Mattel Creations has inked a number of new global deals for Thomas the Tank Engine.
New agreements have been made in China, following the national theatrical release of Thomas & Friends: Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure earlier this year. New Chinese broadcasters on-board the Thomas & Friends TV series include China Central Television, LeEco, China Mobile and Air Media.
Additionally, a Thomas & Friends channel recently launched on China’s Youku, with more than three billion people reached across all digital platforms.
A number of new broadcasters were also signed in Asia, including NHK (Japan), Global TV (Indonesia), GMA (the Philippines), KBS (South Korea), TVNZ (New Zealand) and TVB (Hong Kong). These new agreements join previous partners like ABC TV (Australia), Channel 5 (the UK), Minimini (Poland), Next (South Africa) and RTÉ (Ireland).
It was also announced that Thomas & Friends will have a new pay-TV broadcaster in the UK starting in 2017, when the series moves from Nick Jr. to Cartoonito. The Turner-owned net will air the show’s 20th season in early 2017, followed by the special feature Thomas & Friends: The Great Race at Easter.
Thomas and Friends: The Great Race—which marks the brand’s 11th feature-length special—will also see theatrical releases in the UK, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico and, for the first time, Italy.
Mattel Creations has also announced a new deal with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment for the European home entertainment distribution of Thomas & Friends specials in Benelux, Greece, Turkey and Czech Republic. The agreement also includes European home entertainment distribution of the 20th season of Thomas & Friends in Italy, France, Malta, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican, Luxembourg, Andorra and French-language Belgium.