SECTOR GUIDE SPECIAL: Pre-school

We take a look at which brands are currently hot for pre-schoolers.
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American Greetings Properties

Care Bears
With over $2.6 billion in global sales bridging all categories and key retailers since 2002, Care Bears is one of the most recognised girls’ properties around.
CPLG handles the brand for AGP in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Benelux, Germany and France. UK partners include Sert MST for toiletries, Whitehouse Leisure for amusement plush and Aykroyds TDP and Poetic Gem for apparel. In Europe, direct to retail relationships are in place with Oysho and Pull & Bear.
The programme has also grown in Japan, prompting the introduction of Sweet Sakura Bear, which is available exclusively in the territory. Local agents Mindworks (Japan) and Medialink (rest of Asia) are also aiming to grow the brand further.
AGP also works with Starbright (Italy), Point of View (Israel), Max Licensing (Turkey), East West Licensing (Middle East) and Wild Pumpkin (Australia).
In terms of broadcast, global partners in key territories include France 5 and PIWI (France), Cartoon Network (UK, Italy, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Germany), Disney (Spain and Latin America), Mediaset/Italia Undo (Italy) and Kika (Germany). Home video partners include Studio Canal (France), Magna Home Entertainment (Aus/NZ), Modern Times (Greece) and Mirax (Hungary).

BBC Worldwide

Baby Jake
Confirmed as the licensor for new pre-school show Baby Jake back in June, BBC Worldwide has already appointed Vivid Imaginations as the master toy partner.
The Darrall Macqueen-developed show uses a mixture of live action and 2D photographic animation. Jake's baby-talk is translated by his six year-old brother Isaac who narrates the show. Other characters include Pengy Quin, Sydney the Monkey, Nibbles the Rabbit and the Hamsternauts.
The Vivid line of toys, puzzles and games will hit retail in January 2012.

Bright and Beyond

Sue Hendra
Bright represents a range of titles from children’s author and illustrator, Sue Hendra. Her first book – Barry the Fish with Fingers – hit shelves in 2009, published by Simon & Schuster. Sales are approaching the 90,000 mark and this popularity had led to the recent publication of follow up, Barry the Fish with Fingers and the Hairy Scary Monsters.
Also available are Norman the Slug with a Silly Shell and Wanda and the Alien.
“Sue Hendra’s titles are big pre-school favourites,” offers Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, MD of Bright and Beyond. “Both children and adults alike love them – the books are warm, witty and fun, and from a licensing view there is massive potential there.”

Bruno Productions

Soft Spots and Wooly
Soft Spots is a range of six Dalmatian puppies, created by Big Ideas. Bruno Productions holds the worldwide rights, with the brand creating some strong attention during June's Licensing International.
Meanwhile, cuddly lamb Wooly is broadcast on RTL Telekids and vtmKzoom in the Netherlands and Belgium.
The licensing programme for both properties is beginning now, with Bruno Productions in discussions with several licensees in the plush, apparel and baby toiletries categories.

Bulldog Licensing

Goochicoo
Design-led baby and toddler brand Goochicoo is represented by Bulldog, with the firm having built up a solid licensing programme.
Existing partners include publisher Little Star, which has enjoyed good sales of its My First Year books; Izziwitnot which has baby bedding lines; and MV Sports, with its TV advertised doll range.
Goochicoo continues to sell well on greetings site Moonpig.com, with the brand even used in its TV advertising campaign, while Bluebird Brands has a wide range of merchandise including Mother’s and Father’s Day mugs, luggage and travel accessories, plus car accessories like sunshades and ‘baby on board’ stickers.
Rob Corney, MD of Bulldog, comments: “Goochicoo is an absolutely wonderful brand – babies are fantastic fun and the stars of any family and the property really reflects this. Licensed merchandise is proving to be very popular and we are enjoying consistent levels of interest from the licensing community.”

