After years of holding post-trade show chitchats to discuss their findings, New York-based Big Tent Entertainment CEO Rich Collins and Fred Gaffney, chairman of Gaffney International Licensing in Melbourne, Australia have decided to make it official. The two companies struck a marketing deal in April to formalize their relationship and hopefully generate merch and retail momentum for selected properties internationally.
Collins says for the most part, it’s business as usual at both companies, and they’ll continue to operate independently as their ownership structures remain unchanged. What’s different is the content board that sits at the heart of the agreement. Execs from both companies will meet on a regular basis to identify potentially hot properties available for acquisition, and formulate marketing and international retail development plans accordingly.
The collaboration has already yielded a pickup. Big Tent and Gaffney have acquired the North American and Australian rights to Domo, created by Japanese pubcaster NHK. The broadcaster just entered into a copro deal with Nickelodeon to produce new stop-motion shorts based on the popular monster (see ‘Nick lands terrestrial airtime and co-development deals in Japan,’ page 14) that began life as a spokescharacter. Outside of the broadcast arena, Collins says Domo has developed quite a following worldwide, and at the moment there are more than 400,000 fan-created websites dedicated to the somewhat dimwitted but well-meaning creature.
Expect Domo to be a focus for the pair at Licensing Show in June. Collins, for his part, is currently formulating a U.S. merch plan that will target tweens and teens, so lifestyle and digital media categories will likely lead the program.
Big Tent continues to build the presence of preschool properties Miffy and the Koala Brothers and teen web community Habbo Hotel in North America, while Gaffney gears up for the 15th anniversary of The Wiggles next year.