Growing its plush presence, Florida toyco Jazwares has acquired LA-based manufacturer Kellytoy, the company behind Squishmallows. Jazwares has been building a relationship with the manufacturer over the last year, and in February 2019, it inked a deal with Kellytoy to expand distribution of Jazwares’ Russ Berrie plush brand.
The goal of the acquisition is to position the combined entity as a leading supplier in the global plush market, according to a statement from Jazwares. It’s a lucrative space for Jazwares, as the global plush market was valued at US$7.98 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow 7% by 2025, according to market research firm Grand View Research.
Jazwares has been also been growing across categories in recent months, and this past October it bought Wicked Cool Toys, the company that counts Pokémon and Cabbage Patch Kids among its IP partners.
Canadian pubcaster CBC is growing its kids content slate across age targets with new shows and premieres to support children at home amid COVID-19. For preschoolers, the pubcaster is launching the daily program CBC Kids Hang Time with Tony and Janaye on the CBC Kids Facebook page, which features music, stories and games. On the VOD side, CBC Gem, the SVOD is launching the 13 x 22-minute mixed media-series Anaana’s Tent. Produced by Taqqut Productions the educational series teaches kids Inuktitut songs, words and stories.
CBC is also extending its preschool programming schedule on its linear channels on Sunday mornings for an additional 90 minutes, and it’s shifting its educational series Studio K From Home to have CBC Kids hosts to focus on COVID-19 prevention and at-home activities.
For older kids, the pubcaster is launching The Story Store podcast. The 21 x four-minute series is produced by CBC Podcasts and CBC Kids, and two episodes will be released each week on its audio content hub CBC Listen. It has also picked up animated comedy series The Strange Chores (26 x 11 minutes). Premiering April 11 on CBC and CBC Gem, the series is from Australia prodcos Ludo Studio and Media World Pictures and revolves around two teenage wannabe heroes, and a high-spirited ghost girl, who train to replace an old monster hunter by doing his strange supernatural chores.
Discovery Kids LatAm
Discovery Kids LatAm has picked up season one of animated series Esme & Roy (pictured) from Corus Entertainment-owned kids company Nelvana and Sesame Workshop.
Produced by Sesame and Nelvana, the 52 x 11-minute preschool show is about two monster-sitters who help little creatures through everyday situations. Created by Dustin Ferrer and Amy Steinberg (Peg + Cat), the prodcos greenlit a second season (26 x 11 minutes) last May, which will air on Treehouse (Canada) and HBO (US) later this year. Nelvana holds international distribution rights outside of the US, and has previously sold the show to international broadcasters KIKA (Germany), Disney Junior (Southeast Asia), NRK (Norway) and SVT (Sweden).
Paris-based distributor PGS Entertainment has inked a deal with Chinese distributor Shanghai Senyu to bring animated series ALVINNN!!! & Chipmunks to China for the first time.
The 314 x 11-minute series spans seven seasons, and was originally commissioned by Nickelodeon, M6, Super RTL and Gloob. Co-produced by Technicolor Animation Productions and Bagdasarian Productions’, the CG-animated series revolves around a single dad’s efforts to raise six hyperactive chipmunks. While this is the first time the series has reached China, the brand already has a presence in the country stemming back to when its feature films screened there in 2010 and 2016.
UK L&M agency Bulldog has inked a trio of licensing deals for Cloudco’s Care Bears brand, with new products set to launch in the UK later this year.
New licensing partners joining the brand are Cohen and Wilkins (babywear, cuddly bears), Tikiboo and Park agencies (apparel).
The magical bear’s reach has been growing recently, and Chinese location-based entertainment company Harves signed a long-term partnership with IP-owner Cloudco to bring the brand to China for the first time this past February. Cloudco rebooted the brand in 2018 with the Care Bears: Unlock the Magic series.