FuturumKids and Monster Entertainment bring ‘Paddles’ to Australia

Paddles, the lovable polar bear cub accidentally delivered by the Stork to a frozen River Shannon in Ireland, has now found itself even further from home: in Australia! Animation and media company FuturumKids, whose delightful new CGI show for four-to-seven-year-olds, Paddles, has announced its arrival in its first major market outside Europe with a deal to show Paddles on Stan, streaming service in Australia.

Stan is a video-on-demand subscription service that provides its customers with access to a wide range of movies, television programmes, sports and other audio-visual content. This includes original productions and high-quality acquisitions, notably in children’s programming, where Stan has been building a strong portfolio of quality kids’ content. Paddles, FuturumKid’s premium series, certainly fits that bill.

Paddles, a charming, exciting and very funny 52 x 11 series, tells the story of a polar bear cub that accidentally finds itself in Ireland – and is brought up by a pack of Irish wolfhounds. Through the adventures, mistakes and discoveries of its funny and huggable star, and his friends Bracken, Bridie and Fagan, Paddles shows its young audience that being different is something to be celebrated and enjoyed.

“There’s always a very strong demand for pre-school entertainment but it takes something special to attract the attention of a streaming service like Stan, which is focusing on building a portfolio of quality kids’ shows. We believe Paddles, perfectly fits this aim and are thrilled that Monster Entertainment has brokered this deal with a leading name in Australia’s VoD market,” FuturumKids sales head Brendan Kelly said.

With its emphasis on programming quality and wide availability on multiple devices, Stan has the fastest subscription growth rate of any streaming service in Australia. The show will launch on the Australian network in the autumn boosting the fast-growing presence of the lovable polar bear in multiple markets.

The deal was brokered by brand management company Monster Entertainment, which last year signed a global distribution deal for Paddles. Monster Entertainment will focus on bringing Paddles to new territories around the world, except Korea, which will be managed by local company Neon.

This appointment is the latest stage in the broadcast and merchandising development of Paddles, whose makers include members of the team behind the seven-time Emmy-award-winning children’s series Jakers! FuturumKids also contains senior figures from HIT Entertainment and its global franchises Bob the Builder, Barney and Thomas and Friends.

Paddles has already been sold to Cartoonito UK and launched on Ireland’s RTE with more major broadcast deals imminent. The Futurum team will be building on this success at MIPTV, where it expects to see strong interest in the show, which is also making inroads into the licensing arena.

In fact, as well as distribution deals with Monster and Neon, an e-commerce venture for plush is in the works, with a merchandising strategy already in place. This is led by Niall Watters, formerly ChannelSight brand partnerships head, a leading e-commerce intelligence and performance optimisation platform. He is now Futurum Group commercial head and is building a merchandising strategy that will start by bringing specially developed Paddles plush and other items to market at the same time as the show launches in a number of countries.

The first range of Paddles licensing and merchandising products is already on the way and a number of other deals are to be announced in the runup to MIPTV.