Tree Fu Tom

What makes this one of FremantleMedia Kids and Family Entertainment's most popular pre-school properties?
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With the promotion of healthy development in children, Tree Fu Tom is currently sweeping the globe with its message of magic and movement.

Co-produced by CBeebies and FremantleMedia Kids and Family Entertainment, Tree Fu Tom debuted on the kids’ TV channel in March 2012.

Since then, the show featuring the acting talents of David Tennant and Sophie Aldred (pictured below), has enjoyed high ratings and was the biggest rated show among children 4 - 6 in 2012, (excluding special events).

And CBeebies has recently commissioned a second series.

Around the world, Tree Fu Tom is hitting the mark with a multitude of broadcasters, as series one is already sold to France, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Eastern Europe, Korea, Brunei, Italy, Canada, Norway, Belgium, Finland and Latin America.

Furthermore, it recently debuted in the US on the children’s channel Sprout.

But the allure of the Tree Fu Tom brand does not truncate there. FremantleMedia Kids and Family Entertainment is already branching into a comprehensive programme of licences for the treetop world of Tom.

“As the show makes its debut around the world, licensing programmes will roll out globally,” Pindy O’Brien, FremantleMedia Enterprises’ VP of brand licensing and UK retail, tells Licensing.biz.

“We have the global distribution, licensing and home entertainment rights so we can really extend the brand across multiple platforms around the world.”

Tree-mendous TV

Centered upon a large tree in the heart of a British forest, Treetopolis is a miniature world - home to the host of Tree Fu Tom’s magical characters.

The show combines elements of heroic action, fantasy and magic, but most unique is its emphasis on interactive physical activity.

“Viewers are encouraged to interact with the show through physical actions that have been devised and approved by movement development specialists to assist in the development of children,” explains O’Brien.

It is a concept that The Dyspraxia Foundation is happy to endorse.

“Tree Fu Tom offers a unique opportunity to raise the profile of this misunderstood condition and offers children with dyspraxia the opportunity to gain extra practice at the movement skills they find challenging,” says Sally Payne, Chair of the Dyspraxia Foundation.

It is the hero, Tom, who encourages kids to join in and follow his moves to help him utilise his superpower, Big World Magic. And it’s this concept that is the key selling point of the programme.

“From a licensing perspective, it means we’re developing high-quality innovative products with our partners that encourage role-play, interactivity, movement, magic and fantasy,” says O’Brien.

Licensing with flair

In the UK, the licensing campaign is already in full swing.

Tree Fu Tom’s first full range of products hit retail in March this year with toys from its European master toy licensee, Giochi Preziosi/GP Flair.

Meanwhile, Random House Children’s Publishing has signed with the brand for a collection of books and Ravensburger presents a range of puzzles.

MV Sports also joins the growing list of licensees with triscooters, skateboards and helmets based on the popular show.

Furthermore, recent deals have seen VTech sign with the brand for electronic learning toys, Brand International for a range of footwear, GB Eye for posters and badges and International Greetings across creative publishing, stationery, arts and crafts and crackers.

Now, FremantleMedia is focusing on filling its secondary licensing sectors.

“We’re now looking at finalising the remaining secondary categories, and as the show progresses, we’ll introduce new and exciting products that continue to reflect the brand,” comments O’Brien.

“We’re aiming to keep the brand fresh by gradually introducing products to the marketplace.

“And as the show makes its debut around the world, we’ll follow a similar path in those territories as well.”

Finally, the brand is also building a vast online presence through the social media site Twitter. In the run up to the launch of its first toy range earlier in the year, 20 Tree Fu Tom Twitter parties delivered nearly four million tweets across the UK.

O’Brien concludes: “It was wonderful to see Tree Fu Tom getting young children really engaged with the brand.

“The global broadcast roll out will begin later this year and we are confident the series will be really popular around the world.”

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