Aardman’s international Sales & Acquisitions arm has added to its portfolio with a selection of promising preschool properties ahead of MIPCOM.
The company has recently been appointed as global rights representative for the exciting new series Interstellar Ella, a co-production between the Tinker Labs (U.K.), Grid Animation (Belgium) and Apartment 11 (Canada). The 52 x 11’ CG-animated series, aimed at 4-7 year olds, explores the themes of friendship, astronomy, planets and learning through play, is set to launch globally in Q4 2020.
Each episode teaches the young audience all about the solar system, space, and how the Earth is part of a bigger picture as Ella and her gang of friends go on adventures in the Galaxy. The series aims to familiarize kids and their parents with basic astronomy and astrophysics, as they are progressively introduced to planets and their moons, constellations, nebulae, stars, comets, asteroids, black holes and other galaxies.
The series will air in the U.K. on CBeebies and on TVO, TFO and Knowledge Network in Canada and VRT Belgium. Pre-sales have been secured by the producer with ABC Australia and Hop! Israel.
“Our expertise at Tinker Labs & Grid is the provision of VFX for live-action features and the creation of theatrical quality animation. As one of our first in-house ventures, Interstellar Ella is very close to our hearts so we have been very cautious in the selection of our production and broadcast partners,” said Mark Mertens, Producer & MD at Tinker Labs. “We are absolutely delighted with the calibre of our investment partners and the agreement with Aardman is sure to provide the exposure, commercial know-how and nurturing that Aardman has built a reputation for over the past years alongside their impressive track record in potentially lucrative markets such as China and Japan.”
Alongside this, Aardman has also taken on International distribution rights of Alphablocks Limited hit preschool shows Alphablocks and Numberblocks. Animated by BAFTA-winning studio Blue Zoo, Alphablocks and Numberblocks use humor, music, inventive animation, delightful characters and engaging storylines to show children up to age 6 how letters and numbers really work.
“We are delighted to partner with Aardman and open up a world of learning to an International audience eager to engage with the Alphablocks and Numberblocks. These fun learning series aimed at 4-6 year olds are currently helping millions of U.K. children fall in love with letters and numbers and we know that International audiences will be just as receptive to the power of these two revolutionary learning brands,” said series creator Joe Elliot.
Alison Taylor, Head of Sales & Acquisitions at Aardman added: “From the minute we first saw the creative materials for Interstellar Ella, we knew that we wanted to partner on such a high-quality series and so we are delighted to be able to confirm this new partnership with Tinker Labs. We are also excited to be expanding our successful relationship with Blue Zoo, on their wonderful, engaging series Numberblocks and Alphablocks, both of which can be seen on CBeebies in the U.K. We can’t wait to share these new series at MIPCOM for the first time.”
The team continues to represent Munki and Trunk, a non-dialogue, 52 x 7’ CGI series which recently launched a dedicated YouTube channel, which Aardman manages on behalf of Sunrise Productions, South Africa. This is the first third party series that Aardman has launched on YouTube, securing a promotional slot on YouTube Kids that gaining a further 1 million views in its first month online. The studio are working with select partners on YouTube strategy in key territories, working closely with the YouTube Kids & Family team.
Aardman have 2.5 million subscribers across their portfolio of 20 YouTube channels, attracting on average 150 million views per month.
Robin Gladman, Senior Distribution & Acquisitions Manager at Aardman, noted: “Our YouTube business has built dramatically over 10 years becoming a key platform for our content in many markets. We look forward to offering our in-house expertise to other producers, helping them to realise the huge global reach that YouTube can offer.”
Aardman will be at MIPCOM and MIPJunior at stand P-1 B.77.