New to BLE: “BLE is the perfect place to meet”

Project First’s business development director, Vladimir Nabatov talks Leo the Truck and plans for BLE.

A raft of exhibitors will be taking to the floor for the very first time at Brand Licensing Europe this week (4-6 October). catches up with just some of them to find out more on their plans and why they see the event as crucial to their brands’ growth.

Today: Project First (E177).

Multi-channel YouTube network, Project First began back in 2011 as a small family-operated company with the idea of creating educational and entertaining content for the new generation of digitally-native kids.

Today, Project First runs over 150 YouTube channels, most of which are live action for preschoolers.

The focus at BLE (Stand E177) will be on Leo the Truck – an idea which arose when Maria, the wife of Project First’s business development director, Vladimir Nabatov, was watching their three year old son playing with his favourite toy cars. “There was not much high quality content available for the preschool age group as most of the car-based IPs are targeted at slightly older kids (4+),” Vladimir explains to LSB. “So, we decided to fill this gap in educational early preschool cartoons. With my expertise of working for YouTube MCN-channels and Maria’s background as a teacher in kindergarten, we created the first episodes of Leo with an extremely simple story and slow narration pace suitable for kids of 2+ or even younger.”

Leo the Truck is translated into 15 languages and has gained 23 billion views on YouTube worldwide. There are 130 episodes now available with more in production. Project First also develops its own Leo the Truck apps, which have gained over 20 million downloads worldwide. In addition, the cartoon is also available on Amazon Prime, ROKU and on a number of VOD platforms in China. There is also strong awareness of the brand among preschoolers in Germany, Turkey, Russia, Brazil and Mexico, and it is growing in Italy and the Netherlands too.

“We believe that Brand Licensing Europe is the perfect place to meet in person with our existing licensees and agents, as well as to start new partnerships,” says Vladimir. “Based on the growing audience in European countries, I think this year is the perfect time to begin conversations with companies from Turkey, Italy, France. I also consider BLE as a great networking event, as well as a place to gather industry insights from the best companies in the market.”

This feature originally appeared in the autumn 2023 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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