Classic Media

Postman Pat
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in September, Postman Pat holds the honour of being the longest running animated series on the BBC.
Following the launch of Postman Pat SDS in September 2008, Classic Media has also received a further commitment from the BBC to air new episodes beginning in 2013, extending the existing relationship with the BBC through to 2018.
Consumer products are available from over 40 partners in the UK, lead by master toy Character Options. In addition, multiple partners have recently renewed their deals including VMC, TV Mania UK, Smiffy's, Amscan and Gemma.
September's 30th birthday will be marked with a large-scale PR and marketing campaign including special events, TV and radio appearances across the UK.

Coolabi

Poppy Cat
Since its launch on Nick Jr in May, Poppy Cat has become one of the channel's top rating shows.
Based on the Macmillan book series - which has sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide - Poppy Cat is co-produced by Coolabi and King Rollo Films.
Golden Bear is on board as the master toy and will be launching plush, plastics and arts and crafts ranges from autumn 2012. Other key partners are Jumbo, Macmillan, Aykroyds, TDP, Redan and Silver-Knit.
In North America, the Joester Loria Group is the exclusive licensing agent. The show launches on Sprout this autumn, while it also aira in Canada, Australia, Spain, Latin America, Scandinavia and Korea. Other international broadcast partners will be announced soon.

Discovery Enterprises International

Doki
Doki is the official animated hosted of Discovery Kids – the dedicated pre-school channel in Latin America.
The character appears in interstitials on the channel and engages with children, with his popularity growing so much Doki now has his own TV show for 0 to six year olds. Each episode follows Doki and friends on explorations as they travel the world discovering things like geography, native traditions and food.
Across the Latin America region, there are more than 50 licensees across all categories including toys, games, apparel, stationery and promotions. IPlay is building on its Doki toy line with new products, while most recently Hasbro joined the programmed as a regional plush partner. The initial range, featuring Doki and friend, Mundi, will launch in Q3. Products include interactive singing and talking plush, feature plush and basic plush characters.

Entertainment One

Peppa Pig
The character has just celebrated its most successful year ever, racking up £200 million in UK merchandise sales in 2010 alone, up £100 million on 2009. In terms of the licensing programme, 63 UK partners are on board with new categories including FMCG, promotions and digital.
Cumulatively, over 180,000 Peppa Pig apps have been downloaded in the UK to date and Peppa Pig, Happy Mrs Chicken is the number one kids games on iTunes. William Lamb has sold 4.8 million pairs of Peppa Pig shoes in the past five years, while Peppa Pig puzzles are the best selling licensed puzzles across all adult and children's skus.
5.3 million copies of the Redan magazine have been sold to date and Peppa remains the top selling pre-school cake in the market (based on rate of sale). Over 1.5 million Easter Eggs were sold in 2011 (volume), Blues has sold more than three million Peppa garments in the last three years and in 2010, Roy Lowe & Sons produced enough Peppa Pig socks to lay end to end from its offices in North Nottinghamshire to Berlin.
Theme park, Peppa Pig World, opened at Paultons Park, New Forest in March and a new Peppa Pig stage show - Peppa Pig's Treasure Hunt - will launch in Q3.
Meanwhile, outside of the UK, Peppa Pig is now shown in over 180 territories including the US, where it launched on Nick Jr in February and, in response to viewer demand, has just moved to a weekday slot.
The US licensing drive launched at Licensing International in June, with eOne revealing Fisher-Price as the master toy partner.

Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom
Ben & Holly currently ranks as the second most popular show on Nick Jr - behind Peppa Pig - with eOne having commissioned a further 52 x 11-minute episodes which will roll out in 2012 and 2013.
The licensing programme is also moving well above forecast, with 34 UK licensees on board. New product launched for autumn/winter 2011 include the brand's first app from P2 Games, stationery, greetings, role play toys, electronic learning toys, confectionery, annuals, hair accessories, jewellery, lighting, melamine, lunchware, bags, umbrellas, belts, hats, scarves, gloves and footwear.
Indeed, the only gaps remaining in the licensing programme are for part work publishing, toiletries, furniture, FMCG, gaming, posters, stickers and promotions.
Golden Bear and MV Sports will be pushing their toy and outdoor lines with TV advertising, while DVD release The Tooth Fairy will also benefit.
Brand awareness will be driven further by costume character appearances at Lollibop and Skyfest family festivals, a dedicated website and social media channels, on air and online activity with Nick Jr and pushes in Practical Parenting Magazine.
Moving into 2012, and eOne will be launching celebration cakes, amusement rides and wall décor. There will be on air competition activity on Milkshake and a special DVD release called The Elf Games to tie in with the Olympics. A small licensing and marketing strategy will be developed around this theme.

