aNb Media News, September 27, 2012

Saban Acquires Digimon

Saban Brands has acquired the Digimon franchise, which encompasses rights to the property outside of Asia. Saban Brands will work with MarVista Entertainment for distribution of the series outside of Asia. Japanese animation studio, Toei Animation Co., Ltd. will handle licensing and distribution of the property in Asia.

The Digimon franchise was first brought to the U.S. in 1999 by Saban’s Fox Family Worldwide.

“We’re thrilled to reconnect Saban Brands with Digimon, an entertainment franchise that embodies the strong fan base and growth potential we look for in new additions to our portfolio,” said Elie Dekel, president of Saban Brands, in a statement. “We look forward to reintroducing the brand in new and exciting ways that will allow more fans to engage with Digimon.”

Little Airplane’s Small Potatoes Movie to Air on Disney Junior

Little Airplane Productions announced that Disney Junior has acquired the rights to air the 45-minute movie debut of the Small Potatoes—Meet the Small Potatoes—in the U.S. and Japan. The first animated movie from Little Airplane Productions, Meet the Small Potatoes stars the four singing spuds alongside legendary British actor Malcolm McDowell. The movie will premiere in the U.S. on Disney Channel and Disney Junior in early 2013, and later in 2013 on Disney Junior in Japan.

The film was written and directed by 11-time Emmy Award winner Josh Selig (Wonder Pets, 3rd & Bird). The music for the film was written and produced by the Emmy Award-winning team at Little Airplane and features original songs by the late Jerry Bock (Fiddler on the Roof). The cast of the film will include hundreds of custom potato avatars of Disney Junior and Small Potatoes fans, created especially for the film in the months preceding the premiere that will then be integrated into shots throughout the special. Beginning Monday, November 5, invites families to visit where parents can submit photos of their child for the chance to have them “potato-ized” and featured in the movie.

Meet the Small Potatoes is a new genre of film: the animated rock mockumentary, says Little Airplane Productions. The film follows the story of the band’s rise to fame from their humble roots on a farm in Idaho.

JibJab Creators Introduce StoryBots

JibJab creators and brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis announced the launch of their latest digital venture StoryBots, a multi-platform entertainment property for kids and parents.

The StoryBots are brightly colored, infinitely curious little creatures that live in the world beneath our screens (iPhones, iPads, computers, televisions). Their mission is to make learning fun for kids ages 2–6.

With a few clicks, taps, or swipes, parents can upload a photo of their child and insert him or her into the center of the action, alongside the StoryBots, using the company’s Starring You technology.

StoryBots Starring You StoryBooks is a free iPad app that enables parents to create personalized, animated eBooks that include their child’s name and face in the stories. The app comes with one free book, and parents can sign up to receive a new book every month for just $3.99. They can buy additional titles for just $1.99 each. Currently, there are 18 books available.

In addition, StoryBots Starring You Band is a free video series on the web that allows parents to insert their kids directly into music videos and jam out alongside the StoryBots. Together, the child and the StoryBots sing and dance to a series of jazzed-up classic children’s songs. There are four free videos now available with a new video scheduled each month.

Cut the Rope on the Big Screen

ZeptoLab’s Cut the Rope will be making its big screen debut exclusively in National CineMedia (NCM)’s FirstLook pre-show in movie theaters across the United States.

From September 28–October 25, special Cut the Rope video content including an all-new animated short starring Om Nom, the game’s star, will run in NCM’s FirstLook prior to select screenings of G and PG-rated films on thousands of movie screens across the nation.

DHX Takes Yo Gabba Gabba Rights In-House

DHX Media Ltd., a leading independent international producer, distributor and licensor of children’s entertainment content, has assumed all of the international broadcast and licensing rights for its preschool television property Yo Gabba Gabba. The show is produced by DHX Media subsidiary Wildbrain Entertainment. Previously, international broadcast and licensing rights were managed by Zodiak Rights.

“It’s a natural step for us to bring the international rights to Yo Gabba Gabba in-house where we have the distribution and licensing resources to manage the brand globally,” said Steven DeNure, president and COO of DHX Media, in a statement. “We would like to thank Zodiak Rights for their contribution in building the international brand to date, and we are now focused on boosting the presence of Gabba in its existing territories as well as extending its reach into new markets.”

Cra-Z-Art Unveils Lite Brix

Cra-Z-Art unveiled Lite Brix: The Superlight Building System, which is the company’s new construction line. The system combines traditional brick building construction with the magic of light-up bricks and connectors, allowing kids to “build with lights.” The sets are now available exclusively at Toys “R” Us in a variety of themes such as robots, helicopters, race cars, jet fighters, motorcycles, space shuttles, airport, fire rescue, and extreme city buildings. Each set comes with a battery power pack that attaches to the models. The company says that Lite Brix, which are designed for ages 6 and up, are compatible with all other brick building systems.