This multi-partner co-production was selected as the winner of The Licensing Challenge to recognize the top new kids' properties with strong potential for licensing and merchandising.
"Mia and Me," produced by Lucky Punch, was selected from five international finalists as the winner of the eighth annual Licensing Challenge presented by License! Global and Reed Midem.
More than 80 programs were entered in this year's competition, which took place in October at the Martinez Hotel in Cannes in conjunction with MipJunior. The annual live pitching session showcases new kids' TV properties with strong licensing potential.
2011 other finalists were (in various stages of development):
- "Justin Time" by Guru Animation Studio (Canada)–This preschool property is based on the adventures of Justin and his imaginary pals Olive and Squidgy.
- "Let's Get Inventin'" by Luke Nola & Friends (New Zealand)–This live action program, now screened in over 21 countries, inspires kids to produce creative inventions.
- "Mouk" by Millimages (France)–"Mouk" is based on characters Mouk and Chavapa who travel around the world riding bikes.
- "Myo & Ga" (special selection by Kocca) by Vooz (Korea) and Imira Entertainment (Spain)–This program features three animal characters: a brave but gullible turtle named Ga who was sent to find a cure for the king; Co, a noble chicken; and Myo, a fugitive kung-fu rabbit.
"Mia and Me" is a hybrid of live action and CGI animation fantasy adventure. The TV series is produced by Lucky Punch (a joint venture between m4e and Gerhard Hahn), in co-production with Rainbow and March Entertainment as well as m4e AG, Hahn Film, ZDF German Television Network and Rai Fiction. The story follows 12-year-old Mia who finds herself in the world of Centopia, a kingdom full of unicorns, elves, pans and dragons. Mia must find the strength within herself to save an entire world.
According to m4e, production of a full first season (26 episodes) will be completed by the end of 2011 and a second season is already in development. "Mia and Me" is expected to premiere in spring of 2012.
TV rights have already been signed in France with Canal+/Teletoon, Portugal with TVI, United Arab Emirates with E-Vision, Germany with ZDF and Italy with Rai Fiction. Deals with broadcasters from the U.K., Benelux, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Asia and South America are also being finalized.
Licensing and merchandising deals include Egmont for a broad publishing program; Panini for collectors' stickers, albums and a monthly print magazine; Panini Kids for DVDs; and Schmidt Spiele for board games and puzzles.
Copenhagen-based Ink was named licensing agent for "Mia and Me" in the Nordic, Baltic and CIS territories and Eastern Europe.
The selection criteria for the Licensing Challenge is based on uniqueness and overall appeal of the property (innovation, character development); the look, story and themes of the show; distribution and/or broadcast plans; clear potential for licensing (franchise potential); suitability/match of property with identified audience target; and merchandising potential.
Tony Lisanti, global editorial director, License! Global, moderated the Licensing Challenge. Holly Stein, vice president of licensing acquisitions and business development, Mattel, served as president of the jury.
The jurors included Maria Doolan, managing director, brand and business development, Zinkia Entertainment, Spain; Grahame Grassby, managing director, Stella Projects, Australia; Elias Hofman, president, Exim Licensing, U.S.; and Bettina Koeckler, vice president of licensing, EMEA, Chorion, U.K.
The Licensing Challenge's past program winners, also in various stages of development, include:
- 2010: "Robocar Poli" from ROI Visual.
- 2009: U.K.-based Formula Fun Entertainment's "Franco and Formula Fun."
- 2008: Rainbow's "Huntik," co-produced with Big Bocca Entertainment.
- 2007: "My Big Big Friend," produced by Breakthrough Entertainment in association with 2D Lab and Treehouse.