Euro kids firms form strategic alliance

Kids-logo-460_2WissperGerman brands firm m4e and Spanish-Italian kids venture Planeta Junior have formed a strategic alliance that spans coproduction, distribution and rights.

The family entertainment-focused firms say the pact is “long-term”, and will also cover licensing and merchandising.

“Several rights” from Planeta’s IP catalogue and m4e’s development slate will be coproduced going forwards, while both parties will distribute the other’s catalogues.

Planeta Junior, which is a joint venture of DeAgostini and Grupo Planeta, will focus on France and southern Europe, while m4e will target central and northern Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, North America, Africa and the Middle East. Eastern Europe will be jointly handled.

M4e sells shows such as Channel Five and Nick Jr. toon Wissper (pictured), which went to Discovery Kids Latin America last year, while Planeta Junior sells Heidi, Power Rangers and Pumpkin Reports in various southern European territories.

The two companies will combine several of their teams to create “a strong international network” as they look to build “a leading worldwide business”.

The combined venture will have offices in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Poland and the Benelux region. Expansion into “other major territories” is planned “in the medium term”.

Furthermore, the partners plan to jointly acquire rights, and offer services to third parties. They will also develop joint branding, which will be revealed “shortly”.

“This strategic collaboration represents a major step for the m4e group in terms of deep distribution, managing our rights and consumer products business in Europe as well as financing aspects for our production slate,” said m4e CEO Hans Ulrich Stoef.

“We share the same vision and due to our strong teams the new venture offers a huge opportunity to better control our rights portfolio and revenue streams. Right from the beginning of the discussions we felt that Planeta Junior is the natural fit for such a partnership.”

“This alliance is a perfect match for both companies since m4e and Planeta Junior share the same concept of the entertainment business and we are naturally complementary in reaching the European marketplace through our local teams,” added Ignacio Segura de Lassaletta, Planeta Junior’s general manager.

“This joint venture establishes the ideal framework for our creative teams to develop new and exciting properties.”