RDF Kids is in the thrust of expansion, with the likes of Mister Maker and Yo Gabba Gabba already under its belt and a new brand on the way.
Still in its infancy, the division of RDF Rights, which is the distribution arm of the conglomerate known as RDF Media Group, is confident it can establish itself globally as a major player in the kids market, owning and distributing a wide range of brands.
Headed up by Nigel Pickard, the division was set up two years ago in order to take its parent company into children’s and family programming and has since seen the successful launch of all of its brands on TV.
It has a large creative team, which produces shows for broadcasters in the UK and co produces projects with broadcasters abroad, including the ABC in Australia and Super RTL in Germany.
Its distribution and rights section comprises a TV sales team, acquisitions and co-productions department along with a consumer products division, which also includes a licensing section.
Its raft of properties includes arts and crafts show Mister Maker, Yo Gabba Gabba, a live-action programme featuring music, dance and cartoons; Big Barn Farm, a pre-school series on Cbeebies; Escape from Scorpion Island, the CBBC gameshow; Dani’s House, a sitcom also for CBBC; and Fingertips, an arts and crafts programme for children over six on CITV. Its new pre-school series, Way to Blue (working title) is scheduled to broadcast on the BBC in 2009.
Rachel Barke, director of consumer products, tells Licensing.biz: “In such a competitive market, quality will always stand out. As a new player, we have a relatively small portfolio of brands but each one is of a very high quality. Great ratings and re-commissions have already been proof of the quality of the programmes.”
The firm aims to continue working with major broadcast platforms in all territories, notably including the BBC, Nickelodeon and ITV, to grow its brands and ensure they gain worldwide exposure.
“Our team works closely together to place the strongest possible broadcast, DVD, publishing and licensing partners in all key markets,” Barke continues.
“We are working with some talented licensees to develop innovative product for retail that truly reflects the brand values of the individual property.
“Our role as licensor is then to ensure the maximum levels of exposure for the brand through regular broadcast, marketing and press support, and excellent communication with all our commercial partners.
“It’s a big co-ordination job, but the team has many years experience of working on highly successful kids brands and we’re motivated to make this area a success for RDF.”
Currently, RDF Kids is preparing to roll out its brands at retail level while also preparing to launch Way to Blue as a pre-school property, with the hope it will be another “landmark BBC series” as the likes of the Teletubbies, Tweenies and In The Night Garden have been.
The BBC has commissioned two more series of Mister Maker for 2009, while an arts and crafts range from Creativity International is already stirring interest among retailers, Barke says.
“Mister Maker stands out because it’s a highly creative arts and crafts show aimed at young audiences who absolutely love Make and Do. Mister Maker is a character who kids find funny and really engage with.”
Yo Gabba Gabba will also enter the UK retail market, with master toy licensee Spin Master due to introduce a range of products such as plush, playsets, vehicles, figurines and musical instruments in spring 2009.
So, despite identifying the reduction of budgets in TV commissioning for children’s programming as a threat to the future of British-made children’s TV, RDF Kids appears to have it covered with its collection of quite unique kids’ brands, strategies in place and a dedicated team.