Digital De Agostini, the TV production arm of Italian publisher De Agostini Editore, is launching the full-service prodco KidsMe to develop, produce and distribute children and family content.
The studio has signed a multi-year output deal with ViacomCBS Italia. It’s starting by developing four live-action sitcoms for kids, and is evaluating animated co-productions with European partners. KidsMe is focused on partnering with Italian and international producers to develop content that it can turn into a franchise.
Digital De Agostini’s managing director Pierfrancesco Gheradi (pictured left) will lead the new company as its president, alongside Massimo Bruno (pictured right), De Agostini Editore’s channel manager, who serves as the CEO. De Agostini’s head of acquisitions and property development, Brenda Maffuchi will work as the studio’s chief of co-productions, licensing and sales officer, and Alba Chiara Rondelli, the channel’s head of original productions, will serve as the prodco’s chief of originals officer.
The team behind KidsMe have experience producing and co-producing more than 1,500 hours of kids and family content, according to the company. For example, De Agostini Editore co-produced the animated adventure series Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir with Zagtoon, Method Animation, Toei Animation and SAMG, as well as managed its licensing and merchandising business in Italy.
De Agostini also produced the live-action comedy New School (78 x 15-minutes) aimed at kids six- to 12-year-olds, and BBC snagged the global distribution rights for it last year, with an option for potential formats.
The studio is launching a tricky time as Italy is one of the hardest hit COVID-19 countries. At press time, Italy has more than 219,000 confirmed cases of the virus, and it’s led to more than 30,000 deaths, according to John Hopkins University. To support kids and families, and meet an increased demand for content, other Italian broadcaster Rai has been upping its children’s offerings and also rolling out educational information across social media channels.