Mini Pets Poised to Steal Hearts

Rome-based Mondo TV wags its tail for a new animated series based on the popular European toy brand, Puppy in My Pocket.

If you work in children’s TV, you’re probably heard of shows like Pocket Monsters, Pocket Dragons, Pocket Ninjas, even the live-action British hit series Grandpa in My Pocket. Now, thanks to the efforts of the enterprising team at Italy’s Mondo TV, we may soon be seeing a new animated show about lovable pocket puppies.

As Matteo Corradi, Mondo TV’s board member and head of sales, tell us, the company began eyeing the popular toy property Puppy in My Pocket in 2009 and began production on the toon a few months ago. Working closely with the property’s creator Giochi Preziosi, with an estimated budget of $7.3 million, the series will be produced with MEG and distributed by Mondo TV in Italy and abroad.

So what is the show really about? ‘The show takes you on a journey with these puppies’very cute little creatures,’ says Corradi. ‘We all love them, especially those of us who are lucky enough to grow up with them in our houses. Designing cats, dogs and baby animals in general may sound easy, but coming up with imaginative, strong stories and adventures featuring them through the eyes of children is obviously a challenging job. But we managed to do it and we’re quite proud of the show and its overall message.’

According to Corradi, the 53 x 13 series will target four- to seven-year-old audiences and will be produced in High Def. ‘The creative team is based in Italy and we share our ideas with the team at MEG, our co-producers in the States.’

Since Puppy in My Pocket (Cuccioli Cerca Amici) is already a successful existent toy, which was first introduced in the early 1990s, it would be a no-brainer to launch a new collectible toyline in late 2010, in time for the arrival of the show in Italy and Spain.

‘Because the property was initially a huge toy brand and a well-known property, we were happy to shake hands with MEG and Giochi Preziosi to produce the series and bring these little animals to animated life,’ says Corradi. ‘Finding a home for our little animals worldwide is our next challenge.’

The pocket-sized buddies will be available alongside Mondo’s other toon packages, Angel’s Friends (52 x 13) and Virus Attack (52 x 13), at the upcoming MIPTV market. ‘We’ve been on our feet since the early 1980s, and this dream factory continues to add to our animated successes every year,’ notes Corradi. ‘We stepped into the big reality of the business in early 2000 when Mondo TV was listed on the Italian Stock Exchange for the first time. We continue to co-produce with major global companies such as ZDF Germany and RAI Italy and independent artistic one such as Play Entertainment. We have even more new series to announce, but that will have to wait until the fall.’

So, what’s Corradi’s professional take on the state of the global animation market in 2010? ‘In general, I think the market is showing great improvement,’ he responds. ‘MIPTV will be the year’s first major international platform for our new shows. However, there are still many financial challenges ahead. The new year didn’t start as strongly as we expected. Thematic channels seem to be growing and the opportunities are there, but you need to have the right product at the right time. It’s smart to have a wide selection and variety of programs that could please everyone’every channel and country! We believe that high-quality, colorful kids shows with strong storylines are the key to success!’

For now, Corradi’s team will be working on capturing the subtle emotional bond between children and puppies and telling the right stories about how to care for the animals around us. ‘It’s true that puppies, and pets in general, fulfill a very important emotional need,’ he adds. ‘We are hoping that show’s meticulously designed pets will carry that message home to young viewers and their families all over the world.’

To learn more about Mondo TV and its animation library which includes titles such as Kim, Gladiators, Monsters and Pirates, Lupo Alberto, Angel’s Friends and Virus Attack, visit mondotv.it.