What has this year been like so far for you guys?
2016 has had a great start for us. Our flagship brands Heidi and Maya continue to exceed expectations as we have now secured new licensing deals and content scheduled across the year. Heidi is currently enjoying the number one TV spot on Disney Channel in Latin America and is being supported by partnerships with Feg Entretenimientos SA (FENIX), Sticker Design and Daysal, which will see live shows, trading cards and children’s tableware planned throughout 2016.
Our partnership with Famosa will see Heidi toys and games launch in the Middle East for Christmas and most recently, an extension to Mexico. The Heidi range has already launched in Europe and been a major success with the series launching on TRT Cocuk in Turkey.
Maya continues to build momentum from a hugely successful 2015 with production launch of season two of the TV series, featuring 52 new episodes that are set to air early 2017, while a second movie is due for release in 2018. Our new rep agent Brand4rent for Russia will target new categories, develop marketing support and build on the existing licensing partnership by securing licensing deals with master toy Grand Toys and publishing group Egmont.
We have also announced a partnership deal with Lidl in Belgium and Slovakia, which will see Maya themed playgrounds built by Lidl in cities with at least one of its stores. In addition to this, Lidl Slovakia will organise several Maya loyalty programmes that will be introduced in the future. Plus, a new TV series of Blinky Bill is in production.
What will you be shouting about at the Expo?
We will certainly be highlighting our fantastic achievements in 2015 with Maya retaining 300 licensees globally and now broadcasting in 172 countries, plus the first CGI TV series of Heidi launching in 148 countries with top ratings. Our focus remains around Heidi and Maya’s success this year, and the plans for the rest of 2016 and beyond.
What do you have planned for the year ahead?
Our key objective is ensuring successful expansion to markets in Latin America with Heidi, and embarking on our five-year plan for Maya the Bee in terms of programming and licensing.
In 2016, Lidl plans to open 10 Maya playgrounds and expect more to be created in 2017, and with 1.5 million Slovaks already having voted for one in their community, we feel this will be a pivotal moment in the brand's success.
Later this year Maya the Bee will also celebrate a landmark 40th anniversary with events throughout the year to recognise this amazing achievement, which we are greatly proud of here at Studio 100.
In summer 2016, experiencing Heidi’s life will be possible thanks to a HeidiLand Tourism programme in Germany or a Heidi four-star hotel in Austria. A Heidiland in Plopsa de Panne (Belgium) will also be fully opened in Q2 2017 with the first attraction opening this summer. Heidi is proving to be hugely popular in the Latin America region with a raft of new licensees already announced in the first half of this year.
How important are events such as the Licensing Expo to you?
Vegas is a fantastic platform for us to showcase key announcements, licensing deals and future plans for our flagship brands, in particular Heidi. We have the opportunity to meet and network with many key figures in the licensing world and it’s a great place to extend our relationships with agents. We also get a real sense of the market trends that make the industry so competitive but truly great at the same time.
What’s your favourite thing about the Licensing Expo?
A great chance to see the world of licensing in one place – to see new trends, license evolution and all of our wonderful colleagues and friends within the industry.