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How Magic Light is captivating preschoolers with Pip and Posy talks to brand director, Daryl Shute about how the company is building the new preschool show into a fully fledged brand.

Firstly, can you give me some background on the show?

Pip and Posy premiered on Channel 5/Milkshake! in March this year and the first batch of 20 episodes are screening alongside this on Sky Kids. The shows about a rabbit and a mouse whose lives revolve around a wonderful world of play. The series is a joyful celebration of their great friendship, its laughter and games, its ups and downs. It’s based on a popular series of books illustrated by Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo.)

This is Magic Light’s first preschool show proper – what made you decide to enter the category?

While we have been making high quality specials for a number of years now, we have long wanted to bring a new property/IP to the global market. Pip and Posy is packed with warmth and humour, we love Axel’s work so it’s been a joy to bring another of his unique worlds to screen.

What’s the show’s USP? The preschool sector is a crowded one, so what will make Pip and Posy stand out?

You’re right, it’s busy out there and so many wonderful shows available. What we feel is unique about Pip and Posy is the focus of friendship between them. Making friends is key to the development of children’s social skills and emotional intelligence. Pip and Posy shows preschoolers how to see the world from someone else’s point of view, and how to build lasting friendships with kindness, resilience and flexibility.

What are your immediate plans for the consumer products programme? What are the key categories you would like to move into first? Have you secured partners already?

Focus now is on building momentum and awareness of the series. It’s key to establish fandom early on so the demand for activity beyond the series becomes eagerly anticipated. Our strategy is to introduce licensed products to the UK market in 2022 and we’re having conversations across key categories at the moment. We’ll be making announcements later in the year, watch this space.

Magic Light's strategy is to introduce licensed products to the UK market in 2022, says Daryl.
Magic Light's strategy is to introduce licensed products to the UK market in 2022, says Daryl.

What has reaction been like from viewers, potential licensees and retailers to the property?

Really great! The ratings on Milkshake! are strong and our own testing shows that the series is connecting with audiences. It’s also equally enjoyed by boys and girls which is really important us so as to achieve universal appeal. Our social media channels are also performing brilliantly bringing in more audience so fans can engage with and get to know Pip and Posy.

Magic Light Pictures clearly has a huge heritage and is well respected in the licensing space – launching a new brand is challenging (even when we’re not in a pandemic!), so will your past experience stand you in good stead?

Thank you, that’s very kind. To call something a brand takes time. We’ve spent over ten years building The Gruffalo, and its collection of companion titles, so as to position it as an evergreen literary classic; a brand that will be enjoyed by families for 50 years and more. Pip and Posy is an entirely new venture, a preschool series in a crowded market where cut-through is difficult. Quality and longevity are the company’s core values and we believe by doing something well and in a measured way, it will deliver success. So we’re sticking with that approach.

And, what are the long-term aims for the property? Where would you like to see it build to in, say, five years’ time?

As the show rolls out to international broadcasters in 2022/23 we’ll build on the UK model and introduce licensed product when the time is right. This provides the positioning required to establish Pip and Posy with multiple series, ranges of consumer products, partnerships, activations and loyal fans across the world. It’s then that Pip and Posy will have achieved its deserved status as a preschool brand. One that audiences will adore, as much as we adore the characters now.

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