Buena Vista International Television (BVITV) is set to grow W.I.T.C.H. across Europe, with several free TV licensing agreements for the new 26x30 animated series. W.I.T.C.H. is a co-production with Jetix Europe, The Walt Disney Co. in the U.S., France 3 in France and Super RTL in Germany and is produced by SIP Animation. This animated action-fantasy series is designed to appeal to kids 6-12 and is from the Jetix portfolio of programming, of which BVITV services the distribution.
To date, the series has now been licensed in 13 countries across Western, Central and Eastern Europe. These are: Russia (on Channel 1), Italy (on RTI), Ireland (on RTE), Portugal (on SIC), Belgium (on Club RTL for French-speaking, and VTM for Flemish), Sweden (TV4), Denmark (TV2), Norway (TV2), Greece (Star TV), Switzerland (TSR French-speaking), Croatia (HRT) and Slovenia (ProPlus). These broadcasters will launch the series later this year and into 2006.
W.I.T.C.H. is an action/fantasy series with a combination of comedy, realism, fantasy and magic, featuring five normal girls on the brink of adolescence who are suddenly thrown into an adventure that will change their lives forever. On the one hand, the five friends are just regular teenagers; on the other, they are mighty sorceresses engaged in a battle against evil, harnessing their new-found mystical powers of control over the Earths elements.
Tom Toumazis, evp/managing director, EMEA, BVITV, said, Were sure that W.I.T.C.H. will mirror its U.S. TV success in TV schedules here in Europe. The dynamic Jetix series combines its enthralling magical adventures with storylines firmly based on the universal issues faced by tweens themes which will strike a chord with young people worldwide.
The property originates from the W.I.T.C.H. magazine, which was established in Italy by Disney Publishing in 2001, and is published in more than 30 languages in more than 80 countries. W.I.T.C.H. has been the most successful tween magazine launch ever, selling six million copies in its first year, and the magazine launched in the U.K. on April 6, 2005 published under license by BBC Magazines. W.I.T.C.H. is the fourth biggest magazine in the world (with 31 editions). The TV series is being launched on pay TV across Europe on Jetix channels. The W.I.T.C.H. brand also encompasses a bestselling book series and a wide range of consumer products, including stationery, homeware and apparel, all produced by Disney Consumer Products.
Buena Vista International Television is responsible for The Walt Disney Co.s branded and non-branded program distribution. BVITV distributes more than 30,000 hours of programming, and services the distribution of programming from the Jetix portfolio, to more than 1,300 broadcasters across 240 territories worldwide. BVITV also licenses award-winning ABC News programming.