LicensingSource.net catches up with BBC Studios’ Mandy Thwaites to find out how the company is planning to continue the upward trajectory for the preschool property from Down Under.
If you’ve yet to come across Bluey, the six year old Blue Heeler pup, her younger sister, Bingo, and her parents Bandit and Chilli, it certainly seems like you’re in the minority.
Smashing viewing records in its home nation of Australia, the show is also the number one Disney Junior show in America and, in the UK, Bluey was the most watched show on CBeebies in January 2022 and is also available on Disney+.
Earlier this week it was confirmed that series two would receive its UK free to air premiere on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer on Monday 1 August.
This success is also being repeated in the consumer products space, as Mandy Thwaites, director, magazines and consumer products, UK division at BBC Studios, explains. “It’s been fantastic so far and we had some great results last year – capped by Bluey being 2021’s number one new toy brand according to NPD data. The UK is covered by global deals with master toy partner Moose Toys and master publisher Penguin Random House as well as multi-territory deals with Crayola, VTech and Hasbro.”
Mandy continues: “Other UK deals include Character Options (Weebles, arts and crafts), Danilo (calendars, cards and gift stationery), Blues (daywear), Aykroyd & Sons and TDP Textiles (nightwear and essentials), William Lamb (footwear and bags), Roy Lowe & Sons (socks), Amscan (partyware), H&A (health and beauty), MV Sports (wheeled toys), Stor (tableware, lunchware and drinkware) and others. It’s a strong and rapidly growing programme both in the UK and in other territories.”
Mandy says that perhaps while the speed at which Bluey’s success has grown has been unexpected, the team has always had complete belief in the quality of the show. “We’ve worked very closely with Ludo Studio who produce Bluey – they have been brilliant partners – and it’s been amazing to see fans around the world fall in love with the show as we did when we first saw it. Bluey really is something special.”
The aim now is to continue building on the existing success. Bluey is now airing in over 60 territories with top tier partners including Disney and free to air broadcasters. This has enabled BBC Studios to bring on board licensees in multiple territories and appoint licensing agents to serve local markets. In EMEA, the focus is currently on core markets including France, Italy, Spain, Nordics and others, but Mandy says there should be a full scale partnership programmes in place across EMEA, US and LATAM by the end of the year.
“We want to build on the success we had in 2021 – it was such a good year for Bluey in the UK and we want to sustain that growth to make it the must-have brand for licensees and retailers,” Mandy continues. “I think it’s clear to see that we’re very excited by Bluey. We don’t want to get carried away in that excitement though and there’s a lot of hard work that we’re putting in behind the scenes to build a very solid foundation for the long-term growth of the brand globally. From the team that we’ve put together here at BBC Studios, to our selection of partners who share our goals and values, we have a clear strategy for Bluey that we’d like to deliver on for years to come.”