The Jim Henson Company’s third party media distribution and licensing banner acquires media distribution rights to new series Elias: Rescue Team Adventures, and global consumer products rights to the Elias property from Norway’s Animando.
Los Angeles, CA -- Elias, the adorable little rescue boat that first gained popularity as a children’s picture book in Norway, is now on its way to becoming a global children’s entertainment brand as HIP (Henson Independent Properties), The Jim Henson Company’s third party media distribution and licensing banner, has recently acquired from Animando in Norway both the media distribution rights of the all-new series Elias: Rescue Team Adventures and global consumer products rights to the Elias property.
The Company will debut 52 x 11 minute episodes of the CGI-animated preschool series, Elias: Rescue Team Adventures, currently in production at Caoz Animation in Iceland, at MIP Jr. 2013. This all-new series is a follow-up to the successful original series and movies. HIP’s consumer products team will unveil the property to the international licensing community at Brand Licensing Expo in London in October.
Elias is a brave, playful little rescue boat with an enthusiasm for life, fun and adventure. His berth is in Cozy Cove, a caring community comprised of houses, boats, cars, cranes and other distinct, non-human helpful characters. Elias loves the unpredictable seas that lap the wind-swept harbor of Cozy Cove as much as he loves his friends -- Helinor the helicopter, Dippy the submarine, Swifty the rubber dingy and others. His friends help Elias to learn the skills of his trade while sharing in his adventures and helping to keep everyone safe. Elias: Rescue Team Adventures series features kid-sized adventure stories that encourage young children to explore their own world.
“Elias: Rescure Team Adventures is a very distinct and captivating series for the global pre-school audience,” said Richard Goldsmith, Executive Vice President, Global Distribution, The Jim Henson Company. “We’re always on the lookout for unique characters and storylines that resonate with audiences worldwide. Animando has put the emphasis on entertainment while also managing to convey important lessons on safety, cooperation, community and bravery. Animando has done an amazing job on developing the property, and HIP is excited to establish Elias’ success in the global marketplace.”
“The Jim Henson Company’s involvement in Elias will certainly have a significant impact on the series’ international expansion and global licensing program,” said Animando’s Slåttebrekk. “The storylines for the new episodes of Elias provide the adventures that engage young viewers and ultimately underscore the important role that everyone has within their community. The series also subtly encourages cooperation and respect for others while also helping youngsters recognize the value in a job well done. These are universal themes that will appeal to children around the globe as well as their parents, and we anticipate the series will resonate with broadcasters worldwide.”
Animando has created a strong licensing foundation for Elias, demonstrating the property’s appeal with both the targeted preschool audience, as well as parents and caregivers. Given wonderful characters in this series and the inherent built in play pattern of the property, we are looking forward to introducing a global licensing program that encompasses new opportunities.,” added Melissa Segal, Executive Vice President, Global Consumer Products, The Jim Henson Company.
Elias first came to life in 1999 in the form of a children’s picture book created by Alf Knutsen and Sigurd Slåttebrekk entitled Elias The Little Rescue Boat. The book targeted young children with the story of a heroic little rescue boat dedicated to making the world a safe and happy place. In 2005, Elias was transformed into a national television series supported by Norway’s largest commercial broadcaster TV2 Norway. The 39 episode series earned widespread recognition including an International Emmy nomination in 2006. This opened the door to big screen productions -- Elias and the Royal Yacht (2007) and Elias and the Treasure of the Sea (2010), which received the Amanda Award in 2011 from the Norwegian International Film Festival as the best children’s feature film.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) has already committed to airing the 52 new episodes of Elias: Rescure Team Adventures beginning in spring 2014. Already one of Norway’s biggest TV exports, Elias has also spawned an impressive consumer products campaign in Norway, which resulted in retail sales of more than $55M euro. The licensing program offered a wide range of licensed merchandise and products, including toys, book publishing, mobile apps, music, games, water safety products, fishing gear, clothing, food products and more.
Source: Henson Independent Properties
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.