Maurizio Distefano Licensing announces line-up at BLE

Bing, Masha and the Bear, ZAFARI, Gigantosaurus and Kit’n’Kate lead big brands at E183

Maurizio Distefano Licensing (MDL), which manages licensing for a number of global and regional brands in both Italian-speaking markets and Eastern Europe, has announced its line-up for this year’s BLE, where for the second year in succession the company will be at its own dedicated booth: E183.

Only five years after its formation by respected industry veteran Maurizio Distefano, the agency that takes his name has an extensive list of properties and clients, including some of the most popular names in entertainment around the world. This year’s focus will be on Bing, Masha and the Bear, emoji® – THE ICONIC BRAND, ZAFARI, Gigantosaurus and Kit’n’Kate, although MDL will also be discussing other major brands from the large and successful portfolio it has built in only a short time.

Bing is a leading pre-school hit in Italy. The animated stories of young Bing, his friends and how he experiences the world around him, produced by Acamar Films, have clearly struck a chord with Italian preschool viewers and their parents, with 15 episodes per day on Rai YoYo, regular showings on DeA Junior and a strong presence on social media. MDL has already signed a number of major licensing agreements for Bing, including Grabo for balloons, Lisciani for educational games, Ciao for carnival costumes, Diramix for sticker albums and a monthly magazine from Centauria, not to mention a dedicated Bing show at Leolandia, one of Italy’s most popular theme parks.

After only three series, the latest of which premiered on Rai YoYo in early June, Masha and the Bear is now a true children’s classic, pulling in big audiences on both DeA Junior and Rai YoYo for new episodes, repeats and two spin-off tales – Masha’s Tales and Masha’s Spooky Stories. It’s also popular on mobiles, PCs and tablets, Infinity, a dedicated YouTube channel and a Facebook page.

The success of the property has also been reflected in the huge dedicated site at a major theme park, numerous promotional partnerships and, of course, a thriving licensing campaign. Masha and the Bear remains one of the most sought-after licenses in the children’s market; at present there are about 40 Masha and the Bear licenses in the Italian market alone. MDL has represented the property in Italy and Switzerland since its arrival in both markets.

emoji® – THE ICONIC BRAND, a universal lifestyle brand for a target audience of all ages and genders, enjoys high awareness all over the world, including, of course, Italy, where, with MDL’s help, Tezenis has been licensed to create a fun line of pyjamas, underwear and socks for men, women and children, bringing the witty, colourful and playful style for which emoji® is known to its popular apparel ranges.

Co-produced by ZAFARI Holdingsand DreamWorks Animation Television and distributed worldwide by NBC Universal/Dreamworks, ZAFARI, a story of the rather unusual animals who live in a valley near Mount Kilimanjaro, has already enjoyed a strong reception in France, Latin America and the UK and is about to launch in a number of other territories. Appearing for the first time in June in Italy on Rai YoYo, and aimed at an audience of both boys and girls aged four to nine, ZAFARI celebrates difference and friendship through funny and exciting stories, appealing characters and high-quality production values.

This is an entertaining and imaginative animated story, whose look and themes inform a colourful and unique style guide that will allow the brand owner and licensees to build strong, appealing product lines, while the many endearing and instantly recognisable characters will lend themselves to numerous product categories.

Based on a highly popular book, Gigantosaurus is an innovative and entertaining new CGI action-comedy series which follows the adventures of four young dinosaur friends – Rocky, Bill, Tiny and Mazu – as they explore their world and try to find the Gigantosaurus – the biggest, fiercest dinosaur of all.

Themes of fun, friendship and facing your fears, plus endearing characters, witty scripts, attention to historical detail in the animals and landscape and, of course, a lot of dinosaurs, make this a potent player for licensing partnerships across multiple categories.

The show has been airing in Italy and worldwide on Disney Junior since January and will soon arrive on national public broadcasting company Rai and major networks around the world, as well as on Netflix in most territories.

The show has already inspired a line of puzzles from Clementoni and bicycles from Dino Bikes. A toy line and a video game are on the way. MDL is targeting a number of other categories, including homeware, apparel, gifts, games and stationery.

Kit^n^Kate is a very special kind of educational cartoon for pre-school kids, packed with fun, adventure and important educational messages that are incorporated into every episode. The series is currently on air in multiple territories – in Italy it appears on Rai YoYo – and online. Alongside Ferly, which acts as master publisher worldwide, MDL has already awarded two licenses for Italy – with Edizioni Playpress, which will develop a line of activity and colouring books, and with Multiprint, which will offer a set of wooden and rubbertoy stamps. 

Maurizio Distefano, President and Founder of MD Licensing, said: “Last year was our first BLE at our own stand and a great success for the agency. The three days of BLE are always a key period for meeting our partners, and potential partners, and showcasing all the great opportunities we can offer them – and this year, at stand E183, there are more opportunities than ever.”

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