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eOne: Growing Up and Out

eOne: Growing Up and Out
eOne is finding much success in North America with its stable of children's programs. So much so, it's growing its U.S. team to keep charging forward.

eOne is finding much success in North America with its stable of children's programs. So much so, it's growing its U.S. team to keep charging forward.

Joan Grasso, vice president, licensing, North America, eOne

Entertainment One is continuing to carve out space for its entertainment properties in the U.S., bringing its classic British series such as "Peppa Pig" and "Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom" stateside, as well as finding much success with the France-born "PJ Masks" CG-animated hit.

"Peppa" is by now a well-established evergreen in the U.K., and in North America, it's on its way to achieving similar status thanks to its top 5 ranking on the Nick Jr. network, where it airs daily.

Globally, the brand generates more than $1 billion at retail annually, with $200 million of that collected in the U.S. in 2016.

In North America, the brand has more than 70 licensees on board including top-tier partners such as Jazwares, its master toy partner, and Scholastic, its master publisher. Others include Colgate, American Greetings, VTech and many more.

"'Peppa' continues to expand–I don't think we've reached the ceiling yet of what this property will be in the U.S.," says Joan Grasso, vice president, licensing, North America, eOne.

According to Grasso, in 2016, eOne onboarded 20 additional licensees for "Peppa," and will look to expand the brand even further into wider categories such as consumer packaged goods and food and beverage.

The property is also backed by a traveling live show. Launched in 2015, "Peppa Pig's Big Splash" has recently launched a new leg in both the U.S. and Canada, and will get a refreshed stage presence this fall with the premiere of "Peppa Pig's Surprise!"

Abroad, the series is gaining momentum in China, Korea and India, specifically, where merchandise launched this year. In China, the show enjoyed more than 12 billion views via various online platforms.

From the same creators as "Peppa" is "Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom," which also airs on Nick Jr. in the U.S.

Launched in the U.S. in October 2015, the series continues to roll out new episodes this spring, and has secured a major product range in partnership with Jazwares. The brand's first U.S. range will hit retail this August.

"We'll have more news on other product categories for 'Ben and Holly' soon," says Grasso.

But the big story is "PJ Masks," eOne's runaway hit based on the French picture book series Les Pyjamasques.

The series hit U.S. airwaves in September 2015, premiering on Disney Junior and the Disney Channel. Even with only one season (57x11) to draw from, the brand is finding no issues tackling retail, as it enjoys placement at mass with ranges at Toys 'R' Us from global master toy partner Just Play.

"This property became hot so quickly," says Grasso. "We've signed over 55 deals already–companies and manufacturers want to work with us on this brand."

Grasso says much of the product has yet to launch, but is slated to hit shelves later this year.

New episodes are also on deck for the brand–season two will hit Disney Junior this fall. Continued short-form content, music videos and interstitials will refresh the brand as anticipation for the new series gains momentum.

"PJ Masks" is also getting its own live show, "PJ Masks Live!," which is set to debut in September and visit more than 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

To manage these and other programs eOne has in development, eOne has recently begun to expand its North American licensing team.

"Because we've seen a lot of growth in our licensing portfolio and for each of our individual properties, our team is expanding here in North America," says Grasso. "We started out with just me, and now we have a team of seven people. It's a full U.S. team, and it will continue to grow this year as the properties and programs continue to expand."

Joining Grasso in the New York-based eOne office are Janice Lam, director, licensing; Danielle Merkrebs, licensing manager; Megan Rodenbucher, licensing coordinator; Julie Christopher, vice president, marketing; and Ashley Sutton, marketing manager.

Grasso says more internal growth is also expected in 2017 and into 2018.

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