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Xilam Doubles Production, Builds Licensing Program

'Oggy & the Cockroaches,' among other Xilam properties, are set to secure a host of products across a variety of worldwide markets.

French production studio Xilam has seen massive growth in the last few years, with the opening of two new production studios in France and the development of a new consumer products strategy, headed by licensing veteran Marie-Laure Marchand.

With the addition of two new studios in Lyon and Angoulême (joining the company's existing studios in Paris and Vietnam), production output has now doubled, and the company is currently producing six, half-hour series.

Key among these is Xilam's flagship brand "Oggy & the Cockroaches," a slapstick show targeted to children ages 4 to 9, that features Oggy, who constantly find his plans to sit at home watching TV disrupted by his three cockroach roommates.

The series, which has been sold in more than 160 markets worldwide, first debuted in 1998, and three new seasons (5-7) are now headed to airwaves.

Xilam handles licensing for the brand in France in-house, and has appointed agents in a host of other key markets including Italy, Germany, Southeast Asia, India, Russia, Latin America, the Middle East and the U.K.

"'Oggy & the Cockroaches' is a unique brand in the entertainment area, and its TV and digital success is proof that there is already a captive audience for the show that will be delighted to discover and enjoy fun and innovative products around the brand," says Marchand. "The fact that the brand appeals to a gender-neutral audience makes a huge difference, and paves the way for lots of licensing opportunities in all categories."

Lansay has come on board as the master toy partner for "Oggy" in France, and Xilam is currently working on building out the brand's licensing program in other key categories, which will be an easy task with season five of the series performing strongly in markets worldwide.

At the same time, Xilam has also launched its first preschool brand, "Paprika," and is getting great feedback on the new show "Zig & Sharko," another non-dialogue, slapstick comedy in the vein of "Oggy."

"Paprika," which follows the antics of twin tigers Stan and Olivia, has been commissioned by Disney Junior EMEA, France Television and Discovery Kids Italy (K2 and Frisbee). Xilam is currently developing a style guide for the brand and is already in discussions with toy and publishing partners.

"The Paprika twins take everyday life and turn it into a wonderful, colorful and spicy adventure," says Marchand. "The show itself has been created as a toy playground, which will be great for toys and games. The overall kawaii look, along with creative secondary characters, will bring a fresh air to the preschool sector."

For Xilam's newest hit, "Zig and Sharko," which takes place on the beach, Marchand sees opportunities in outdoor toys, apparel and summer items.

"Xilam is experiencing an extensive expansion in terms of production capacities, as well as diversity of shows produced or in development," says Marchand. "One of my goals is to establish a steady licensing business for the group and focus on key strategic brands, so we can become an important player in the licensing industry."