Bumble, a preschool live-action series from New Zealand’s state-owned enterprise TVNZ is seeking off-island broadcasters and licensing for the bee character and his friends. The series first launched in New Zealand in August 1999 and is now at the 260-ep threshold; Bumble marks the first preschool series in New Zealand with that kind of volume.
Toys will be skewed to mass market, says Kerry Atwill, licensing manager at TVNZ Enterprises, since The Warehouse, a Kiwi-based toy chain, has a large market presence for kids’ products especially in the areas of music, videos and toys. However, plush will initially be aimed at specialty stores.
Current New Zealand-based licensees include Random House, which is coming out with new activity, board and story books in June, Antics Marketing for plush toys, also hitting stores in June, FW Cave for bags, umbrellas, dinnerware and plasticware for July, EMI Music for a CD and cassette which was released in April, TVNZ for a second video this month featuring sing-a-longs and Hallmark Cards for greeting cards, also for this month.
Atwill says TVNZ is currently working on an international strategy for Bumble. Because the show contains segments covering traditional Maori cultural aspects, it will be reversioned for the international market, changing cultural interstitials to generic ones.