Mondo TV’s licensing and broadcasting success on show at Las Vegas
Mondo TV continues its growth as producer, co-producer, distributor and licensor
At this year’s Las Vegas Licensing Expo (4-6 June) Mondo TV will again show why it is one of the largest European producers and distributors of animated content. But it will also underline its massive success in recent years as a co-producer and a maker of live-action programming, as well as a licensor – a role that now includes third-party representation for one of the biggest plush hits of the last decade.
Visitors to stand C204 at the Expo will have a lot to see and talk about – and in particular six properties making waves – or soon to arrive – in a number of markets: Feisty Pets, YooHoo, MeteoHeroes, Robot Trains, Invention Story and Heidi Bienvenida.
Feisty Pets are interactive plush toys – with a difference. They look cuddly and cute but transform when squeezed, losing their pleasant expressions and displaying fangs, sarcastic grins or funny faces.
This simple but skilfully executed concept has been a massive hit online, in the media and at retail; the line, now totalling some 80 characters, has sold in the millions. The brand already has a global master toy partner (Jazwares) and a master English language publisher (Scholastic). Lifestyle-based consumer products will follow. Mondo’s first representation of a non-broadcast property in the Italian and Iberian markets has been a major success, bringing the content giant together with a true phenomenon that is expected to replicate its online and plush success in licensing.
In Italy the toys will be distributed by Giochi Preziosi, with which Mondo TV is working closely to build a solid retail sales strategy planned for autumn 2019, when the plush line will be placed throughout the market. Mondo has already signed up Publievent, highly regarded in the Italian market for the organisation of live events, to produce Feisty Pets-themed shopping mall events, Clementoni for innovative puzzles that cleverly adapt the dual personality concept behind the toys, and Edicart for original and highly entertaining humorous books.
YooHoo to the Rescue is the first-ever Netflix Original Series from co-producers Mondo TV and Aurora World. It became available worldwide from 15 March 2019 exclusively on the Netflix platform as a Netflix Original Series. From April and May this year it has been shown on free-to-air channels in Italy, Russia, Poland, Spain and Portugal. It is also a major licensing prospect.
This new 3D CGI 52 x 11’ children’s series is based on the globally successful line of Aurora World plush toys, more than 80 million of which have been sold since the worldwide launch of the line in 2007. It’s a funny, exciting and beautifully designed animated series with strong environmental themes, in which YooHoo and his friends, Pammee, Roodee, Chewoo and Lemmee, travel from their home in YooTopia to Earth to confront threats to nature and wildlife and meet many different endangered animal species.
The YooHoo brand has attracted strong international licensee interest in such areas as baby care products, fragrance, bath and body products from Nuvita, and stickers and trading cards from Panini. Many important categories are also covered through domestic deals, notably an Italian agreement with Mondadori, which will launch its first title, the YooHoopedia, in Italy in autumn 2019. Plush is, of course, directly managed by Aurora. A refresh of the popular line based on the new characters that YooHoo to the Rescue brings to screens is taking place across all markets; there will also be a plastic toy line.
Mondo TV will preview a major new property at Las Vegas. MeteoHeroes is a Mondo TV co-production with MOPI (Meteo Operations Italia – better known to the public as the Epson Expert). Scheduled to launch in autumn 2020, this animated comedy-adventure will consist of 52 episodes of seven minutes each.
MeteoHeroes is about six kids – Fulmen, Nix, Nubes, Pluvia, Thermo and Ventum – who discover that they can control the weather. Each one has a different superpower, connected with a different weather phenomenon, enhanced by special gadgets and costumes. Working with a group of meteorological experts, they find out how to use their powers to help the Earth – while also learning about friendship, cooperation and diversity as they work together. The combination of great characters, gadgets, science, comedy, adventure and such topical themes as climate change and energy saving is expected to inspire a strong licensing programme. Mondo TV plans to sign up key partners in order to ensure that the series has worldwide reach both in terms of media distribution and in terms of licensing and merchandising. The Giunti publishing house already has an exclusive publishing agreement for Italy. The global master toy partner is a major target and one that will be a strong focus for Mondo at the Las Vegas event.
Licensing activity for Robot Trains, the exciting animated series for children aged between three and five, is strong in a number of territories, where toys from Silverlit, confectionery and snacks, books, puzzles, live characters and events, stickers and trading cards, collectible 3D figurines, carnival costumes, personal care products and paper handkerchiefs are just some of the items in shops or soon to appear at retail. There’s even an amazing augmented reality app, launched this year, through which players can access a wide selection of games by purchasing a product and scanning its packaging. And the digital innovations don’t end there: an educational app based on season two of the show will soon be released by Tap Tap Tales in North America and Europe.
With the second season of Robot Trains bringing new characters and new themes, this thrilling tale of a brave group of friends who transform from trains to robots to protect their home and its vital energy supplies is expected to expand its licensing appeal. Co-produced by Mondo and South Korean content and media giant CJ E&M, season two (52 x 11’) premiered in France on Gulli on 5 November 2018 and is now on air in Italy on Cartoonito (where it has become the channel’s second-best-performing show), Karusel in Russia and Canal Panda in Portugal. Its most recent launch, however, has been in Spain, on Clan, where season two of Robot Trains launched on 22 April at 6pm – a primetime slot – with two episodes. A number of other territories will be following this year. Demand for season one (32 x 11’) remains strong, with a number of European, Middle Eastern and Asian broadcasters now showing the first series of Robot Trains.
Invention Story (104 x 11’) is the tale of Kit, an intelligent, thoughtful and creative fox who, in each episode, comes up with an amazing new invention. There are engrossing plots, conflicts and rivalries, as well as funny and engaging characters — but Invention Story also encourages its young audience to have a creative approach to problems. Visitors to the Mondo TV stand can hear more about the enormous potential of Invention Story across both play and learning-related licensed product. Co-producers Henan York Animation and Mondo TV are certainly convinced and are looking forward to the show launch’s on CCTV, China’s leading broadcaster, on 1 July.
Mondo’s first-ever live-action show Heidi, Bienvenida a Casa (60 x 45’), produced by Mondo TV Iberoamerica along with Alianzas Producciones, has enjoyed great success in Latin America on Nickelodeon and is now showing strong potential in the European market – for both licensees and broadcasters – thanks to launches in Russia, Italy and, most recently, on Disney Channel Spain. The adventures of a happy, carefree girl who leaves her beloved mountain home to live in the big city has inspired a strong licensing campaign embracing stickers, events, book publishing, magazines, confectionery, personal care items and a soundtrack CD. A feature film and the arrival this year of a second season of Heidi Bienvenida – Heidi Bienvenida al Show – will further boost Heidi’s popularity on TV, online and at retail among tweens and teens in many territories.
Valentina La Macchia, Licensing Director, Mondo TV, says: “Mondo TV has even more to offer this year in terms of content and properties at Licensing Expo, not just through our productions and co-productions but – for the first time – through an internationally successful plush brand. And of course Licensing Expo will offer us the chance to finalize a number of other important collaborations that will further enhance our license portfolio. We are incredibly excited about our stronger-than-ever licensing capability and are sure that visitors to stand C204 will be excited too.”