Humf

Having launched on Nick Jr in 2009, the audience share for Humf has been on an upward trend, now ranking as the fifth best performing series on the channel within its demographic.
The character has been featured in Redan's Fun to Learn Friends and Fun to Learn Favourites magazines since March 2009, with eOne now supporting this with two DVDs and an iPhone app (which arrived in December 2010).
The limited range of products has been well received and has created demand for a full line of licensed merchandise - this will begin rolling out in Q4 with a full retail launch planned for spring/summer 2012. Partners include Art You Grew Up With, Igloo Books, P2 Games, Aurora, Zak, Cooneen and Misirli.

FremantleMedia Enterprises

Tree Fu Tom
Tree Fu Tom is a new 3D CGI animated pre-school franchise from FME and Cbeebies. Launching in early 2012, FME will be managing all ancillary rights globally to the action adventure series, which aims to make every child feel like a hero.
The show will combine elements of heroic action, fantasy and magic. It will also boast physical interactivity coupled with valuable, positive story themes.
“We are thrilled to have such a fantastic and vibrant property in our portfolio,” says Pindy O’Brien, VP brand licensing and retail UK, FME. “It has heroic action, fantasy, magic and interactivity which will excite and entertain children for years to come all around the world. To enhance the magical experience of the programme, we will build our licensing programme to include toys, publishing, games and much more.”

Hari’s World

The Hari’s World range of books follows the adventures of Hari the elephant and his friends, with subtle safety messages woven into each adventure.
The latest title in the series – Hari at the Park – is due to launch in August, with the publishing programme featuring ten books in total. Announcements are also due to be made shortly regarding international markets.
In terms of licensed product, Dowman Soft Touch has a successful line of plush, while Hari’s World SafetySack launched earlier this year and is available through catalogue groups such as Findel, ESPO and Demco. It is designed to address the needs of the schools curriculum through ‘Every Child Matters’ and ‘Be Safe’.
New licensing opportunities are also being explored in categories such as interactive toys, collectables, board games, musical products and interactive games and applications.

Hit Entertainment

Thomas & Friends
Thomas remains the number one global pre-school brand. Already this year, a new Thomas & Friends series has aired on Milkshake and new master toy licensee Fisher-Price has a fresh pre-school range, plus new products in the Take n Play and Trackmaster lines.
The release of Day of the Diesels is the highlight of 2011, however. Special screenings at 68 Vue cinemas will run ahead of the DVD rlease in September, with a West End blue carpet celebrity and VIP premiere.
Hit believes that Day of the Diesels will be Thomas’ biggest ever tent pole release, with the greatest number of licensees on board releasing themed product across various sectors. Marketing activities include a ‘Really Useful’ pre-school pack of Thomas-themed activities sent to 20,000 nurseries and 400,000 Thomas activity booklets distributed through various outlets, including DVD inserts, Thomas Land, Toymaster stores and Vue cinemas. A special Day of the Diesels storybook will also be available via retail promotions.
Drayton Manor Theme Park has also expanded its commitment to the brand with a new Blue Mountain Engines ride. It is also due to open its new on-site hotel this summer featuring Thomas-themed bedrooms.

Mike the Knight
Hit's first new boys' property since Bob the Builder, Mike the Knight is due to launch on Cbeebies, Treehouse Canada and TF1 this autumn. 21 deals have already been signed for the brand covering most major UK categories.
Character Options is on board as master toy, Simon & Schuster for publishing, Aykroyds and TDP for apparel and accessories, Blues for outerwear and BBC Worldwide for a magazine.
Product is due to roll out in Q3 and Q4 2012.

