KidScreen’s guide to international kidvid distributors

corner of the kids biz. So without further ado, check out our international guide to kidvid distributors and find out how the big guns evaluate a property's home entertainment potential.
August 1, 2005


ABC Enterprises (

Kids catalogue includes: The Wiggles, Thomas and Friends, Play School, The Hooley Dooleys

Contact: Janine Burdeu, head of visual and recorded content

Address: PO Box 9994, Sydney, NSW Australia, 2001

Phone: 61-2-8333-3131


Looking for: Burdeu is primarily interested in acquiring live action, especially music-driven preschool programming such as The Wiggles. She’s not too keen on tween dramas or science and discovery shows because this type of content doesn’t tend to do big numbers at retail. Burdeu is open to any episode length from five minutes on up, but all projects should have high production value and nail their target demographic. About 80% of ABC Enterprises’ catalogue consists of previously aired programming from the mother channel, and the entire home entertainment library is distributed through partner Roadshow Entertainment.

Preferred approach: E-mail is best.

Regularly attends: MIPTV, MIPCOM

Magna Pacific (

Kids catalogue includes: Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon, Winx Club, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Care Bears, The Smurfs

Contact: Jason Behan, product development manager

Address: 61-67 Buchanan Road, Banyo, Queensland Australia, 4014

Phone: 61-7-3267-9888


Looking for: While Magna’s catalogue is predominantly driven by animation of every style, live-action fare such as Lizzie McGuire and local property Humphrey B. Bear also do well. The distributor’s strongest demo is kids seven to 14, and classic brands including Care Bears and Cabbage Patch Kids make up roughly 30% of its catalogue. Behan says pick-ups should ideally have free-to-air TV exposure because that can sway Australia’s major retailers. In terms of format, half hours are best as they allow Magna to maximize the content on both full-sized DVDs and one-ep DVD singles.

Preferred approach: An e-mail followed by a pitch package is the best way to introduce a property to Behan.

Regularly attends: London Toy Fair, New York Licensing Show, MIPCOM

MRA Entertainment (

Kids cataloge includes: My Little Pony, Sonic X, Super Mario Bros., Archie, Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Contact: Deborah Hicks, head of acquisitions

Address: 5 Dividend Street, Mansfield, Queensland Australia, 4122

Phone: 61-3-5944-4644


Looking for: With a mandate to pick up at least another 20 titles over the next 12 months, Hicks is casting her net wide. She’s open to content for preschoolers to tweens, and welcomes all styles of animation and live action. Half-hour episodes work well, and MRA puts an average of three on each of its DVDs. The majority of the company’s catalogue consists of TV shows that are currently on air or that have just come off air, but Hicks will pick up the occasional direct-to-video title if it’s really strong or has some existing brand awareness. It also helps if a property already has other key category licensees in place.

Preferred approach: E-mail is the best way to get in touch.


Warner Home Video (

Kids catalogue includes: Miffy, Martin Matin, Bob the Builder

Contact: Philippe Bastard de Crisnay, managing director

Address: 115/123 Ave. Charles de Gaulle, 92525 Neuilly sur seine, France

Phone: 33-1-7225-0000


Looking for: de Crisnay is on the hunt for two or three strong preschool series to round out his catalogue this year. He’s not picky about whether it’s live action or animation, but 15-minute episodes work best, and he’s most interested in content that has spent some time on air. de Crisnay will consider direct-to-video titles, but only if they have existing brand awareness.

Preferred approach: E-mail is best.


Edel Kids (

Kids catalogue includes: Yu-Gi-Oh!, SpongeBob SquarePants,

Pippi Longstocking, Maya the Bee

Contact: Andrea zum Felde, GM

Address: Neumühlen 17, 22763 Hamburg, Germany

Phone: 49-40-8908-5104

Looking for: zum Felde is interested in content for kids ages four to 12 and families. She prefers series of at least 13 episodes or full-length features, and she will consider DTV projects based on evergreen brands or properties with pre-existing awareness in the market.

Preferred approach: Pitches should be channeled through zum Felde’s assistant Isabelle Kröger ( or 49-408-908-5133).

Regularly attends: Nuremberg Toy Fair, New York Licensing Show, in Munich, MIPCOM, Frankfurt Book Fair

The U.K.

