IN the wake of being acquired by Italy’s De Agostini last summer, Marathon Media has been pulling its licensing business back from a network of international licensing agents, setting up an in-house division to handle more of it instead. And with this new infrastructure in place, director of licensing Patricia de Wilde is ready to get into some third-party representation.
The goal is to find properties that fill the gaps in Marathon’s own library, so preschool is high on the list, as are teen-targeted, graphic-led and brand-driven IPs. de Wilde is also on the lookout for evergreens because she’d like to handle something with longer-life potential. She’s open to representing properties in France alone or across Europe, and is already starting to build both kinds of deals. Marathon now holds French rights to Famous Five (a co-pro with Chorion) and upcoming boys TV series Gormiti (a co-pro with Giochi Preziosi), as well as the European rights to Australian girls live-actioner The Saddle Club, now entering its third season.
For this horse-centric property, de Wilde is looking to build a higher-end program for specialty first, targeting girls seven to 12 in outlets such as equestrian shops and sporting goods stores. She’s currently hammering out a toy deal for back-to-school 2009, but licenses in apparel, additional publishing (a book deal based on the TV series is already in place with Bayard), board/card games and video games are still up for grabs, and de Wilde is eyeing 2010 for a mass-market rollout. To help drive the program in European territories outside of France, Marathon is also looking to appoint a small team of licensing agents in key regions.
With the release of a Totally Spies! feature film scheduled for next summer, De Wilde is working on a broad program for the property and seeking partners in all categories to significantly increase the volume of product available at market.