Aardman Sales & Acquisitions arm bolster portfolio with new preschool properties

ardman’s international Sales & Acquisitions arm are delighted to announce they have recently been appointed as global rights representatives for exciting new preschool series Interstellar Ella, a co-production between the UK’s Tinker Labs, Grid Animation in Belgium and Appartment 11, Canada. The 52 x 11’ CG animated series, which is aimed at 4-7 year olds and explores the themes of friendship, astronomy, planets and learning through play, is set to launch globally in Q4 2020.

Interstellar Ella follows the story of Ella and her gang of friends on their adventures in the Galaxy. Each episode teaches the young audience all about the solar system, space, and how the Earth is part of a bigger picture. The series aims to familiarize kids and their parents with basic astronomy and astrophysics, as they are progressively introduced to planets and their moons, constellations, nebulae, stars, comets, asteroids, black holes, and other galaxies.

The series will air in the UK on CBeebies and on TVO, TFO and Knowledge Network in Canada and VRT Belgium. Pre-sales have been secured by the producer with ABC Australia and Hop! Israel.

 Mark Mertens, Producer and MD at Tinker Labs said: “Our expertise at Tinker Labs & Grid is the provision of VFX for live-action features and the creation of theatrical quality animation. As one of our first in-house ventures, Interstellar Ella is very close to our hearts so we have been very cautious in the selection of our production and broadcast partners. 

We are absolutely delighted with the calibre of our investment partners and the agreement with Aardman is sure to provide the exposure, commercial know-how and nurturing that Aardman has built a reputation for over the past years alongside their impressive track record in potentially lucrative markets such as China and Japan.”

Alongside this, Aardman have also taken on International distribution rights of Alphablocks Limited hit pre-school shows Alphablocks and Numberblocks.  Animated by BAFTA-winning studio Blue Zoo, Alphablocks and Numberblocks use humour, music, inventive animation, delightful characters and engaging storylines to show children up to the age of 6 how letters and numbers really work.

Joe Elliot, Creator of Alphablocks and Numberblocks said: “We are delighted to partner with Aardman and open up a world of learning to an International audience eager to engage with the Alphablocks and Numberblocks. These fun learning series aimed at 4-6-year-olds are currently helping millions of UK children fall in love with letters and numbers and we know that International audiences will be just as receptive to the power of these two revolutionary learning brands.”

Alison Taylor, Head of Sales & Acquisitions at Aardman added: “From the minute we first saw the creative materials for Interstellar Ella, we knew that we wanted to partner on such a high quality series and so we are delighted to be able to confirm this new partnership with Tinker Labs.  We are also excited to be expanding our successful relationship with Blue-Zoo, on their wonderful engaging series Numberlocks and Alphablocks, both of which can be seen on CBeebies in the UK.  We can’t wait to share these new series at MIPCOM for the first time.”

The team continue to represent Munki and Trunk, a beautifully crafted non-dialogue CGI series of 52x 7’ episodes and have recently launched the shows YouTube channel, which they manage on behalf of Sunrise Productions, South Africa.  This is the first third party series that Aardman have launched on YouTube, securing a promotional slot on YouTube Kids that gained a further 1 million views for the series in its first month online.

The studio are working with select partners on YouTube strategy in key territories, working closely with the YouTube Kids & Family team. Aardman have 2.5 million subscribers across their portfolio of 20 YouTube channels, attracting on average 150 million views per month.

Robin Gladman, Senior Distribution & Acquisitions Manager at Aardman added: “Our YouTube business has built dramatically over 10 years becoming a key platform for our content in many markets. We look forward to offering our in-house expertise to other producers, helping them to realise the huge global reach that YouTube can offer.”

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