Having established a loyal following among preschoolers in the U.K., BBC Worldwide is now looking to build the product program for 'Hey Duggee!' in the U.S. and Canada.
BBC Worldwide's latest children's hit, "Hey Duggee!," is picking up steam on both sides of the pond, with continually strong ratings in the U.K. and the first line of licensed products hitting shelves in North America.
The BAFTA award-winning animated preschool series first aired in the U.K. in late 2014 and made its U.S. debut in summer 2016. The show centers on a children's group called The Squirrel Club, akin to the Cub or Beaver Scouts, but for preschoolers, run by a big dog called Duggee.
The BBC Worldwide co-production with Studio AKA taps into the ethos that has made organizations like the Cub Scouts so popular for decades–community, adventure, accomplishment and, of course, fun. The series currently airs on CBeebies in the U.K., BBC Kids and Treehouse in Canada, Nick Jr in the U.S. and in more than 80 other territories worldwide.
"'Hey Duggee!' is a fantastic program loved by kids and parents," says Sergei Kuharsky, executive vice president, enterprise and digital franchises, BBC Worldwide–Americas. "The show encourages both play and learning, laughter and problem-solving, and it was important for us to engage in partnerships that would reflect the spirit of the brand."
In the U.K., the licensing program for the brand is well-established, having been in place for several years now. And with new episodes on the way, that success looks set to continue.
Master toy partner Golden Bear is developing a new "Hey Duggee!" plush range for fall/winter 2018, and recent launches of nightwear, underwear and swimwear from Aykroyd and TDP, as well as art, stationery and activity products from Blue Sky Designs have seen immediate success. New licensees for this year in the U.K. include Dreamtex for bedding and home textiles, and Paper Projects for stickers. Additionally, publishing partner Penguin Random House has a range of companion books, and Immediate Media publishes the official "Hey Duggee!" magazine.
"We are thrilled to be working with a whole host of best-in-class partners to expand the 'Hey Duggee!' offering this autumn," says Rikesh Desai, licensing director, merchandise and gaming, BBC Worldwide. "It's a really exciting time for 'Duggee.'"
And that excitement is trickling outward, as the brand expands its product program into the U.S. and Canada.
In February, BBC Worldwide–Americas named Jazwares as the master toy licensee for the series in the U.S. and Canada, marking the brand's first product partnership in the region with a line of collectible figures, vehicles, plush and play sets.
"Jazwares has done an excellent job bringing 'Hey Duggee!' to life for children in the U.S. and Canada," says Carla Peyton, senior vice president, licensing, BBC Worldwide–Americas. "The Huggable Duggee plush, Duggee's Police Car, and Duggee's Rescue Vehicle have been particularly popular in the region."
BBC Worldwide–Americas announced two additional licensees for "Hey Duggee!" in May–Children's Apparel Network for girls' and boys' apparel, swimwear, layettes and outerwear; and Jay Franco for bedding, bath goods, beach products and storage products. Both licensees are planning product launches for spring 2018.
"We knew fans would love the Jazwares toys, and Children's Apparel Network and Jay Franco are perfect partners with whom to take the next step in expanding the brand," says Peyton. "Next year will see the launch of two new lines of products that are both practical and fun, and we can't wait to introduce them to fans."