New York-based Broadway Video is launching its own kidvid brand. Under the as-yet-unnamed label, Broadway (which is privately owned by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels) plans to release videos of kids TV and film properties for which it represents licensing interests or holds distribution rights through its recently formed distribution and licensing arm Broadway Video Enterprises.
At press time, BVE president Alex Drosin was negotiating to have a major studio distribute his company’s kidvid product, and expects to have a deal signed by the spring. The new label marks BVE’s return to the kidvid fold after a 15-year absence. In 1986, Broadway sold its kids catalog, which included the titles Frosty the Snowman and Lassie, to Golden Books.
With a launch slated for Q4, the company’s initial lineup will consist of two stop-frame Christmas specials–Hamilton Mattress (co-produced by Entertainment Rights, Egmont Imagination and Harvest Films) and Second Star to the Left (co-produced by Entertainment Rights and Silver Fox Films). BVE recently picked up North American TV and home entertainment distribution rights for both specials (which aired on the BBC last year) from U.K. media company Entertainment Rights. It also hopes to acquire merch rights down the road.
Broadway is entering an ultra-competitive North American kidvid sector that is dominated by mammoth media conglomerates such as Disney and Viacom. Yet Drosin is confident the company’s kids product will find an audience because it is distinct from more common kids fare like 2-D cel and CGI properties. ‘For the most part, we’ll be looking at very high-end stop-frame, clay-animated and anime specials, as well as series that have been successful in Europe and Asia,’ says Drosin.
Eventually, Broadway will also cull additional releases from future and current development deals with prodcos. Broadway already has deals in place for three series with Toronto, Canada-based animation house Cuppa Coffee (Cinema Sue, Ted’s Bed and Gordon Giraffe); and with Hartford, Connecticut-based Wreckless Abandon Studios for a series entitled The Curse of the Somberville and a half-hour TV special called A Freezerburnt Christmas.