Yoram Gross-EM.TV, which produced long-running hit Aussie children’s series Blinky Bill, is branching out by developing its own licensing division. YG-EM Licensing will launch when the clock strikes midnight on January 1.
The new arm marks an end to a nearly 20-year agreement with Gaffney International Licensing.
Headed by Jo Pill, a former licensing and marketing exec with Yoram Gross-EM.TV, YG-EM Licensing will take on responsibility for all merchandise licensing of the Yoram Gross Studio’s properties in Australia and New Zealand. These include Flipper & Lopaka, Tabaluga, Dot & the Kangaroo, Old Tom and Dumb Bunnies. YG-EM Licensing will hold worldwide rights for Blinky Bill and Skippy, however Gaffney will continue to represent Blinky Bill in the U.S. and Canada for one year.
The deal also means YG-EM Licensing will represent the Australia and New Zealand rights for other co-pros from EM.TV & Merchandising, as well as selected properties from EM.TV’s new Junior catalog of programming.
The reason for creating the new division is due to the increase in product for Yoram Gross-EM.TV and a desire to control all the licensing activity in-house. ‘The time has come for us to bring our licensing under one banner,’ say Yoram and Sandra Gross.
The first push for the new division will be Flipper, which is already airing in Germany and debuted in Australia in August. EM.TV has rights outside of Australia and New Zealand and has lined up several licensees in Europe. A second 26 half hours are in production for the end of 2000, and a committment has been given by Australia’s Seven Network for broadcast of the series. Presentations are currently being made to licensees Down Under for both Flipper and Tabaluga, with merch expected by mid-2000 and end of 2000, respectively.
Seven Network will buy six Yoram Gross-EM.TV (formerly Yoram Gross-Village Roadshow) series over the next five years, representing 78 hours of programming. The first series delivered to Seven was Nelvana co-production Dumb Bunnies, followed by Flipper.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has committed to broadcast new Yoram Gross-EM.TV series Old Tom, which begins production in January for a second quarter 2001 delivery, although a broadcast date has not yet been set. The 26 x half-hour series is a co-pro with France’s Millimages and centers around a mischievous cat and his prim and proper human companion, Angela Throgmorton. Toronto-based AAC Kids recently acquired Old Tom worldwide merchandising and distribution rights, with the exceptions of Australia, France, New Zealand, Germany, French-speaking Africa, Benelux, Eastern Europe and India.