Mattel Reorganizes TV Distribution on Eve of MIPCOM

Courtesy of Mattel
Little People in a new CG-animated show being offered for the first time at MIPCOM

The HIT Entertainment division will offer a new CG series based on the Little People toy line

On the eve of MIPCOM, toy giant Mattel announced Friday that it has consolidated its content distribution under the HIT Entertainment division to "maximize the global distribution" of TV content and "advance its preschool portfolio of brands."

HIT, which is a leading provider of preschool entertainment, will now be responsible for the distribution of all of Mattel's brands, including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Monster High, Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, and the Fisher-Price brands, including Little People.

"As the entertainment landscape continues to evolve," said Edward Catchpole, senior vp and general manager of HIT, "from traditional media to one including digital and emerging platforms, this new structure will keep teams aligned with brand strategy.

Catchpole will lead the distribution team along with Sid Mathur, vice president of HIT Entertainment.

One of the first products HIT will take to market is a new CG-animated series based on the Fisher Price toys Little People.

DHX Media has come on board as its animation partner for Little People.

The Little People toy line was originally produced in the 1960s and is still selling. The television show will feature "imaginative and energetic characters that will be relatable to today's children," according to the announcement.

"Little People is a brand loved by generations of kids around the world, and a natural fit for DHX Media's CG animation studio in Halifax," Steven DeNure, president/COO of DHX Media, said in a statement.

Another show HIT will take to MIPCOM is a revamp of the popular TV character Bob the Builder.

Bob the Builder has been on TV for about 15 years as an iconic clay model. In the new series, Bob gets a more modern look. The show will be done in CG animation from a concept developed by Canadian-based digital-animation company Mainframe.

Not only has Bob's look transformed but so has his world. He still lives in his seaside village of Fixham, but his home has expanded, and he has acquired a large new yard. Familiar characters return along with some new ones.

Bob will now be voiced by actor Lee Ingleby, known for his role as Stan Shunpike in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

"My little nephew is such a huge fan of Bob that I had to jump at the chance," Ingleby said in a statement. "Capturing a child's imagination is such an import development in life, and I think Bob the Builder is great for that. It's fun, colorful and educational. I just wish I was half as good at DIY as Bob is."

The updated series will be released in 2015 along with the premiere of the Little People show.