2 entertain (

Kids catalogue includes: Thomas and Friends, Fifi and the Flowertots; 2 entertain is also launching a Milkshake video brand featuring some of the Five block’s best shows.

Contact: Paul Hembury, programming and acquisitions director

Address: 33 Foley Street, London, England, W1W 7TL

Phone: 44-207-612-3106


Looking for: Well-known TV brands for preschoolers and kids six to nine with a strong U.K. terrestrial broadcaster. Episode length doesn’t really matter, but if they’re shorter, Hembury needs at least 52 of them. He prefers animation, but will look at live action, and notes that specials are very difficult to market because they don’t tend to have as much market awareness as TV series. One of his litmus tests involves watching half an episode and then switching it off to see if he cares enough to want to find out what happens in the end.

Preferred approach: Hembury’s only pitch caveat is that he wants to see projects first! Beyond that, producers should feel free to get in touch by mail, e-mail, phone or at a market.

Regularly attends: MIPTV, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM

Abbey Home Media Group (

Kids catalogue includes: proprietary brands Baby Bright, MacDonald’s Farm and Wide Eye, as well as licensed third-party properties such as Mona the Vampire, Action Man and Butt-Ugly Martians

Contact: Anne Miles, managing director

Address: 435-437 Edgware Road, London,

England, W2 1TH

Phone: 44-207-563-3910


Looking for: TV series that can grow to at least 52 x 10 minutes or 26 x half hours, as well as one-off specials. Miles has traditionally limited her home entertainment content quest to projects targeting preschoolers and school-age kids, but she will be focusing on four- to six-year-olds in the near future since she feels this bridge demo is very under-served at the moment. Abbey has a strong affiliation with the Preschool Learning Alliance in the U.K., so age-appropriate educational value is a make-or-break element for projects aimed at this target demo.

Preferred approach: As a preliminary step, producers should e-mail Miles a short description of the project, and then she’ll follow up for more info if she’s interested.

Regularly attends: MIPTV, Bologna Book Fair, MIPCOM

Contender Entertainment Group (

Kids catalogue includes: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Miffy,

Tractor Tom, Peppa Pig

Contact: Jo Sweby, head of acquisitions

Address: 48 Margaret Street, London, England, W1W 8SE


Looking for: Animated television properties for preschoolers and school-age kids in the four to nine or five to 10 bracket, and Sweby is open to looking at any kind of toon style. Half-hour episodes work best for her older target, but shorter lengths are fine for preschool. Because Contender is a multi-disciplined studio, projects available for TV distribution, home video and licensing are particularly appealing, and television arm Rubber Duck Entertainment may be interested in co-producing concepts in development.

Preferred approach: Send an outline of the project by e-mail along with some visuals, and Sweby will follow up if she’d like to see more.

Regularly attends: Natpe, MIPTV, MIPCOM

Entertainment Rights (

Kids catalogue includes: Barbie, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Arthur

Contact: Julia Rich, director of home entertainment

Address: Colet Court, 100 Hammersmith Road, London, England, W6 7JP

Phone: 44-208-762-6221


Looking for: Rich prefers animation (all styles) for ER’s Right Entertainment video business. Because ER already produces a lot of preschool fare, Rich tends to focus on acquiring content for the five to 10 demo. Pitches for series and one-off specials are equally welcome. In fact, based on Barbie’s success, Rich is open to movie-length features or DTV projects based on well-known brands. And since ER does a global business across a wide variety of entertainment media, concepts that can play in other territories and that have the potential to cross over into licensed merch, music, live events and TV are very much in demand.

Preferred approach: E-mail a few images and a brief description of the project, and Rich will get back in touch if it piques her interest.

Regularly attends: MIPTV, MIPCOM

HIT Entertainment (

Kids catalogue includes: The Wiggles, the Jim Henson catalogue,


Contact: Nigel Birrell, director of corporate development

Address: 149 Tottenham Court Road, London, England, WIT 7NF

Phone: 44-207-554-2500


Looking for: Birrell gets excited by trend-starting projects rather than ‘me too’ ideas. HIT’s focus is on preschoolers and kids up to age seven, but the company is open to fare that skews slightly older if the story is strong. Birrell will consider strong original concepts without brand awareness, and any genre is acceptable. He also looks at third-party properties for which HIT could handle international video distribution, and depending on the deal, the company might work with the IP owners to generate broadcast commitments.

