Ranger Rob is ready to expand his horizons, now that Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana is growing the animated preschool adventure brand with a number of new licensing and broadcast partners. The second season of Ranger Rob will premiere on Canada’s Treehouse in June, and new broadcast partners include MediaCorp (Singapore), TVNZ (New Zealand), Tiny Pop (UK), Clan TVE (Spain), Frisbee (Italy) and Hulu (US).
Ranger Rob, which features the outdoor adventures of a young ranger-in-training, made its US debut on Universal Kids’ preschool destination Sprout in July 2017.
“The traditional rollout starts in the US and then moves to a couple of key territories, then you launch merchandise and away you go,” says Pam Westman, head of Nelvana Enterprises. “We’re actually pivoting and testing out some key markets outside of the US where ratings have been really strong.”
Nelvana has inked agreements with a number of new licensees, including JCorp (apparel), Black & White (footwear) and Jelli Fish Kids (sleepwear). The ranges will launch in Canada this fall before the consumer products program makes its way to regions including France, Germany and the UK.
Westman says Nelvana is focused on partnering with local companies and examining which SKUs resonate in those territories. “For us, it’s about picking partners in those key regions that are local and able to sustain consumer product programs within those markets. You then get a real focus on local retailers and it becomes a regional hit, which is what we want,” she says.
“We’re approaching things similarly to what eOne did with Peppa Pig, in that they were able to keep that property strong and viable within several key markets globally before bringing it into the US. It’s about really letting it resonate and germinate in those specific markets with the right partners.”
By building up these key international markets, says Westman, Nelvana can create a strong foundation for the Ranger Rob brand to grow into a full-fledged franchise. The brand’s Welcome to Big Sky Park preschool gaming app launches this summer for iOS and Android, allowing users to explore the show’s environment and engage with its characters. Nelvana will continue to build out the show’s world by releasing short-form content, starting with 13 shorts set to debut on YouTube this fall.
These new extensions follow agreements with live entertainment firm Round Room Presents for the Ranger Rob Live Tour and with Chouette Publishing for titles A Campfire Story and Nature Quest.
“I think it’s really important to let the market, viewers and fans dictate when a brand is ready. When you go out too early in any of these secondary categories after toys, or when your broadcast isn’t set, you can end up burning out way too quickly,” Westman says. “But when you’re dealing with smaller markets, you can be a little more reactive and let the momentum build before making moves at the right time. And right now, it’s a very exciting time for our little ranger.”