BLE Preview: INK Group, Maurizio Distefano, Mondo TV, VIZ/Toei Panel

Brand Licensing Europe takes place October 9-11, 2018 in London, UK. (

INK Group will showcase two major titles at stand E70: Zafari and Masha the Bear.

  • Zafari, from the mind of SFX legend david Dozoretz, is taking broadcasters by storm around the globe with its quality animation and uplifting story of celebrating diversity — season 1 has sold to Czech Republic (Czech Television), Finland (YLE), France (France TV for FTA, Tiji for Pay TV), Canada (French-SRC), Hungary (TV2), Indonesia (ANTV), LAT AM (Nat Geo Kids), MENA (Spacetoon), South Africa (E.TV), South Korea (CJ E&M),Switzerland (French RTS), UAE (E Junior), UK (Pop TV) and Vietnam (ITB TV), Italy (Rai), Amazon Prime (Global), China (IQIYI). Season 2 is in production. Ultimate Source is currently developing a toy line and Hachette is on board for publishing. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is also teamed up for educational videos about wildlife and wild places with each episode in a first-ever deal.
  • Masha and the Bear is a global kids’ comedy smash broadcast in nearly every country in the world, as well as on YouTube. Season 3 recently launched and has already been snapped up by channels in the UK, Italy, Turkey, MENA, France, Germany, Nordics, Asia, Greece and elsewhere, with the last few episodes set to be delivered in spring 2019. It has also branched out into a cinematic release, with audiences across Europe flocking to special screenings of previously unseen content. This initiative has been so popular that it’s been extended across a host of other countries around the world, with release dates set between Q4 2018 and Q1 2019

Maurizio Distefano Licensing, which manages a number of global and regional brands in Italian-speaking markets and Eastern Europe, is returning to BLE for the second time and launching its first dedicated booth at F122. The company recently opened a Warsaw office. On offer this year are:

  • Masha and the Bear in Italy
  • Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds and spin off Hatchlings
  • Bing, now airing on RAI YoYo in Italy
  • ALVINNN!!!! And the Chipmunks new CG series; the property turns 60 next year
  • Emoji, an iconic brand with more than 500 global licensees and partners
  • Tetris, one of the most influential video game brands around, will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2019
  • Monchhichi, rebooted by Sekiguchi and Technicolor Animation, airs on Frisbee and DeA Junior and already has a toy distribution deal in Italy
  • Fashion brands Camomilla Milano and Chic & Love
  • Ukrainian artist Eugenia Gapchinska’s GAPCHINSKA
  • Also in Italy: Webtoon/book series Simon’s Cat, Cyber Group Studios’ upcoming Gigantosaurus, and web hit Hamster World
  • In addition to many of these brands, MDL’s Eastern Europe portfolio includes Xilam’s hit series Oggy & the Cockroaches, football brands Inter FC, AS Roma and Atletico Madrid; and Poland’s Gorn’k Zabrze.

Mondo TV is once again bringing a strong slate, with plenty of animated hits to be found at stand D70.

  • MeteoHeroes (52 x 7’), is the newest addition. Announced this summer, it’s a Mondo TV co-production with Meteo Operations Italia (Epson Weather Centre), scheduled to launch in spring 2020. The show addresses issues like climate change, ecology and respect for nature through the amazing adventures of six children who transform into superheroes with power over the weather. Key partners already signed include publisher Giunti, covering press and digital master publishing in Italy with products due at TV launch. Mondo TV will launch the show at MIPCOM.
  • YooHoo to the Rescue (52 x 11’), co-produced with Aurora World Corp., will launch on Netflix in spring 2019 followed by free TV in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Poland and France. Licensing partners include Panini (global – stickers and trading cards), Apple Beauty (fragrance, bath & body), Nuvita (baby care products in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and UK markets), Dolfin (chocolate and bakery products); Italian agreements include Edizioni Playpress (magic albums; 2019), Kimbe (live characters and events) and Mondadori (four story books, one super sticker book and a special ‘YooHoopedia’ guide).
  • Invention Story (104 eps.; 520 eps. planned), co-pro with Henan York Animation. Broadcast partners include CCTV (China) and DKids (Middle East). Edizioni Playpress has signed on for publishing; MOndo TV will seek master toy partnerships at BLE.
  • Robot Trains (32 x 11’), co-produced with South Korea’s CJ E&M, airs all over Europe with season 2 due in early 2019. Licensees include Silverlit (master toy), working with toy distributors Rocco Giocattoli (Italy), Bisak (Spain) and Concentra (Portugal); Italian partners are Grani & Partners (3D figurines and collectibles), Preziosi (confectionery and snacks), La Feltrinelli (books), Ravensburger (puzzles and memory games), Modecor (confectionery decorations), Grabo Balloons and Kimbe (live characters and events). Plus Panini (stickers and trading cards) CIAO (carnival costumes, party sets and summer toys), Admiranda (personal care products) and Clean Paper (paper handkerchiefs) In Portugal, a Q4 bed linen deal is planned, along with the announcement of a partner for live events. Existing agreements include deals with Kstationery for back to school and Comansi for 3D figurines.
  • Sissi the Young Empress has lately launched season 1 in Canada (Club ILlico SVOD), Germany, Austria & Switzerland (Nickelodeon) and in Arabic territories (JeemTV); season 2 is now airing and a third 3D season renews the content and format and comes with an expanded licensing. Active Merchandising is helping set up a strong licensing campaign in Germany which already includes puzzles & board games, personal care products and carnival costumes.
  • Mondo’s breakout live-action series Heidi Bienvenida remains a strong performer in Italy and has attracted partners such as Sony Music publishing, Panini, Echo Entertainment, Walcor, Edizioni Playpress and many more. The first feature film was announced at MIPTV 2018.

Toei Animation and VIZ Media Europe will present a can’t-miss panel on “Anime Pops into the Tops” — the case study presentation will take place Oct. 9 at 4:30 p.m. in the Licensing Academy Room (#F130). Attendees will learn how anime licenses generate high interest and settle into sustainable brands in a crowded market, with unique insights from special guest experts. “From Niche to Mass market, Anime content is now taking over all the headlines becoming a stronghold in the Licensing industry. It is with great pleasure that we are joining forces with our close collaborator and longtime partner to cross-highlight the power of anime content in our industry today,” says Kazuyoshi Takeuchi, President of VIZ Media Europe.

  • Toei Animation’s Dragon Ball Super has recently signed new broadcasters in Greece (Nickelodeon), Poland (TV4, TV6, Polsat Games), Hungary (Viasat 6), Lithuania (LNK, TV1), Romania (AXN Black) and Moldova (AXN Black); plus a high-profiled licensing partnership with Adidas. The company’s One Piece is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019, complete with unique licensing arrangements: Skechers is on board to develop six unisex pairs of sneakers (available from Q4 2018) featuring the most famous characters in the series; Bandai Namco is following up from their award-winning Dragon Ball Fighter Z videogame with the upcoming release of One Piece World Seeker, massive adventure game for Xbox One, PS4 and PC digital.
  • VIZ Media Europe will be rebooting the popular ‘80s sports anime Captain Tsubasa with a new series coming to major European broadcasters in 2019. My Hero Academia just has a major manga sales milestone, with 2 million copies sold across Europe — the biggest manga launch in the region ever. Leading TV/OTT networks and major licensing partners will be announced at the panel.



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