Preferred approach: Visual aids demonstrating the concept are always helpful, but beware: Birrell once received a ragdoll in a shoe box with a hand-written note claiming it would make a great show (no additional information was provided). He advises against this type of approach.

Regularly attends: MIPTV, New York Licensing Show, VSDA, MIPCOM, Brand Licensing

Maverick Entertainment (

Kids catalogue includes: the Nelvana library (Fairly OddParents, Franklin, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, etc.), 64 Zoo Lane

Contact: Mike Diprose, CEO

Address: Amwell House, 19 Amwell Street, Hoddeson, Hertsfordshire, England, EN11 8TS

Phone: 44-1844-260-858


Looking for: TV series and DTV specials for two core demos – preschoolers and kids five to 10. Diprose is interested in all styles of animation, although he wouldn’t rule out the right live-action project. The common editorial thread tying Maverick’s portfolio together is that each property has a bright and sophisticated sense of humor. As far as TV series are concerned, the company usually deals in 10-minute episodes, and there should be at least 26 of them initially. It’s also very open to co-production arrangements for projects that are still in development.

Preferred approach: Diprose likes to see a one-pager with images to start. He’s open to receiving briefs by e-mail, snail mail or at markets.

Regularly attends: MIPTV, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM, Brand Licensing and various book trade shows

The U.S.

Lions Gate Entertainment Family Productions


Kids catalogue includes: Arthur, Marvel properties, Barbie, Care Bears

Contact: Ken Katsumoto, executive VP

Address: 2700 Colorado Ave., Suite 200, Santa Monica, California 90404

Phone: 310-449-4200

Looking for: TV series must demonstrate top-tier broadcast penetration, and specials should have substantial branded status and cannot be based on material in the public domain. Katsumoto is looking for preschool, comedy and action-adventure. Animation pitches should be feature-quality 2-D or CGI, and he’s willing to consider live action. One caveat: New producers without substantial track records or affiliations with top-tier industry contacts are likely not a good fit.

Preferred approach: The motivation for the pitch should be beyond merchandise, but Katsumoto’s biggest pet peeve is falsely represented broadcaster interest. ‘We verify everything,’ he says. Pitches should be mailed to Mandy Burke, LGF production and development coordinator.

Regularly attends: Toy Fair, KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Licensing Show, VSDA, MIPCOM

Marvista Entertainment (

Kids catalogue includes: Ribert and Robert’s Wonderworld,

A Very Wompkee Christmas

Contact: Fernando Szew, managing director and COO

Address: 12519 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90066

Phone: 310-737-0950


Looking for: Marvista is aiming to pick up at least a dozen properties in the next year, and specials with star power or brand awareness are at the top of Szew’s list. He likes one-off specials because they require less shelf space, are less expensive to manufacture and acquire, and can also potentially build into a series if the brand picks up steam at retail. Szew is keen to see more family movies that play to tween and teen girls, but preschool properties are Marvista’s bread and butter.

Preferred approach: Producers should get in touch by mail, e-mail, phone or at a market with a program outline and visuals.

Regularly attends: Natpe, MIPTV, VSDA, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM, AFM

Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Family Productions (

Kids catalogue includes: The Chipmunks, Maisy, Dr. Seuss

Contact: Glenn Ross, executive VP and GM

Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California 91608

Phone: 818-777-1000

Looking for: Franchises are key for this new division, and Ross is scoping out brands Universal can manage across publishing, home entertainment, consumer goods and theatrical. Projects with strong broadcast presence on the top networks are welcome, as are properties that have already established a good retail presence, be it as books, toys or licensed goods. More than 90% of the projects Universal greenlights go into production, and Ross says he would like to have a ‘substantial number’ of them in development.

Preferred approach: It helps if a producer understands the marketplace. For example, knowing about consumer demands, industry trends and broadcaster needs shows Ross the project has been well researched. Pitches should be more than a brief outline, and unsolicited ones need to go through an agent or manager first.

Regularly attends: Natpe, Cartoons on the Bay, Annecy, MIPCOM

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