Just one week after signing a five-year co-production deal with DreamWorks Animation, Canada’s DHX Media has announced a partnership with Mattel that will see the development, production and distribution of new multiplatform content inspired by properties like Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam (pictured), Little People and Polly Pocket.
Under the long-term partnership, Mattel and DHX Media will jointly fund, co-develop and co-produce new episodic, short-form and long-form content for the Mattel properties, all of which will be designed for a variety of traditional and digital platforms.
The partnership covers multiple revenue streams, and it takes effect January 1, although Mattel and DHX will begin creative and strategic collaboration immediately. DHX Distribution will manage global sales of existing and new content for Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, Little People and Polly Pocket, and DHX Studios will collaborate with Mattel to develop and produce multiple new seasons of content for the properties. Mattel will oversee global brand management and all other lines of business.
The collaboration echoes similarities to one struck between Mattel subsidiary HIT Entertainment and Canadian producer 9 Story Media Group in October for the relaunch of the Barney & Friends and Angelina Ballerina preschool brands. Development of those new multiplatform IPs has already begun, with a 2017 target launch date for new 52 x 11- minute series for each property. The announcement of that deal was timed with Mattel posting a 4% drop in its entertainment business revenues in its third quarter of this year.
Meanwhile, the recent DHX-DreamWorks deal encompasses 130 half hours of original animated content, as well as the licensing of more than 1,000 half hours of programming from the DreamWorks library. DHX also entered into an agreement with DreamWorks Animation-owned AwesomenessTV to license 300 half hours of teen content for exclusive broadcast in Canada on Family Channel.