Bob the Builder
Bob's Big Build consumer event will take place at the O2 Arena on August 27th. The event will be an opportunity for fans of the brand to experience the new toy line from Character Options, view feature length DVD special The Big Dino Dig (due for release on September 19th) and take part in activities inspired by the new magazine from BBC Worldwide.
In addition, Bob will be fronting a solo theatre show, Bob Live, which is currently touring across the UK. A new series of Bob the Builder: Ready, Steady, Build is also due to be delivered in spring 2012.

Ignition Licensing

Big Cook Little Cook
Pre-school kids TV cookery show, Big Cook Little Cook airs daily on Cbeebies. After ten years, it still achieves solid ratings, including seventh place in the top performing children’s TV shows for May 2011 (source: Infosys/Barb).
Featuring two presenters, Big Cook and Little Cook work together to provide an environment where story telling, humour, singing and guest appearances of fantasy characters lead to a new food learning experience for kids.
Ignition is currently looking for partners in publishing, toys and games, interactive and food. Licensed product will tap into the traditional pre-school market, as well as practical funky ranges of branded kitchen equipment and accessories with dual functionality – so that children and adults can use them together.

JCB

My 1st JCB
11 characters in total now make up the My 1st JCB team, including newest member Dan Dozer.
The My 1st JCB programme has 20 UK partners with a variety of new licensees joining the team this year, with launches planned for autumn/winter. These include Fine Décor (wall décor), Inspiration Works (electronic learning), Kiddyrides (coin op), Smith & Brooks (outerwear) and Trademark Collections (bags). Golden Bear will also launch key toy lines Talking Dan and R/C Doug this autumn/winter, backed by a new TV ad drive.
JCB has also moved further into the digital space, with P2 Games launching a new My 1st JCB iPhone app later this year.
The JCB Digger Challenge at Legoland Windsor celebrates its fifth year in 2011, while a new JCB Young Drivers Zone opened at Willows Farm Park at Easter. Across the UK, these zones now have over a million footfall per annum.

Kindle Entertainment

Big and Small
Production has now been completed on the third series of the Cbeebies show, with filming of the new 26 episodes having taken place in Belfast.
In addition, a Big and Small live event will be touring Canada from August. Based on an original script, the show will feature songs from the series and enable children to interact with the characters up close.
In terms of licensing, firms including HarperCollins, Bandai Namco, Paper Projects, C&M Licensing and Little Star Creations are all on board.

Little Airplane Productions

Small Potatoes
Pre-school short form animation series Small Potatoes continues to gain international appeal. The show debuted in the UK on Cbeebies in the spring and in its first week of transmission took three of the top five spots on Cbeebies Iplayer, including the number one position.
The programme currently airs on Canal+ in France, now TV’s VOD service in Hong Kong and ABC in Australia. Small Potatoes will debut on Disney Junior in the US in the autumn.
The brand has also proved a hit on Facebook, receiving over 1,000 new likes each week. Fans can interact with the band of four singing potatoes, even requesting a potato avatar based on their profile picture.
Designed to work across all platforms – TV, games, music, publishing, apps, film, consumer products and the web – Little Airplane is actively seeking licensing partners for Small Potatoes in the UK, US and internationally to help expand the property.

Little Golden Books

An imprint of Random House Children's Books, Little Golden Books is one of the most popular children's book series of all time: more than two billion copies have been printed with the first debuting in 1942.
Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2012, the consumer products programme will expand across North America with items from Madame Alexander, CSS Paper Magic Group and Karmin International among others.
Meanwhile, in Benelux, Rubinstein Publishing has secured a DTR deal with retailer Albert Heijn. Product categories include cooking and living, textile and free time, plush, educational toys, colouring books, party products and gift sets.

