Lisa Macdonald talks re-imagining Octonauts, new content for Hilda and growing awareness for Chico Bon Bon.
Since it first began airing in the UK in 2010, preschool hit Octonauts has been based in the sea. However, 2021 will see Silvergate Media grow the brand onto the land with a new spin-off – Above & Beyond – and the new series will lead the way into what the company is anticipating will be a busy period of growth.
New characters, a fleet of land-based vehicles – the Terra-gups – new locations and a totally refreshed style guide will reflect the adventures on land for the first time, Lisa Macdonald, svp content sales and consumer products for North America, EMEA, Australia and New Zealand at Silvergate explains.
“As of now, six seasons have been commissioned that will run right through to spring 2024,” Lisa explains. “The fresh content and brand relaunch will reinvigorate the Octonauts global licensing programme, while continuing to take advantage of the brand heritage and loyal consumer fanbase.
“The land-based missions are the engine for a new consumer products approach as they introduce new play patterns and offer opportunities for creative toy development. I can’t reveal too much, but a new master toy partner will be on board next year.”
At the same time, Silvergate has been building the programme behind Hilda, which is currently in 130 countries where it is available on Netflix. “The creativity of the series has really struck a chord so it’s up to us to give her growing fanbase more of what they want,” says Lisa.
Season two launches on Netflix later this year, while a 70-minute movie special is in production for 2021. GUND is the master partner for plush, accessories and giftware products aimed at girls and teens, while Spin Master is on board to develop games and Hot Topic is due to release an exclusive Hilda collection online. Lisa adds: “It is a property with a lot of different dimensions and depth – that is what is so exciting. The affinity for the brand is so genuine.”
The attention grabbing Chico Bon Bon: Monkey With A Tool Belt is also currently assembling partners for a consumer products programme, following its May 2020 global launch on Netflix. Lisa explains: “Based on a picture book series by author and illustrator Chris Monroe, the show balances strong educational STEM narrative content with really amazing entertainment value. The visuals, the characters, gadgets and animation all have clear toyetic potential.”
It’s certainly been a busy period for Silvergate, with its production teams continuing to keep development of the new shows on track despite the challenges being faced due to the pandemic. On the CP side, Lisa says the company is “really focused” on creating the right momentum for the re-imagining of Octonauts and that it sees “the rest of 2020 as a great runway for our big launch next year”.
“The aim for our CP side is, as always, to make sure each extension and partnership reflects the true core DNA of each brand. We are always searching out partners who share that philosophy. Our goal is to nurture our brands and to constantly consider the long-term implications of each extension,” Lisa concludes. “Of course, it all stems from the content and fantastic story-telling. Everything flows from the creation of unique and innovative shows that both inspire and entertain; all credit to our brilliant production teams. That has always been Silvergate’s first priority and will continue to drive our successes.”