The Bugg Report recently caught up with Liz Burnett, Director of Consumer Products at FremantleMedia Australia to hear about what’s happening for the remainder of this year (2016), next year (2017) and beyond at FremantleMedia.
Can you tell us a bit about your role at FremantleMedia Kids & Family (FMK) and your brand priorities for 2016-2017?
In my role as Director, Consumer Products, Australia & New Zealand, I am responsible for implementing the company’s licensing and retail strategies for its diverse and growing portfolio of brands in Australia and New Zealand. As part of this I identify key partners who I think are a great fit for us to work with to extend and develop the off-screen presence of our brands. And once a licensee or retail partner has come on board I manage the relationship between partners and oversee the successful implementation of our retail and licensing programmes, and related promotional and marketing activity, in the market.
Our current priorities for 2016-2017 in the Kids & Family space are cementing the success of the new series of adventures from the internationally renowned, British secret agent Danger Mouse and seeking further opportunities for the popular pre-school series’ Tree Fu Tom and Kate & Mim-Mim.
Can you tell us why the Australia & New Zealand markets are important to FMK? Are there certain brands that work well here?
Australia & New Zealand are key territories for FMK because we see great growth potential out here. There is a big appetite for high- quality kids and family properties with distinctive, positive characters and strong storylines – which have the potential to live off the screen, across multiple touch points.
Danger Mouse is your latest smash hit. Can you give us an update on this most British of characters as the series rolls out globally?
We are absolutely delighted to report that the new, rebooted series of the classic Danger Mouse has caused a big stir in Australia & New Zealand with a successful screen debut in February on ABC 3 and on TV Four in New Zealand in January and a host of licensing and retail activity.
In toys, distribution partners have been signed with Banter Toys & Collectibles in Australia. Banter will launch their innovative toy range developed by master toy licensee Jazwares later in the year.
In publishing, Penguin Random House has secured the publishing rights for both Australia & New Zealand. Roadshow has snapped up the DVD rights for both territories, launching Mission Improbable, in May. Just Promotions will be taking the brand to shopping malls with meet & greets and in-mall activations.
Meanwhile Danger Mouse Classic, targeted at fans of the original series, is also available for adult licensing opportunities. Australia Post recently released a Danger Mouse stamp pack and Empire Apparel has signed with us for a range of outerwear – and there are additional deals currently in the works that we’re excited to announce soon.
FMK is renowned for its successful pre-school properties. Can you tell us about how your latest hits, Tree Fu Tom and Kate & Mim-Mim, are progressing?
Tree Fu Tom may be small but he has certainly punched above his bodyweight in Australia, achieving great ratings for the first two series shown on ABC 2 and Disney Jr. With an eagerly awaited third series on Australian & New Zealand screens mid 2016, this success looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
In October, a Tree Fu Tom toy range was launched from Jazwares. The range was exclusive to ABC Shops and enjoyed lead front of house and online promotion, becoming one of ABC Shops’ top three performing brands during their Christmas campaign. The toys are planned to roll out to other retail partners through Funtastic in September 2016.
Kate & Mim-Mim has become an instant ratings success in every territory in which it has launched and Australia & New Zealand is no different. The series is currently airing on Disney Jr and is also set to launch on Channel 9 later in the year.