Australia’s pubnet is hoping its newest preschool property The Fairies will follow in the footsteps of Bananas in Pajamas and The Wiggles to become an international breakout merch hit. And with the launch of the live-action/CGI show on Aussie net Channel 7 last November under control, ABC Australia is on the hunt for licensees.
The Fairies is the product of creator Jen Watts’ 10 years of toil. She got the concept off the ground by producing a few 45-minute specials, which later spawned a 10,000-member fan club and ended up moving more than 50,000 DVDs. After securing funding from ABC Enterprises and local Australian investors, Watts landed New Zealand-based WETA Workshop (the outfit behind the special effects used in King Kong and Lord of the Rings) to design the series’ sets.
The 26-episode show about the musical adventures of two magical fairies and their friends boasts the most elaborate set in the history of Australian children’s programming. ‘There has been so much investment in the costumes and the set,’ ABC Brand Manager Jodie Salmon says. ‘They’re stunning.’
The Fairies’ first retail products are expected to hit Australian retail shelves by May and a second wave will roll out in September. Salmon says costumes and apparel will drive the program and she’s currently looking to secure licensing deals. Sharon Ramsayluck, manager of ABC licensing and events, says that the first Australian product rollout will include DVDs, CDs and costumes – and she expects each category to be locally licensed. ABC’s publishing and home video divisions will be taking care of music and DVD categories.
To fuel the planned second merch wave, Salmon wants to lock down Aussie partners for outerwear, sleepwear, bags, shoes, accessories and puzzles & games in the coming months.
ABC is also currently aiming to take The Fairies brand around the globe. Ramsayluck is looking for a global master toy licensee for English-speaking territories as she expects the show will have strong appeal in both North America and the U.K. And she’s also scoping out potential international trade partners, while the ABC content team scouts for broadcast sales.