Thursday, May 30, 2019

Rainbow Picks JLG to Rep ‘44 Cats’ in the U.S.; Toy Plus Partners with Bandai America to Distribute ‘44 Cats’ in North America

Rainbow has tapped The Joester Loria Group (JLG) to represent the 44 Cats animated series in the U.S. The appointment follows recent series deals with Nickelodeon for the broadcast of the series in the U.S., following a strong launch on Nickelodeon channels around the world.


“We are really pleased to announce The Joester Loria Group is on board for 44 Cats, and can’t wait to start our collaboration with such a brilliant partner to develop the brand’s huge potential across the U.S.,” says Cristiana Buzzelli, senior vice president, content and licensing, Rainbow Group.

Additionally, Bandai America has been appointed by master toy partner Toy Plus to distribute their full range of 44 Cats toys in the U.S., Canada and Australia markets. A collection including figurines, play sets, plush, and musical toys will debut at retailers early next year. Simba Dickie Group’s is the exclusive distributor for Europe and the Middle East.

“We’re really excited to launch the 44 Cats toy line to the U.S. and Canada,” says Shusuke Takahara, CEO at Bandai America. “Over the last year, we’ve been looking at new lines to distribute and couldn’t be happier to partner with companies like Rainbow and Toy Plus. From figurines to plush, we can’t wait to see consumer reactions as they collect toys from the adventurous and adorable TV show.”

Set in the world of animals, 44 Cats (52 eps x c. 13') follows the daily adventures of Lampo, Milady, Pilou, and Meatball – four adorable kittens who are part of a music band named The Buffycats.

The protagonists live and play in the Clubhouse, a garage beside old Granny Pina’s house. Their adventures explore the themes of friendship and altruism: the four cats love helping others and always find creative solutions to everyday hitches and help other cats in need. The series promotes positive attitudes and conveys educational messages dealing with important themes such as tolerance, diversity and solidarity in a funny way.

The series is created and directed by Iginio Straffi, the founder of Italian content powerhouse Rainbow Group, the makers of Winx Club and Regal Academy, and produced by Rainbow in collaboration with Antoniano Bologna and Rai Ragazzi.

Iginio Straffi, founder and president of Rainbow Group, said: “Nickelodeon is synonymous with quality and excellence in the kids’ and family content industry. We are truly excited to announce the airing of another Rainbow TV series on Nickelodeon in the U.S. 44 Cats has already proven to be a top-notch show that can work in any territory, and thanks to Nickelodeon’s huge reach, we will be able to bring the overwhelmingly positive energy of the show to millions of kids in the U.S. too.”

This eagerly anticipated show made its world debut on Rai Yoyo in Italy on Monday 12th November 2018. Nickelodeon International acquired the broadcast rights to the series in May 2018, and will roll the animated series out on Nickelodeon channels and branded blocks around the world, excluding Latin America, throughout 2019.

Nickelodeon USA will premiere 44 Cats on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 10 a.m. (ET/PT). Following launch, new episodes will continue to air weekdays at 10 a.m. (ET/PT).

44 Cats is inspired by the very popular Italian kids song "44 Gatti", which, in 1968, won the 10th edition of the Zecchino d'Oro and has since entered the collective imagination of Italians.

44 Cats is the first Rainbow Group production jointly developed with Bardel Entertainment, the Canadian animation studio it acquired in 2015, and jointly produced in collaboration with Antoniano Bologna and Rai Ragazzi, and combines great music and edutainment with high quality animation. The series also marks Rainbow’s (Winx Club, Regal Academy, Club 57, Mia and me, Maggie & Bianca Fashion Friends) inaugural foray into preschool programming.

Rainbow inked a licensing deal for 44 Cats with Thai Group’s Hong Kong-based company, Toy Plus in August 2018. Under the terms of the agreement, Toy Plus will develop a variety of products including interactive plush, figurines, play sets, musical toys and more based on the music, creative play patterns and collectability featured in the series. The line of merchandise debuted in Hong Kong in October, and is slated to become available for purchase around the world in fall 2019.

Rainbow has also secured a new licensing deal for 44 Cats with holistic lifestyle company Artsana Group. Under the agreement, the company will develop a range of licensed 44 Cats-themed infant educational toys for infants and a nursing line under its Chicco brand, the largest infant brand in Europe. The deal also includes apparel and accessories collections by Prenatal and Chicco. Products are expected to hit retail shelves later this year and will be supported by a dedicated, high-level marketing campaign delivered jointly by Rainbow and Artsana Group, which is also based in Italy.

44 Gatti become the most watched Italian-produced cartoon of 2018 when it debuted on Rai Yoyo on Monday 12th November 2018, recording record ratings of 527,000 viewers and a 2.71% audience share, helping Rai Yoyo to continue to be the most watched children's channel in Italy! Since its debut, 44 Gatti has also held the record for the highest viewing share amongst children aged 4-7 years, reaching 16% and an average audience of 350,000 viewers in the 19.15 timeslot.

Viewers can visit the official 44 Cats show websites at 44cats.tv and nick.com to find out more about the show and its musical stars, as well as watch exclusive video clips, play pawesome games and download purr-tastic activities.

More Nick: Nickelodeon USA's June 2019 Premiere Highlights!

Sources: License Global, The Toy Book.
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