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Jim Henson Debuts Robust Portfolio

Jim Henson Debuts Robust Portfolio
Entertainment company continues to expand its growing portfolio of brands.

Entertainment company continues to expand its growing portfolio of brands.

The Jim Henson Company is continuing to broaden its licensed product offerings for its growing portfolio of brands, bringing new extensions to market for properties such as "Dinosaur Train," "Word Party," "Splash and Bubbles," "Dot." and the evergreen "Fraggle Rock." Henson is also celebrating an anniversary year for the cult-favorite film Labyrinth.

Now in its fourth season, "Dinosaur Train" has sealed broadcast distribution in more than 200 territories around the world, including PBS Kids in the U.S., Disney Channel in Germany, ABC Australia for Australia, Netflix for global SVOD rights, France Televisions in France and many more.

Master toy partner Jazwares has been locked in and will debut a range of new items this fall at mass and online retailers in the U.S., followed by select international markets and an even broader international rollout for spring 2017.

"Our 'Dinosaur Train' line of products from master toy partner Jazwares ranges from figures and play sets to role play and plush, giving our young fans vast opportunities to engage in the brand in a myriad of ways," says Federico San Martin, vice president, global consumer products, The Jim Henson Company. "Our focus is to create product that is fresh, creative and innovative, and that translates the fun and edutainment aspects of the series into products kids will love."

Additional licensees on board for the brand include Buy Seasons for party goods (the U.S.), California Costumes for Halloween costumes (the U.S.), Rail Events for live shows (the U.S.), Fun Stickers for stickers (the U.K.), Gedea Labels for mealtime products (Germany), TV Mania for apparel and accessories (Germany), Evrika for chocolate eggs (Russia), Giochi Preziosi for food and premiums (Italy) and Warm Up Industry for costume character live appearances (Italy).

The property is further supported by a network of global agents such as Bulldog Licensing for the U.K., Biplano for France, LizenzWerft for Germany, CPL for Latin America, Megalicense for Russia, Jantar Projekt for Poland and Maurizio Distefano Licensing for Italy.

"The 'Dinosaur Train' re-launch program is strong and growing on a global scale," says San Martin. "To complement these licensees and expand the 'Dinosaur Train' world, we are seeking partnerships in the games and puzzles, sleepwear, oral care, FMCG and arts and craft categories, to name a few. Our longstanding licensees are thrilled with the brand re-launch and welcome new partners to expand the array of products available to consumers."

New for Henson is "Word Party," a vocabulary building show that utilizes proprietary CG animation from Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, that will debut on Netflix in July in the U.S. and in other global territories where the SVOD network is available.

Another new property for the company is "Dot.," a new animated series based on the debut picture book from tech expert and author Randi Zuckerberg. "Dot." hits U.S. broadcaster Sprout in September.

For both, Henson is looking to grow the consumer product programs at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., this month.

"'Word Party' is a vocabulary building show for very young kids and, as such, lends itself to being a very 'toyetic' property. We anticipate partnering with an array of licensees across key categories, from toys and publishing to games, puzzles and music, and given the amazingly cool products and opportunities currently in the marketplace, we will definitely look to creatively expand our category options," says San Martin.

For "Dot.," San Martin anticipates categories such as toys, apparel and publishing to lead the product program, which will target girls, ages 4 to 7. Secondary categories such as stationery, electronics and more will follow.

Henson is also unveiling an all-new animated series in November on PBS Kids in the U.S., "Splash and Bubbles," which is a co-production with Herschend Enterprises. The series, which consists of 40 episodes, will look to the undersea world to teach children about marine species and ocean phenomenon.

Accompanying the new series is a suite of digital offerings including games, apps and parent/educator resources, which will roll out this fall as well. San Martin says that the property's initial consumer product launch strategy will include anchor categories such as toys, publishing and apparel, but will evolve eventually to include adjacent extensions for bath, arts and crafts, summertime and outdoor play and accessories, health products and more. The range is expected to debut at retail in 2017.

Evergreen brand "Fraggle Rock" is still performing strong for Henson and has signed several new licensees in the U.S. including Super Impulse for novelty, Toy Factory for prize redemption and Funko for collectibles. These partners join Zen Monkey Studios (apparel and gifts) and Trevco (print on-demand).

Finally, Henson is rolling out the red carpet for the 30th anniversary of Labyrinth, the classic cult film that stars David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly alongside Henson's creature creations.

In honor of the anniversary, Henson has signed multiple new partners to support the brand including Insight Editions for a commemorative book; River Horse for a game; Truffle Shuffle for apparel, ceramics, bags and prints; Funko for collectibles; Card Corporation for debit cards; Toy Vault for plush, novelty and games; and Boom Entertainment for publishing.

Additionally, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will host a limited engagement theatrical run in the U.S. through Fathom Events, Sept. 11 and 14. A limited edition anniversary Blu-ray gift set will also be available immediately following the theatrical release.

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