With its original series Da Boom Crew settling into a prime Saturday morning slot on Kids’ WB!, the biggest kids broadcast network in the U.S., the Berliner Film Companie is starting to map out the property’s consumer products plan. And the Berlin-based studio has set up a new unit to handle its sales and merch business.
BFC Distribution CEO Sonja Brugger has been working on establishing and staffing up the division since she joined the company in July, and she currently has 15 people in place, with execs working in territories as far away as Australia.
The team has already begun talking to licensees, but Brugger expects these negotiations to really pick up steam once the studio has some initial ratings to show. Merch efforts will kick off in the U.S. initially, but a global rollout is on the books and will naturally take its lead from broadcast sales.
In addition to pursuing classic product categories like toys and publishing, Brugger says the hip, urban nature of Da Boom Crew (a co-pro with L.A.’s Jambalaya Studio) should let BFC Distribution develop a wide program that will broaden the age range of the property. Targeting an eight to 13 demo, the 2-D toon is about four kids who create their own space adventure video game and then get sucked into it by a freak power surge. The kids must search the cosmos for their missing game cartridges and stop baddie Scorch from taking control of the galaxy.
The show goes heavy on music, gaming and tech elements in order to reflect the lifestyle of its audience, and Brugger plans to mirror this focus on the merch side with interactive electronics, mobile phone content (SMS, MMS, ringtones, etc.), music CDs, fashion, accessories and more. ‘We want to look at categories that have a strong appeal for our target group,’ she says. ‘We are going for a lifestyle brand approach.’
Although BFC Distribution is mapping out Da Boom Crew’s style guide and closing deals with licensees, the team is also very open to creative input from Warner on the property and product planning process.
The unit is also set up to handle third-party properties, and it’s currently managing the merch rights to 45-year-old German puppet show Sandmänchen (Little Sandman).