Mondo TV’s Puppy Shakes Tail in Vegas

Italian animation house Mondo TV is ready to steal the limelight at this month’s Licensing International Expo in Las Vegas. Relying on the strength of its creative and colorful new series Puppy in My Pocket, Virus Attack and Angel’s Friends, the Rome-based company will be attending the event for the first time and promoting its partnership with Italy’s Giochi Preziosi and American company MEG Toys.

‘We are taking huge quality steps and shaking hands with major partners in the licensing and merchandising business,’ says Matteo Corradi, Mondo TV’s board member and head of sales. ‘The big initiative is due to the fact that since 2008, we have really put our efforts into creating brands and not just TV shows and movies. When you are dealing with major brands in today’s market, it’s a huge responsibility and you have to introduce them in all the licensing events.’

For Angel’s Friends, Mondo is looking for a partner/agent that will explore various categories and open doors for a toy master’although the brand’s toy line is already represented in Europe by Giochi Preziosi. Since Virus Attack is set to premiere on Cartoon Network Italy this fall, the company is also looking for a toy master. ‘After bringing the show to MIPTV this spring, we are in negotiations with several broadcasters,’ notes Corradi.

The company has been working closely with creator Giochi Preziosi in developing a new animated series based on the Puppy in My Pocket brand which was first introduced as a successful toy line in the early 1990s. El Segundo, Calif.-based MEG is expanding the franchise based on the Mondo’s HD-animated TV series (52 x 13), which will debut late this year in Italy and roll out globally in 2011. Mondo TV Group has already announced a series of broadcast commitments around the world, and presales have been negotiated throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Among the various L&M deals announced for the property (which is known as Currioli Cerca Amici in Italy) is a pastry line by Modecor Group, which includes Puppy wafers, 3-D sugar and jelly decoration and chocolates. Other Puppy In My Pocket licensees include Scholastic Books, Bakery Craft, NTD, Senario, Cadaco, Wiesner and Redan. MEG and Giochi Preziosi will coordinate and manage the series’ licensing program. Giochi Preziosi will manage Europe (excluding the U.K.), while MEG oversees other territories.

‘We are really at the beginning of our adventure in this big, challenging field,’ adds Corradi. ‘We have been a major player in the TV media for the past 22 years, but now we hope to introduce brands that can shine more quickly and become the talk of the town. In today’s world, you need to complete your TV production and media planning cycle by branding your properties. Then you have to release them in a multitude of formats, platforms and venues. It’s all about spreading the word and being omnipresent.’

When asked about the licensing scene in Italy, Corradi says there are huge opportunities for growth and development in his country. ‘I believe it’s a very important market to test your brands, to see if they could work or not. Frankly, I do think that we still need to discover it as we are really at our early stages in our long journey.’

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