‘Content for Kids Over Six is Particularly Valued by Traditional Broadcasters at the Moment,’ says HARI

License Global speaks with Corentin Besse, brand manager, HARI, ahead of France Licensing Day about the changing ways in which consumers want to enjoy content and the studio’s hunt for a master toy partner for “Grizzy & the Lemmings.”

June 11, 2024

5 Min Read
Corentin Besse, HARI
Corentin BesseHARI

License Global: You joined HARI in 2022 but have been in animation for many years. How has the animation landscape changed during that time, especially in the way people consume content?

Corentin Besse: Broadcasters and platforms have been looking more and more for IPs with a strong recognition and high brand awareness in order to drive the audience to their services, while, thankfully, still offering some new original content.

It’s been a successful combo for us as “Grizzy & the Lemmings” belongs to the first category – kids have known and loved the show for years now, and new generations happily jump in as new seasons are released regularly, the exposure is tremendous and the popularity of the show is consistently growing. “When Mystery Lane” is a new original show that exceeded expectations by breaking records of views and ratings right from its launch and quickly became a favorite and top-viewed show wherever broadcasted.

Content for kids 6 and up is particularly valued by traditional broadcasters at the moment, as we witness an important shift to YouTube when it comes to the viewing habits for preschool shows.

That being said, for all age groups in general we can observe that linear and non-linear very much feed each other, both benefit from a maximized exposure of the shows. Many titles in the most watched shows report issued by Netflix have a heavy presence on YouTube for example.

Related:Paris 2024 Olympics Announced as France Licensing Day Keynote

Grizzy and the Lemmings, Société Française des Monnaies

How would you describe HARI’s licensing program and what are some of the key collaborations that have defined HARI’s approach to licensing?

We started by developing our own merchandising products with the aim of showing potential licensees all possible product development directions.

We are now looking for categories that are the most appropriate with our target group (kids 3-10 and families) and that can best translate the cartoonish and fun series’ look and feel, such as plushes and toys, family board games, books, back-to-school, collectibles, loyalty programs and apparel.

We have already secured different deals in those categories (Hachette Jeunesse for books, Débâcle Jeux for board games, Société Française des Monnaies for collectibles, famous fast food restaurant chain for loyalty). They are important deals to structure our overall licensing program and be able to expand the product range by seeking other licensees.

What would you say HARI’s licensing objectives are and how do you work with brands to achieve those goals?

We’re actively seeking a master toy partner that would be the best fit for the IP and with whom we could collaborate to transform a worldwide existing success into a global licensing program. To do so, we take part in all major licensing fairs this year. We also develop our own range of figurines and a large variety of toys mockups to show all the possible toy product developments.

Related:‘Brands Have Never Had a Greater Need to Tell Stories to Their Audience’ – Universal Products & Experiences on Audience Content Consumption Changes

On the other hand, our ecosystem of licensees offers “Grizzy & the Lemmings” a good visibility in retail. This shows a first range of valuable opportunities to the master toys we’ll be talking with. We accompany our licensees in retail through dedicated material or corners. We also create live events (Kinepolis theater tour in France and Belgium, meet and greet in Polish malls). This broader exposure provides unique and fun ways to cross promote the series and put the spotlight on our IP.

What excites you most about creating new collaborations?

Every collaboration is different from one category to the other, or from one licensee to the other, but the goal remains the same: we need to work hand in hand with licensing partners to make sure that the merchandising products are the continuation of our premium-quality series.

What makes it particularly exciting here at HARI is that our production team is fully integrated with our animation studio, which means we’re well-positioned to create on-demand visuals and graphics, just like we did for UHU. This makes every licensing partnership unique and gives a top level of service. We aim for quality over quantity to make sure the products represent the production values of the series.

Retail immersive corner

“Grizzy & the Lemmings” continues to achieve great success, it’s in the top 10 most watched kids’ content worldwide on Netflix, according to the platform’s report issued late 2023. What is it about the IP that resonates with fans?

“Grizzy and the Lemmings” strength lies in its being a family show. Preschoolers and kids alike love it, which drives a lot of co-viewing with the parents/carers as well. Parents are aware of the show and enjoy the universal humor of the cartoon.

The show is a gender-neutral series, and both boys and girls can identify with the cute and aspirational characters and the show’s playful and optimistic atmosphere and inventive and dynamic storylines.

You will be exhibiting at France Licensing Day in Paris later this month for the first time; why did you feel it is important to have a presence at the event and what do you hope to get out it?

This will be the first time for us at France Licensing Day. This event stands out from the others; its simplicity is its greatest asset. The contacts we will have the opportunity to network with, including licensees and retailers, are excellent.

In addition, the Licensing International Awards gives the opportunity for several collaborations to be highlighted and to salute the great innovations in the sector. A good moment of inspiration and networking.

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