Zinkia Entertainment is relaunching the CP for its animated preschool series Pocoyo following a number of new international broadcast deals and starting production on a fourth season. After years of being off shelves, the popular brand is looking to rebuild relationships with retailers and bring more attention to the IP.
Pocoyo’s third season came out in 2010, and since then a lot of its original CP has been taken off of shelves, says Ken Faier, CEO of Epic Story Media, one of Pocoyo’s distributors. The brand had products on shelves in the US up until 2011, but after no new products were released and sales slowed down the brand lost its retail presence. Today, Zinkia and its distribution partners are in talks with a new toy partner, which they plan to announce, along with detailed CP plans, later this year.
“This is a property that already has a huge fan-base across multiple platforms, and the goal is to take advantage of that growth to reboot the consumer products,” says Faier.
Aimed at ages one-to four-years-old, the show centers around the adventures of a curious young boy and his animal friends. These deals are part of the prodco’s efforts to relaunch the Pocoyo brand, which was first released with season one in 2005, airing in the UK on ITV.
The IP already had more than 250 licensees signed since its inception, in categories including plush, figures and apparel. And now the companies plan to re-introduce the toy line in a way that takes advantage of today’s technology.
“The audience is there and they want educational products for their kids, and there’s so much about this property that translates well to CP,” Faier says. “There’s learning through laughter, which taps into the need millennial parents have, they don’t want didactic learning for their kids. So we’re approaching this from the point of view that we have a huge built-in audience, that is renewing every year as new preschoolers are born, and we’re expanding the brand around the world.”
Spanish distributor Brand & Rights 360 manages the brand’s global broadcast and licensing rights with Zinkia, on a non-exclusive basis, together with Canada’s Epic Story, which handles licensing in North America. Meanwhile, Reesee manages the property in China.
Driven by the relaunch of the IPs new consumer products, the shows distributors are selling the series (208 x seven minutes) to international broadcasters. AVOD streamer Kidoodle.TV picked up season one, which will launch in the US, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand this summer. Other international broadcasters that picked up the show include TFO (French-speaking Canada) for seasons one, two and four, HITN’s new SVOD platform Edye (LatAm), CCTV (China). On CCTV the series reached number one in market share after four weeks, while Rai Yoyo, airs the show 15 times a day, according to Faier. Faier’s dream for the series is to have it on every platform where kids view content because its humor can be understood and enjoyed around the world and the show’s new CP can help make this happen, he says.
Zinkia meanwhile, closed deals with broadcasters Azteca 7 (Mexico) for seasons one to three, with Rai Yoyo (Italy) for season three, and has renewed deals with Netflix to retain worldwide rights for season one and two, as well as having seasons three and four streaming in North America, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, France, Italy and DACH; Amazon, Hulu for season one and two in the US and HBO for the new season.
To help boost notice for the IP and its new CP the prodco is producing a batch of 26 x seven minute episodes, scheduled to be released Q1 2020, to complete the show’s fourth season to give it a total of 52 x seven minute episodes. The budget for the new episodes as well as five x seven minute themed specials is around US$2.8 million (2.5 million Euros), says Zinkia’s CEO Victor Lopez. Lopez declined to say more about the budget.
A driver for the success of the new CP will be the series’ popularity on YouTube, Faier says. The first half of Pocoyo‘s fourth season premiered on YouTube and the YouTube Kids app in 2016. Its English-language YouTube channel has 1.8 million subscribers. On the platform the series has more than 15 billion views across its multiple channels, according to Epic Story. This popularity, which the prodco can easily track, convinced them that now was the right time to produce the back half of the show’s fourth season, says Faier.
“YouTube is a big part of what’s kept it going over the past few years,” says Faier.
The fact that it won a BAFTA Children’s Award in 2006 for Best Preschool Animation also helps build broadcasters’ and licensees’ trust in the IP, says Lopez. Another marker of its popularity is that the brand’s app Pocoyize, which was released in 2010, has been downloaded more than 14 million times, he adds.