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Entertainment/Character

Entertaining Deals & Experiences

Bells are ringing for the latest royal marriage, this time between Nick Jr. and Thomas & Friends. A new agreement between parents Mattel and Nickelodeon will see new seasons of Thomas & Friends premiere on the kid’s channel, with specials set to air on the Nickelodeon network throughout the year. Nick will also serve as Mattel’s exclusive U.S. agent for Thomas merch across multiple categories incl. apparel, accessories, home goods, and consumer electronics.

Chinese internet giant Tencent takes a stake in U.S. prodco Skydance Media, which was behind the Mission: Impossible and Terminator film franchises. The deal will give Tencent the opportunity to co-finance Skydance Media films, which will benefit from the Chinese firm’s distribution and marketing in the world’s second-largest movie market.

Digital kids’ network and studio WildBrain strikes a multi-year deal with JibJab Bros. Studios to manage and grow the latter’s children’s brand, StoryBots, on YouTube. The Emmy Award-winning, multi-platform learning program for kids ages 3–8 currently boasts 340,000 subscribers on its channel.

A new multi-year partnership is formed between Federation Kids & Family, Cottonwood Media, and Planeta Junior. Under the deal, Cottonwood Media and Planeta Junior will develop and produce new content, while distribution and ancillary rights will be jointly exploited by Federation Kids & Family and Planeta Junior. The alliance kicks off with SQUISH, a 2D series for 6–11 year-olds based on the graphic novels published by Random House Children’s Books that stars an amoeba looking to survive life in the cutthroat world of single cell organisms—or more specifically, grade school.

Canadian firm Boat Rocker Media acquires the kids and family entertainment division of U.K.-based FremantleMedia. The division will be integrated into Boat Rocker’s global distribution arm, Boat Rocker Rights, and is expected to bolster international growth opportunities across Europe and Asia.

Experiential Initiatives

Around 62% of companies are using experiential to drive both brand awareness and lead generation, according to AgencyEA, a global full-service brand experience agency. When it comes to budget growth, 38% anticipate a 10% or greater increase in their experiential budget within the next 18 months; another 25% expecting a boost of 5–10% in budget growth.

Cartoon Network is getting its own cruise liner, Cartoon Network Wave, thanks to a partnership with Oceanic Group, Asia-Pacific’s leading cruise management company. A themed onboard experience includes characters from shows such as Adventure Time, Ben 10, The Powerpuff Girls, and We Bare Bears. The 11 guest-deck, 2,000-guest ship will make its maiden voyage from its home port of Singapore in late 2018—making its way to 13 destinations in the APAC region incl. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, and Japan.

The Culinary Institute of America and Time Inc.’s Food & Wine pair up to host a culinary festival series in a deal brokered by Orchard Street Ventures, Food & Wine’s agent.. The inaugural event takes place over three days and kicks off in Cali. on Feb. 16, 2018. An immersive experience, the weekend will include tastings, hands-on cooking lessons, and educational seminars.

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