Ludorum

Chuggington
Chuggington is already broadcast in over 175 countries in 26 languages, and 2012 will see the introduction of some new characters.
Piper, Decka and Skylar will join series three of the Cbeebies show. Piper will join fellow trainees Wilson, Brewster, Koko and Hoot and Toot; Skylar is a crane fresh out of the teacher training academy; while Decka is a double decker tram.
The success of the TV series – which has been airing on Cbeebies since September 2008 – has seen Ludorum invest over $20 million into production to date wirh 104 x ten-minute episodes, plus 52 x four-minute episodes of Chuggington Badge Quest available for broadcast.
Three Chuggington specials are currently in development and will be released on DVD from 2013 onwards.
The licensing drive also continues, with Ludorum and master toy partner Tomy teaming up for a two-day event at Kings Cross St Pancras, targeting parents and children travelling from the terminal to UK and international summer holiday destinations. The Chuggington @ St Pancras event will take place on July 30th and 31st and will feature a branded stand demoing toys from Tomy, Mega and VTech. Kids will also be able to log on to www.chuggington.com to play games and activities and watch the latest episodes with a special screening. Visitors will also be photographed before collecting a special Chuggington passport and a goody bag containing products donated by licensees including a die-cast engine from Tomy, a storybook from Parragon, a DVD from 2entertain and a puzzle from Ravensburger, all in a bag from Trademark Collections. There will also be the chance to enter a colouring competition to win a Chuggington ‘grand prize’.

Nickelodeon

Dora the Explorer
Since the series launched in 1999, Dora has generated more than $11 billion at retail worldwide. And with season seven and a raft of new specials due to air in 2012, the show is experiencing a new peak of activity across the globe, from cruises in Norway to live shows in Australia.
Canadian family store group Zellers is running a promotion linked to Dora's Ballet Adventures in August when the DVD releases. Branded ballet inspired footwear, fashion and accessories will be supported by an integrated on air, online and in-store campaign. Treehouse Television is also supporting the initiative. Also in Canada, Wal-mart is launch its Dora Loves Puppy campaign, while Fisher-Price's Dora Pets line will launch in store.
New UK deals include RMS International for creative play, Pacific Cycles for wheeled toys and CDI for dress up. On top of these, H&A, Gemma, Walltastic and Ty have all recently renewed their deals.
Also in the UK, Nick Jr recently launched Help Dora Help, a charity initiative which provides schools with a free activity pack and the opportunity to apply for an educational grant.
Finally, in Germany Toys R Us is planning an autumn promotion that includes Dora displays featuring publishing titles and toy products supported on-air, online and with press campaigns. TRU is also partnering with NCP for a Help Dora Help initiative.

Team Umizoomi
Launched last year, Team Umizoomi has become a top destination for pre-schoolers on Nick Jr with its blend of maths, problem solving and mini superheroes. There are currently 60 30-minute episodes available, while the licensing programme includes Fisher-Price and 2K Games in the UK.

Sesame Workshop

Sesame Street
Elmo is heading back to the UK in September, co-hosting Five’s Milkshake block and also dropping in on some TV and radio programmes.
CPLG, the licensing agent for Sesame Street, manages over 30 licensees covering an array of categories. The brand’s toy presence to kick up a gear from the autumn, when new master toy partner Hasbro begins its product roll out, while Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment is launching Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster on Kinect for Xbox 360.
Marks & Spencer will also continue to grow its apparel and accessories DTR, while there will be new offerings from Abbey Home Media in home entertainment, William Lamb for footwear and a raft of other apparel partners.
CPLG has also appointed Art You Grew Up With [LINK] as fine art partner for the property. The firm will launch a range of limited edition artwork based on the Sesame Street characters.
On top of this, early 2012 will see Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music hit the UK and Ireland.

Space Enterprises

Sooty and Sweep
Space is representing Sooty and Sweep, the new TV series featuring the puppet team of Sooty, Sweep and Soo.
Due to hit UK screens later this year, the 26-part series has been commissioned by ITV and will premiere on weekdays on the CITV digital channel from September. It will then air on ITV Breakfast (ITV1) on weekend mornings from the beginning of 2012.
The new series will see the brand brought up to date, with the trio getting to grips with modern technology and staying connected through laptops and iPads. Soo has also ditched the pinny, duster and household chores and pitches in with the boys.
“This new series is a thoroughly modern take on a much loved kids’ brand and is set to delight a whole new generation of young children,” says Steve O’Pray, MD at Space Enterprises. “We will be looking to build on the property’s huge popularity to create a wide ranging licensing programme.”

