Zodiak Kids & Family Distribution, the dedicated sales division for Banijay Kids & Family, handles the exploitation of the rights for all Banijay’s children content on linear and non-linear television, and ancillary activity across all platforms. It currently represents over 2,200 hours of animated and live-action content, distributing a catalogue of popular, creative and high-quality programming to entertain kids and families.
In December of last year, the company announced that it had been appointed as the worldwide distributor across audiovisual, digital, publishing, licensing and merchandising, for the iconic children’s brand “Topo Gigio.” Originally created by Italian puppet artist Maria Perego in 1959, “Topo Gigio” has recently been reimagined as a pre-school cartoon comedy series co-produced by Movimenti Production (also a Banijay Kids & Family company) and Topo Gigio S.R.L.
“With more than 60 years, ‘Topo Gigio’ is a heritage property in Italy. We started thinking that it was quite popular especially for the generation of today’s parents, but then we discovered that it was also famous worldwide, in particular in Latin America. With this information, we understood that it was impossible to consider ‘Topo Gigio’ as just an Italian IP,” commented Giorgio Scorza, CEO of Movimenti Production, in conversation with Señal News.
“For us, it is also a matter of heritage. We are talking about our childhood, our life. Therefore, it was amazing for us to make this show, and the fact that we had the blessing of Maria Perego. It was great that she finally thought that we were doing something that was good for the future of ‘Topo Gigio.’ She preserved the brand a lot, she did not want to change a lot, but finally she found that we were young people that really wanted to do something new without jeopardizing the values of the show,” Scorza added.
Originally premiering in October 2020 on Italian free-to-air television channel Rai Yoyo, the first series of “Topo Gigio” delivered strong ratings, up 60% on the network average, climbing quickly as one of the most watched shows of the Rai owned and operated channel. On December of last year, Rai debuted the first episodes of the second season.
“It is very excited for us to represent this brand. What is even more exciting is that we also have the free TV rights of this property, so I am able to pitch it to FTA broadcasters across Latin America and Brazil. Everybody I talked to was so excited about it, and everybody recognizes ‘Topo Gigio’ as it is a well-known character for people in Latin America. Moreover, I think parents would also like to transfer this love for 'Topo Gigio' to their children,” said Cécile Cau, SVP Sales of Coproductions and Acquisitions at Zodiak Kids & Family.
Lastly, in terms of sales, Cau sees a lot of international potential for the property. “The brand is huge, so that is why the marketing is going to be very important. We are showing it to free-to-air broadcasters, but obviously there are a lot of opportunities on the digital segment too. Of course, there are also huge opportunities on the licensing and merchandising side,” the executive assured.
By Diego Alfagemez and Federico Marzullo