The consumer-products division of MTM Entertainment, formed in January to build branding and ancillary market opportunities for MTM properties, has signed its first deal with a third-party partner.
MTM has picked up the marketing responsibilities in North America for children’s TV series ReBoot, which will be launching its third new season in the fall of 1997 (spring 1997 in the U.K.).
MTM’s marketing program for ReBoot will also act as a template for the show’s international licensing and merchandising efforts, says Ken Markman, MTM senior vice president, worldwide marketing and consumer products.
At the same time, Vancouver-based Mainframe Entertainment, the creator of ReBoot, is working on a new animated series for MTM that takes the Canadian studio’s computer-generated animation technique to new heights. The show is an irreverent, prime-time comedy described coyly by MTM television executives as a cross between the feature film Airplane and the popular hospital series ER.
Titled Croaker Memorial, MTM is aiming for a fall 1997 network deal for the show.
Markman says he has been a fan of ReBoot and Chris Brough, one of the driving forces behind Mainframe, since Markman first saw ReBoot while at Mattel Toys, where Markman was senior director, licensing and entertainment. When the opportunity arose to work with Brough on a new show and to act as marketing representative for ReBoot, it was too good to resist, says Markman.
‘Good projects should not be ignored, they should be seized,’ he says.
Markman says his aim is to build a marketing-driven consumer-products division that will dovetail into the rest of the MTM organization, which he describes as ‘neither just a production company nor just a distribution company, but a marketing, production and distribution company.’
In describing the orientation of his division, Markman says, ‘we don’t want to be just agents. We want to be strategic marketers who build brands. That’s our focus. Most agents are hired to sell. We want to think about how to market a property before we think about how to sell it.’
Markman says he also intends to build an international capability. His division recently brought on the Beanstalk Group to launch an international branding campaign for MTM’s one-hour action drama The Cape throughout Europe.
To kick off the campaign launch, Beanstalk has signed M6 in France and Telemunchen in Germany to handle licensing and merchandising of The Cape in their territories.