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eOne's Super Preschool Heroes

Entertainment One recently launched the series 'PJ Masks' around the world. Now the series is ready to be supported at reatil with a comprehensive consumer product program.

Last October, Entertainment One Family launched the brand-new, CGI-animated preschool TV series "PJ Masks" on Disney Channel and Disney Junior in the U.S. and it rolled out around the world last fall, and to build on that success, eOne is now launching a comprehensive multi-platform strategy that includes new licensed consumer products.

Produced in partnership between eOne and Frog Box, and in collaboration with the French animation studio Team TO, Disney Junior and France 5, "PJ Masks" is based on the picture book series Les Pyjamasques by Romuald Racioppo. Already, the series has proven to be a hit with its core audience of children ages 2- to 7-years-old, has attracted 1.6 million viewers across its premieres and won an average audience share of 29 percent among the 2 to 5 age group.

"Preschoolers love the idea of superheroes, but many of those properties are unsuitable for this audience," says Andrew Carley, head of global licensing, Entertainment One Family. "'PJ Masks' answers the needs of this audience perfectly with original content that appeals to both preschool boys and girls and their parents with its message of empowerment."

Andrew Carley, head of global licensing, Entertainment One Family

The series brings the popular superhero genre to a preschool audience with heroic and fantasy-based storylines focused on themes that resonate with this age group, such as friendship and teamwork. Storylines follow the nighttime adventures of three young friends who transform into their dynamic super alter egos–Catboy, Owlette and Gekko–when they put on their pajamas and activate their special animal amulets. The three friends solve mysteries and learn important lessons along the way.

eOne's comprehensive, integrated digital strategy, which includes music videos, a free mobile app and an array of online content, is designed to further increase kids' engagement with the show.

"The Internet is vitally important to building the brand by connecting with kids away from the television series," says Carley.

The "PJ Masks" website offers a range of interactive elements including craft activities and character profiles. In May, two video games, "Hero Training" and "Night Time Ninjalinos," were launched online and for iOS devices.

Joan Grasso, vice president, licensing, North America, Entertainment One

In the works is a series of music videos that include the series' characters alongside lyrics that relate to the positive messages that are integral to the series. The music videos will be distributed to the show's broadcasters to use on-air and online via eOne's website and social channels, further driving viewership.

The success of the show has laid a strong foundation for a full-scale consumer product program that will complement the series, which will begin rollout in Q3.

"We anticipated the launch of our consumer products to be next fall, but the show was so popular, we moved up the date," says Joan Grasso, vice president, licensing, North America, Entertainment One. "We're very excited that, in such a short period of time, the show has really caught on and consumer demand for product is high."

Grasso says product will reach stores in time for back-to-school, with a broader assortment in on shelf for the holiday season. A rollout of merchandise in Canada is also on the schedule and will occur simultaneously.

"Retailers will be supporting the program in a big way," says Grasso. "We have some exclusive launches planned for back-to-school and we will widen the product rollout for holiday."

Just Play, which has been named the global toy partner, is gearing up to launch a collection of figurines, collectibles and play sets in the U.S. for the holiday season.

Simon & Schuster, the master publisher for North America, will launch a 5- to 6-item product line of storybooks and picture books this year, and the program will roll out to international publishing partners in 2017.

Other licensees on board include Wonder Forge, which will produce games; Cardinal Industries for a line of puzzles; Crayola for art and creative play products; and Cra-z-Art for crafts and activities.

On the softline and accessory side, eOne is partnering with Happy Threads for an apparel and accessory line that will include sleepwear, socks, underwear and more; Disguise for Halloween costumes; and Accessory Innovations for back-to-school products including lunchboxes, backpacks and bags.

More deals are in the works, with licensees soon to be announced in the bedding, home décor, consumer electronics and accessories categories.

"We have at least 30 licensees signed and plan to have a global licensing program in place by the end of 2017," says Carley.

"The TV show has given us the great exposure in the markets that you need to launch a successful consumer product program, and we plan to build the brand globally in markets where the property is strong," says Grasso.

To further bolster "PJ Masks" in the global marketplace, eOne has plans for experiential events and marketing, such as costume character meet-and-greets and events at National Superheroes Day, to engage fans outside of the broadcast series.

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