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‘There’s still more to come from Peppa Pig’

We speak to eOne’s Hannah Mungo about the unstoppable preschool brand and her thoughts on the sector in general.

Firstly, what were your big successes in 2015?

It was a fantastic year for us. We acquired the pan-European licensing rights to Steven Spielberg’s big screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, The BFG. It’s forecasted to be one of biggest film releases of 2016 and we already have 16 licensees on board across an array of different categories including games, apparel, stationery, accessories and confectionary.

2015 also saw us continue to build Peppa Pig even further and reach £246m in UK retail sales. We’ve achieved this by maximising sales across existing categories, adding new categories and working with our partners to launch some fantastic seasonal ranges. Working closely with retailers on a number of in-store events and promotions has also allowed us to drive revenue and increase consumer interaction with the brand.

And what are your big properties within the preschool space for 2016?

We’re expecting further growth Peppa in 2016. There’s 52 new episodes currently in production that are set to launch on-air from 2016 meaning there is a fresh pipeline of new content to inspire our growing licensee base and entertain the properties huge fanbase. We’ve also got some exciting new charity initiatives planned for 2016.

For Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, our priority is increasing retail distribution and expanding ranges at retail. We’ll have a number of secondary categories launching for the brand including role play and electronic learning toys, stationery, homeware, puzzles, games, health and beauty, outdoor toys and accessories.

2016 is also looking to be a very exciting year for our hot new property, PJ Masks. The preschool super hero show has recently made its US debut and is already proving to be a huge hit. In early 2016, the show will launch on Disney Junior in a number of European countries including the UK so watch this space.

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What was the biggest change in the preschool environment in 2015?

It has to be the introduction of other successful properties that aren’t Peppa and Thomas! For example, In the Night Garden and Paw Patrol have both performed very well in 2015. For us though, one of the biggest changes is that we’ve seen a huge increase in Ben and Holly’s product sales in AW15.

We’ve also seen consumers wanting to purchase multiple brands. Retailers have responded quickly to this and are now stocking a wider choice of licenses and becoming more willing to try new things – it’s great change for the industry as whole.

Just how competitive is the licensed preschool sector at the moment? What is the main challenge for you as a brand owner?

The licensed preschool sector is certainly more competitive than it has been for a number of years. However, we’re seeing no decline in Peppa as a result so there is definitely room for more than two options.

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Do you think that the consumer is much more savvy now as to what they will buy? What do you think they look for?

While consumers want to purchase licensed products from brands their kids love and engage with, they’re also keen to find a good offer so they’ll shop around to get the best price.

Is having a link with the parents vital? For example, older brands – such as Teletubbies and The Clangers – might have more resonance because they watched them/played with the toys growing up?

While there is no doubt that parents will have a fondness for brands that they grew up with, at the end of the day the show has to engage the children too.

Do you see any major trends emerging for 2016?

In 2016, I think we’ll see rapid growth of the discount market. As such, licence holders and suppliers will need to find new ways of differentiating their offering between all retailers.

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