While it’s taking a decidedly non-Baby Einstein approach to entertaining the pre-verbal set, New York City-based Every Baby Company is headed down the merchandising path paved by the former. The company’s VOD series eebee’s adventures is gaining traction with US parents and is following up a fall toy launch at FAO Schwartz with expanded licensing plans.
Seven new eps of eebee’s adventures are slated to bow on VOD services carried by US cable providers Comcast, Cox and Bresnan today. The new line-up expands upon the first series, which debuted on VOD in 2006 and has thus far garnered 3.5 million downloads.
Company co-founder and former Sesame Wokshop exec Stephen Gass says the series takes an ‘everyday approach’ to child-rearing by encouraging playful parent/child interaction and providing creative ideas that become catalysts for real-world play. ‘It’s just about playing with what is there, making things up, sometimes getting a little silly,’ he says.
Fittingly, Gass is taking a non-traditional route to merchandising. The company launched a series of eebee plush toys through a direct-to-retail exclusive with specialty toy retailer FAO Schwartz this past fall. The plush sold out over Christmas, and now Every Baby is looking to expand its reach, although it hasn’t appointed a licensing agent just yet.
Gass is going DTR again with book chain Barnes & Noble for a series of five eebee’s adventures books, including three cloth novelty books, a bath book and a board book, that are set to roll into B & N locations this spring.
‘It was a completely different approach to the market,’ says Gass. ‘Because we were early, the more traditional root of going to third-party partner at the time we did the book deal didn’t make sense.’
Gass isn’t ruling out getting representation and forging more traditional deals; he hints that discussions with larger toy players are underway, and there should be a number of merch and promo announcements in the coming months.