The Britt Allcroft Group (BAG) has unveiled plans to develop TV and marketing programs for Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends in a range of new international markets.
After the show’s performance in the U.K., North America, Australia and Japan, BAG commercial director and Catalyst Entertainment CEO Charles Falzon says, ‘Currently, we have plans to create versions of the property for France and Latin America. In addition, we are close to securing the broadcast of all 130 episodes in South Africa, where there will also be a character licensing program. TV distribution is a cornerstone, but we always seek to arrange TV, video, publishing and licensing partners early on.’
BAG’s plans for France and Latin America involve creating French and Spanish pilots of the show. Although Falzon does not rule out repeating the U.S. strategy, which involved creating the half-hour, animation/live-action vehicle The Shining Time Station, he says that approach is not on the drawing board at present.
‘In the case of Latin America, the emphasis will initially be on finding a local Mexican partner that can help develop the property across media and on a country-by-country basis,’ says Falzon.
BAG has two other classic animation characters-Captain Pugwash and Mumfie. The agenda for Pugwash is further development in the U.K., while Mumfie’s immediate future lies in exploiting the U.S. market via its association with Fox Kids Network.