore the themes of family, working together to solve problems, being part of a diverse community and caring for the environment.
The Hive debuted at last year's Brand Licensing Europe, attracting a large amount of interest, despite only a pilot having been made and no broadcasters on board.
The CGI series now comprises 78 seven-minute episodes and has been signed up by GMTV. The show is also being pitched in North America and has received interest from several Disney territories including the US and the UK.
PPCE is looking to develop merchandise across a variety of sectors.

The Mr Men Show (Chorion)

Mr Men and Little Miss is already a well established property for adults and older children, and now Chorion is opening it up to the infants and toddler category.
A second season is currently in production and due to air in key markets this autumn. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be releasing two new titles in autumn in the UK and one new title in France. Meanwhile, in the US, Fisher-Price, Sony and Penguin are readying to launch new toy, DVD and TV tie-in book lines.

Timmy Time (Aardman)

Currently airing on Cbeebies in the UK, recent Barb ratings for Timmy Time show more than 5.8 million viewers since its launch in April.
A raft of key licensing deals will see the brand extend further in the UK and internationally this autumn. Master toy partner Vivid has plush, play-sets, games, puzzles and outdoor toys, while Golden Bear is producing wooden toys and Trade Mark Collections for bags and accessories.
In publishing, Egmont has picked up UK and Commonwealth rights, while Titan Magazines will be producing a monthly comic for the UK and Eire.
Internationally, Aardman has a strategic relationship with Hit in the US, which has been expanded to include the consumer products roll out of Timmy Time in North America in all key categories including home entertainment, toys, games, publishing, apparel and accessories.
Other international agents on board include Super RTL (Germany), Kidz Entertainment (Scandinavia and Eastern Europe), Haven (Australia) and TF1 (France).
The stop-motion animated series has been picked up by Disney channels worldwide, including the US, along with a number of other international broadcasters.

Tinga Tinga Tales (Classic Media)

Due to air on Cbeebies in Q1 2010 and on Playhouse Disney in the US, Tinga Tinga Tales is already creating a stir.
Penguin Group is on board as global publishing partner for the brand, with Puffin Books managing publishing rights for the UK and international territories. Grosset & Dunlap will handle North America. The range will include storybooks, novelty, electronic and audio books, plus annuals, all due to launch from 2010.

Waybuloo (RDF)

The new pre-school kid on the block, Waybuloo launched on Cbeebies in May and has already proven to be a ratings hit.
Fisher-Price is the master toy licensee and Egmont is master publishing partner (excluding North America). There are over 20 other licensees on board in the UK, with products including figurines, play-sets and plush arriving this year.
The launch will be supported with a national TV ad campaign and a marketing blitz. The show will begin airing on Treehouse in Canada from September, followed by ABC in Australia. Consumer products will launch from Q3 2010 onwards.

Wonder Pets (Nickelodeon)

Teamwork, friendship and fun is the message of Nick Jr's Wonder Pets, the photo puppetry animated series about three classroom pets who travel the world working - and singing - together to save young, rare and endangered animals.
Starting from the summer, Wonder Pets will also be airing on GMTV. The show has now been syndicated in over 60 markets worldwide and was seen by nearly three million Nick Jr viewers in the UK between January and April this year.
The licensing programme began in March with the launch of the toy range from Fisher-Price, including the Wonder Pets Fly Boat, listed in all major retailers nationwide. The first DVD (from Paramount) and console games for Nintendo Wii and DS also launched in March.
Consumer products will continue to roll out throughout the year, with wheeled toys from Martin Yaffe, toys from David Halsall, a Mega Bloks toy range, books from Simon & Schuster, Ty Beanies, Christmas themed DVDs and apparel. Much of the product will be supported by a TV ad drive.

WordWorld (4Kids)

Part of the 4Kids stable of brands, WordWorld is a multi-media property where characters and objects are made up of the letters that spell what they are.
The aim is to show pre-schoolers how words can help, as well as promoting reading and showing how letters and sounds come together to make words. The WordWorld method uses visual clues that simplify reading for young children and makes it fun.
The show launched in September 2007 on PBS Kids in the US and during its first season received an Emmy award and three Parents’ Choice gold accolades.
There are currently 52 11-minute episodes available, with more in development. WordWorld is currently airing in the US, Canada, Australia and various Asian territories, as well as being offered to broadcasters in Europe. In non-English speaking countries, it is being pitched as an English language learning aid.
4Kids will be launching WordWorld in the UK at Brand Licensing Europe 2009, with a view to signing a master toy partner first. In the US, licences already exist for construction toys, arts and crafts, DVDs, publishing, party goods and software.

Yo Gabba Gabba (RDF)

Described as 'Sesame Street for the Skins generation' by RDF, Yo Gabba Gabba is making waves in the UK and internationally.
Spin Master is leading the way in terms of the licensing programme with a line of plush, figurines and Groovin' Guitars. These will soon be joined on shelf by items from 18 other licensees.
Internationally, Merchantwise has launched a consumer products programme with quirky, trendy product. To add to this success, the first Yo Gabba Gabba live show in Australia ran throughout May in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.



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