Target Entertainment

EyePet
EyePet was released in 2009 and introduced gamers to a pet which comes alive in their living room through the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Move controller and the PlayStation Eye camera.
It has since gone on to sell 835,000 units across the PAL territories, with another two games due to launch by the end of this year: EyePet & Friends and EyePet Adventures.
Target has kicked off the licensing programme by appointing IGS Corporation for a multi-territory plush deal. Initial ranges of plush key chains, beanies, large plush, animated plush and sound activated plush will roll out across Europe from October. Target is also looking to expand the brand in the apparel and accessories, toys, publishing, bedding, back to school, gifts and learning applications sectors.

The Jim Henson Company

Dinosaur Train
Dinosaur Train aims to encourage scientific thinking and other skills, teaching children about natural science, history and paleontology.
The brand has 33 licensed products in the US, with new merchandise launching in the autumn including toy lines from Learning Curve, building and construction sets from Mega Brands and games from Pressman Toys.
In the publishing category, new books will be released from Random House, Grosset & Dunlap, PIL and Readers Digest, while other products due this year will include apparel from Kids with Character, ornaments from Hallmark, tents from Pacific Playtents, sporting toys from Kelly Toy, scooters from VM Global, magnetic play-sets from Patch Products and colouring sets from Crayola.
The brand is also growing internationally, with partners on board in France, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It is also growing across Latin America and in Australia and New Zealand.

Turner CN Enterprises

Cartoonito
Cartoonito, Turner’s new dedicated pre-school channel, is rolling out across EMES and the firm is confident that it can become a competitive player in the market.
New pre-school content is being acquired, meaning TCNE is working with a variety of new partners such as Endemol – on Bananas in Pyjamas – and Vodka Capital – on Jelly Jamm. Both will be flagship licensing shows, with TCNE looking for partners during Brand Licensing Europe.
Master toy partner Bandai is already on board for Jelly Jamm.

Zinkia Entertainment

Pocoyo
The Pocoyo TV series has been sold in over 150 territories, reaching a potential audience of 3.5 million people worldwide, with up to a 60 per cent share in many countries. It is available across multiple platforms including TV, DVD, web, mobile, VOD, consoles and consumer products.
More than 150 licensees are signed worldwide with over 2,000 skus developed to date.
Master toy partner Bandai is enjoying success with its existing line, which will grow this autumn with the introduction of SwiggleTraks. Also new for 2011 is a slate of DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment, as well as key publishing and apparel deals due to be announced shortly.
National promotions include an on pack offer on 1.5 million Langers Juice bottles throughout August for the Dance, Pocoyo, Dance DVD, while new broadcast and print ad campaigns are due in Q4.

Zodiak Kids

Waybuloo
New episodes of Waybuloo are due to air in the autumn and Zodiak is also confident the licensing programme will continue to grow, too.
The property now has 37 licensees on board across all key categories, with a wide retail programme in the UK. Internationally, programmes will be rolling out from 2012 across Italy, Canada, Middle East and Australia.
In addition to the Fisher-Price master toy range, ELA licensee Inspirationworks has added to its line for autumn/winter with a Waybuloo Play & Learn Interactive Books. Rudolf Stein hair accessories will also be launching later this year.
Zodiak Kids is also teaming up with the National Trust for a Waybuloo Pipling summer tour. Running until September 20th, lifesize Piplings will visit National Trust places around England including Surrey, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Wiltshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire, Wakefield and Gateshead.
Designed exclusively for the National Trust, the Piplings’ home will feature a host of activities for young visitors including an art easel, musical chimes and building blocks.

V&S Entertainment

Everything's Rosie
Series two of Everything's Rosie has been airing since May, with a third currently in production for delivery in spring 2012.
In the UK, the licensing programme is developing apace with 20 licensees now signed across a wide variety of categories. These include toys, DVDs, board games and puzzles, apparel, bedding, lunchware, bags and accessories. Master toy partner Vivid is leading the charge with its TV advertised toy range.
Key new category signings include Egmont UK, with a range of Rosie books across all formats and a magazine in development. Key formats are being fast tracked for launch in October. New categories being added going forward include dress up and accessories, party goods, confectionery, cakes and greeting cards.

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