After just a little more than two years since setting up an independent shop, Cartoon Network Enterprises’ scope is expanding into third-party licensing with anime-inspired property Bakugan.
CNE is taking the lead on Bakugan’s US licensing and merch program thanks to a deal with Canada’s Nelvana Enterprises, which will continue to rep the property in that territory. At the same time, anime series Bakugan (a truly international copro between Nelvana, toyco Spin Master, Sega Toys, TMS Entertainment, Japan Vistec and Sega Corporation) will bow on mothership Cartoon Network on February 24. (Toys from Spin Master rolled into US retailers at the end of January.)
According to CN’s EVP of ad sales, marketing and enterprises Beth Goss, the timing was right for the pick up. The licensing program for its first boys action property Ben 10 is now well-established, giving CNE a real strength in the genre that can be used to Bakugan’s benefit, she says. Additionally she feels Bakugan’s core play pattern, which revolves around the strategic deployment of Bakugan Battle Brawler collectible orb-like game pieces, complements Ben 10′s role-play-driven pattern rather than competes with it.
CNE will also be working with Spin Master, which has already experienced success in Canada with the fall 2007 launch of the toy line, to build out a corresponding merch program. So far games and puzzles, youth electronics and home entertainment are slated to join the toys in fall 2008, and CNE is now on the hunt for apparel, accessories, publishing and novelty licensees to produce product for spring 2009.
Goss adds that she expects to announce rep plans for Bakugan in other territories over the next few weeks, and that the division will be picking up more third-party business moving forward. Certainly boys action-oriented properties would be a natural for CNE, but what makes prospective additions most enticing is that they have a 360-degree brand plan, she says. What we like about Bakugan, explains Goss, is that it has a cohesive TV, online and retail presence.