French Francies

French television is starting to leverage its licensing power as TF1 branches out with a focus on international expansion for its heritage Barbapapa property and with third-party representation deals—starting with European dance craze, Teck

April 6, 2018

3 Min Read

French television is starting to leverage its licensing power as TF1 branches out with a focus on international expansion for its heritage Barbapapa property and with third-party representation deals—starting with European dance craze, Tecktonik.

Think back to the 1970s and you may just recall Barbapapa and his family, an animated television series that spread across Europe, Scandinavia and into Japan to be broadcast ultimately in 109 countries. i1_550.jpg

The show, which celebrates 40 years in 2010, follows the adventures of cotton candy creatures Barbapapa, Barbamama and their family of seven animal- and nature-loving children who protect the environment. i2_261.jpgi2_t_117.jpg

Across the decades, TF1, which holds licensing rights for Europe and French-speaking territories, continued to supply DVDs of the series and to manage a limited licensing program within France. But by the end of the 1980s, Barbapapa had fallen out of the spotlight.

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At the beginning of this century, a nostalgic mood moved French broadcaster Télétoon to air the second series, and by 2005, M6 also was showing the series. More recently it has been airing on PIWI.

The property is now set for a licensing revival as TF1 leverages the trend for heritage properties and their popularity among adults and gains a new generation of fans through current broadcasting deals.

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Daphné de Beauffort, sales manager for TF1 Licences, says one of the reasons Barbapapa is back in the spotlight is that it has a green image and supports family values. In Japan, where de Beauffort says the property is even bigger than it is in France or Italy, the Barbapapa symbol is used on recycling projects.

But the property also is positioned as vintage and nostalgic, a value set that enabled it to launch into the premium licensing market in 2003 with gift products from Leblon Delienne, which sold in such stores as Galeries Lafayette and the iconic Colette in Paris.

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At the same time, Les Livres du Dragon d'Or started to republish Barbapapa literature and has sold more than 1 million books to date. De Beauffort says: "Based on the limited licensees that we started with, other companies started to approach us. Now we are targeting today's young mothers, who are adults who know the property from their own childhoods. And we are now expanding the product ranges across merchandise categories to cover adults and young adults and babies, plus children because the show is back on television."

Among the French licensees are Les Editions du Toucan for publishing; Jemini, Edibas, RBI and CTDS in toys and games; H&M (Europe), Sun City and Max Company for apparel; and Cemoi/Jacquot for food.

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TF1 is starting the international licensing rollout in Italy. Barbapapa was strong in Italy in the 1970s, and TF1 already has signed deals with 16 licensees for the property covering décor, toys and games, food, cosmetics, back to school, apparel and footwear and book and DVD publishing.

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Rollout in Scandinavia, which is currently being supplied by its French licensees, will follow. French-speaking territories are also in the short-term plan. The show is being dubbed into Spanish for broadcast launch in Spain, and TF1 aims to start developing in English-speaking countries toward the end of this year, following English dubbing. i8_33.jpgi8_t_11.jpg

"We started out purely with gifts, backed by video/DVD and books, but now we are ready for mass distribution," says de Beauffort, who has expanded the number of categories covered, as well as the price points.

As the trend for heritage properties continues, Barbapapa looks set to reach out from France across the globe.

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