WildBrain Spark acquires rights to manage Benesse Corporation’s ‘Shimajiro’

WildBrain Spark, the digital media division of WildBrain, has been assigned with exclusive rights to manage Benesse Corporation’s English-language channel and its hit edutainment preschool brand Shimajiro on YouTube.  Shimajiro, an educational character and learning buddy, is hugely popular in Asia, and WildBrain Spark will look to grow the presence of the brand’s English-language content with a focus on the UK, US and the wider English global market. Commenting on the deal, WildBrain Spark commercial director Rachel Taylor said, “As we continue growing our connections with brand owners all around the world, we’re very much looking forward to working closely with the Japan-based Benesse Corporation to grow their Shimajiro brand in key international markets. Shimajiro’s success in educating young viewers in a fun and accessible way makes it a perfect fit for the WildBrain Spark network and we look forward to bringing the English-language content to new preschool audiences.”  Benesse Corporation has been creating and publishing educational content for the past 30 years, with the aim of making early childhood learning fun for kids and easier for their parents and guardians. The content explores Shimajiro’s life as a preschooler and the lessons he needs to learn on a daily basis.  Like any toddler, he needs to acquire social skills such as empathy for others, playing in groups and helping around the house. However, the series also focuses heavily on teaching physical skills such as brushing teeth and washing hands. The show is a mixture of both live-action and animation creating a healthy balance between learning with Shimajiro and also learning real life issues. Benesse Corporation Global Business Development Division director Daisuke Tebayashi added, “Shimajiro has delighted kids and parents in Asia for years. We are excited to be launching him to the global English market. The last few months have shown all parents around the world the importance of learning at home, and this is something we are experts at. With its history of brand building, WildBrain Spark is the ideal match for our digital-first strategy, and we are excited to be making this move into new markets.”