LONDON: Pearson Television has acquired independent animation studio Eva Entertainment for US$3.3 million, and the Eva brand will now spearhead Pearson’s drive into children’s programming.
As part of the deal, Eva managing director Mikael Shields will become COO of Pearson animation, and will be responsible for the commercial exploitation of intellectual property rights. John Bullivant, who launched Pearson into the kids biz last year, will originate and develop creative concepts (sourced both internally and from independent producers) as director of animation.
As part of the deal, Pearson has acquired Eva’s interests in a number of high-profile animation properties. These include Rex the Runt, Pond Life and the preschool co-production Hilltop Hospital.
Although the Eva portfolio is well regarded, the core rationale for bringing in Shields and Eva head of business development, Tony Stern, is to assess the commercial potential of Pearson-owned properties. Pearson TV has already raided sister company Penguin Books-at MIPCOM last October, the company initiated plans to produce Roald Dahl classic The BFG as a 26-episode animation series. Prior to joining Eva, Shields spent five years on the management team that set up BBC Children’s International, where he scored success with shows like Noddy, Wallace & Gromit and Pingu. His ambition at Pearson is to set up a similar broad-based operation-financing new projects, and then exploiting them across all media. In the distribution market, he will work in partnership with Pearson’s sales arm PTI.