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April 6, 2018
Animaccord Animation Studio has a hit on its hands with "Masha and the Bear," a 3D-animated series targeted to young children.
Created by Oleg Kuzovkov in Moscow, Russia, in 2008, the series was slow to launch, taking eight years to secure funding and develop. But the slow and steady pace paid off when Kuzovkov found a partner in Dmitriy Loveyko, who joined as co-producer, and the series began to take off.
The first episode of "Masha and the Bear," titled "How They Met," hit Russian airwaves via the popular children's series "Good Night, Kids" in 2009. Simultaneously, content was also released via YouTube, which allowed the property to gain viewership around the world from its onset.
Now the series airs in more than 50 countries and has generated more than 10 billion views online, says Animaccord.
In just three years, “Masha” gained worldwide popularity as the series began to get picked up by leading broadcast networks in all major markets. Today, the show can be viewed in more than 35 different languages in countries such as Brazil (SBT), Italy (Rai Yo-Yo), Mexico (Canal 5 and Televisa), the U.K. (Cartoonito), Canada (Teletoon), Germany (KIKA) and more.
The property also kicked off a strong licensed product range to back it, with partners such as Ferrero, Danone, Simba Dickie Group, Ravensburger, Crayola, Clementoni, Egmont, Penguin Random House, Hachette and many others taking a bet on the new animation.
Retail partnerships followed shortly thereafter.
Licensee Ferrero, following a long-term agreement for the brand in CIS, has recently launched a special Easter-themed collection of Kinder Gran Surprise eggs in Italy; Kinder Surprise Maxi eggs in France, Greece and Cyprus; and Kinder Surprise eggs in Mexico.
Master toy partner Simba Dickie Group has developed one of its largest assortments of branded toys, says Animaccord; while publishing partner Hachette released a series of books in France and French-speaking countries last year and has selected “Masha” for its Bibliotheque Rose collection, which will be released in October.
In Mexico, master toy partner (Americas) Spin Master brought a “Masha” toy collection to retail at regional retailer Liverpool late last year. This year, Spin Master will extend its product range to Brazil.
Last year, Animaccord brokered an alternative content deal with Warner Bros. Italy to release new content in movie theaters. Building on this model, the animation studio will execute a standalone activation with Pathé Live Kids in Sweden and France and Mountain Road in Belgium and the Netherlands for the release of eight new episodes in theaters, which will then be shown on TV.
The series also hit the big screen in Brazil during the 2016 holiday season, where select episodes from seasons two and three were shown in 600 cinemas across the country.
Animaccord is currently in production on season three of the series, as well as activations and brand engagement activities such as promotions and live shows to bolster the property across all markets.
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