Preschool series Dragon, based on Dav Pilkey’s curious reptilian book character, took to international airwaves in late 2005, landing spots on ABC Australia, Treehouse TV in Canada and ZDF in Germany. Scholastic Entertainment has since scooped up the US merchandising rights, and the Cité-Amerique/Scopas Medien/Image Plus co-pro now has a spot on US startup kidnet Qubo (which Scholastic co-owns with Corus, ER and ION Networks). So SVP of marketing & consumer products Leslye Schaefer and her team are getting down to the business of launching Dragon’s licensing program.
Dragon started out as a doodle on a birthday card that Pilkey drew for his girlfriend, and the resulting books and stop-motion TV series are driven by a gentle humor. Schaefer says the show is building an audience on Qubo’s Saturday morning NBC block, currently exceeding ratings expectations by 60%.
Dragon seems to be appealing equally to toddlers of both sexes, but Schaefer envisions product skewing towards boys. With that focus in mind, she’s on the hunt for licensees in core categories including master toy and home video, as well as rounding out with accessories, apparel, home décor and bedding. New York’s Big Tent Entertainment, however, is Dragon’s agent for the other primary category of publishing and will be heading up those efforts on a worldwide basis.
As for target retail tier, Schaefer says it will depend on the partners she lines up. Noting that both specialty and mass market programs have their challenges right now, she’d definitely consider seeding the market first with targeted online retail promotions. Ideally, the first wave of products should roll out in spring 2008.