At the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair (26-28 March), Mondo TV, one of the largest European producers and distributors of animated content, will be again attracting a large number of visitors keen to hear the latest news about its portfolio of inventive and varied properties. Four in particular are bringing big licensing news stories to the only major licensing event in Italy. Visitors to stand B/19 in pavilion 31 will hear about the growing licensing success and arrival on Italian TV of Heidi Bienvenida and Robot Trains. They will also hear about the launch of YooHoo to the Rescue as a NetFlix Original Series in 2019 and the many licensing opportunities offered by both YooHoo to the Rescue and Invention Story, a major new Mondo TV property arriving at Bologna for the very first time.
Heidi Bienvenida, Mondo TV’s live-action comedy-drama for teens, is in the news with its imminent arrival on Italian TV, which takes place only weeks after the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair.
This co-production with Alianzas Producciones – about the adventures of a happy, carefree girl who leaves her beloved mountain home to live in the big city – has already sold strongly into many Latin American markets and extended its reach to Russia and Israel. It is now about to arrive in Italy, where it will be aired from April on Rai Gulp, a major name in teen programming.
This is good news for fans of high-quality teen programming – and great news for the growing Italian licensing campaign around the Heidi Bienvenida property. Panini for sticker albums and trading cards, Mondadori for books, and Walcor for seasonal confectionery are all signed up. More – including a soundtrack CD – is coming. Social media campaigns, competitions, cast interviews and appearances by the show’s star, Chiara Francia, will be part of a major marketing campaign to support the launch of the show in Italy.
And that’s not all! Series two of Heidi Bienvenida has already been filmed and will launch in 2019.
An Italian launch is also part of the big news story that is Robot Trains, an exciting, inventive new animation for kids, produced by South Korea’s CJ E & M, one of the leading Asian names in the production and distribution of audio-visual content. Robot Trains launched on Italian pay-TV channel DeA Junior on September 4, 2017. In February this year it came to free-to-air DTT channel Cartoonito. Mondo TV is distributor of the first series in a number of major territories, of which Italy is one.
This thrilling 32 x 11’ series for four-to-seven-year-old children is set in Train World. Train World is an extraordinary place, inhabited by talking trains. But some trains are even more amazing: they can turn into robots! A second season, consisting of 52 episodes of 11 minutes each, all in 3D CGI, is already under way. Mondo TV is not only distributing the new series but is also co-producer.
Of course the show lends itself strongly to licensing activity. Silverlit Robot Trains ranges will be distributed in Italy by Rocco Giocattoli, a leader in toy distribution in that country. Rocco Giocattoli will support retail distribution with a powerful marketing campaign.
The licensing programme in Italy now also includes Grani & Partners (for collectible Robot Trains products), Preziosi (for confectionery and snacks), La Feltrinelli (for publishing), Ravensburger (for puzzles and memory games), Modecor (for confectionery decorations) and Kimbe (for live characters and events). Stickers and trading cards from Panini, carnival costumes, party sets and summer toys produced by CIAO, and paper handkerchiefs from Cleanpaper add up to an impressively wide-ranging licensing portfolio – with many other agreements under discussion or about to be announced.
On a very different track from the action and excitement of Robot Trains is Invention Story (104 x 11’), a co-production from Henan York Animation and Mondo TV that arrives next year. It’s the tale of an intelligent, thoughtful and creative fox who, in each episode, comes up with a new invention. The show is being promoted at the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair for the very first time.
There are plots, conflicts and rivalries as well as funny, eccentric and engaging characters — but this show also offers something different. By following the little fox in his efforts to build each new invention, the young audience will find out more about science and how it works.
Such is the enormous potential of Invention Story across both play and learning-related licensed product that Henan York Animation and Mondo TV have already committed to five series – for a total of 520 11-minute episodes. This is an important development. A broadcast reach that will include many of the free-to-air and pay-TV broadcasters of all major countries, combined with a five-series commitment, will allow partners to develop a successful long-term licensing programme.
There has been a strong broadcast and licensing response to YooHoo to the Rescue, the brand-new 3D CGI animated series based on the line of plush toys made by Aurora World. Now confirmed as a Netflix Original Series, the show is expected to launch in 2019, and is already attracting strong licensing interest – not too surprising given that more than 80 million YooHoo to the Rescue plush toys have been sold since the worldwide launch of the line in 2007. The licensing programme already has Panini on board for publishing with a worldwide agreement, along with Mondadori. Dolfin has agreed a multi-territory deal for Easter eggs and confectionery, while, for the Italian market, Playpress has produced a YooHoo to the Rescue edition of its popular Magic Albums, launching exclusively at the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair. The master toy category licensee is close to being finalized. The master toy plush licensee is, of course, Aurora. Other categories have been agreed and will be announced soon.
Valentina La Macchia, Licensing Director, says: “While we have many established licensing successes, these four properties are ideally timed for Bologna – two as recent arrivals on Italian TV, one as a major long-term broadcast commitment and one as a Netflix Original. All four are already creating a real buzz in the licensing world – and we can hardly wait to tell visitors about our plans for these amazing properties.”