Debt-free and well financed. Terms you don’t hear often these days, but they apply to Paris-based Millimages following its June IPO on the EuroNext Nouveau Marche exchange in Europe. Enough cash was raised to carry the next leg of the Millimages evolution, starting with the formation of Millimages USA, a State-side unit that will be headed up by Dorian Langdon, former president of HIT Entertainment USA.
The next task is converting a decade of production experience into a distribution strategy. ‘I’m the first step in that play,’ says CEO Langdon, newly set up in a temporary L.A.-based HQ until permanent digs can be found.
The last thing Langdon did with HIT was oversee the Lyrick acquisition. Following that deal, HIT had, in Langdon’s mind, become a fully integrated company, and it was time to look for a new challenge.
The North American TV industry is going through an extraordinary period of consolidation, and many players will have to dramatically revisit their business plans. ‘The days of the large networks owning 100% of their programming on 100% of their air is over,’ Langdon says. ‘I’m hoping with our creativity and financial underpinning, we will be able to provide service and partnership to conglomerates and networks.’
And while continued and constant development of new high-quality product is a must, Langdon’s job is to build on the back of current properties, developing ancillary product and a distribution infrastructure in order to acquire and manage intellectual properties. Toys, games, apparel, interactive and publishing are categories he lists off as areas to capitalize on, but first and foremost, Langdon insists that the company remains focused on the creative, with his job leaning towards brand management and cross-promotional opportunities.
New properties in the pipeline for Langdon to work with include Planet Grabo, a stop-motion co-pro for the 10 and up crowd that’s in development with France 2. The half-hour series centers on a family of farmers that moves to a distant planet to grow the giant cucumber-like organisms that are used to manufacture everything from fuel, to food, to clothes. The clan thinks it is getting away from the chaos of urban living, but it turns out the planet is at the crossroads of the intergalactic highway system–so it gets a lot of traffic.
Also on the slate is a show based on a series of 12 Superchien books illustrated by French graphic artist Raphael Thierry. The 52 x five-minute series for preschoolers has a style that Millimages CEO Jonathan Peel describes jokingly as ‘like Miffy, but with dogs.’