TOMY named master toy partner for Netflix’s popular pre-school series BUDDI

TOMY International has been named the master toy partner for the popular Netflix pre-school series, BUDDI. The launch will arrive courtesy of a partnership between the toy maker and Unanico and Raydar Media.

BUDDI is an animated series aimed at kids aged four years old and under that looks to deliver emotional intelligence through the lens of imagination and non-verbal cues. It follows the adventures of five friends, each bright and colourful, as they experience the simplest moments of life for the first time.

Currently with two seasons available on Netflix, more seasons are planned as the show opens to other linear, SVOD and AVOD platforms around the world. Furthermore, BUDDI was nominated for a 2020 Annie Award in the TV/Media Preschool category for the “Snow” episode.

“We’re thrilled to be working on this new opportunity with Unanico and Raydar Media,” said TOMY’s director of global brands, Morgan Weyl.

“BUDDI meets the trends that are impacting the toy market right now, from education, music, zen-sational themes, and socially conscious play. With the highly recognizable characters that have captured audiences around the world, these unique and thoughtfully designed characters will stand out on shelf.”

The core values of BUDDI fit right in line with TOMY’s portfolio of brands. TOMY has a longstanding history of creating toys that are focused on toddler development through play, which include both the Lamaze and Toomies lines.

Building a world of toys with unique character identities that also promote sensory discovery, emotional intelligence, along with being fun, playable and developmentally appropriate, is a hallmark for the company.

For BUDDI, TOMY will introduce a line of innovative toys for toddlers focused on bringing the unique DNA of the brand, along with the emotional and developmental aspects of BUDDI’s characters to markets around the world.

Paul Laikin, Unanico’s managing director and producer of Buddi said: “We are delighted to be working with the team at Tomy, a company that really understands the values of Buddi, and has the deep creative and commercial experience necessary to bring toys to Buddi’s young fans around the world.”

Netflix original pre-school series Buddi is returning for a second season this autumn

Buddi, the Netflix original animated series for early pre-schoolers, is returning for a second season this autumn with industry veteran, Keith Chapman, once again taking the helm alongside Jason Jameson from Unanico Studios.

Buddi is a unique pre-school series which has garnered support and unprecedented feedback from parents who’ve said its on-screen calming effects helps to ease anxious youngsters and those with learning disabilities.

The feedback drove Chapman and Jameson to focus on night-time episodes in the new series, Star and Glowpods, that parents could air for their children ahead of bed time, which is the time when most youngsters have a fear of being in their own bed, have night terrors or need general calming.

Season two consists of eight new episodes in which the five Buddi friends interact with one another working as teams to overcome hurdles and gain confidence as they explore their new-found lands in the world of Buddi. Three new lands include Snowland and Buddi Sands and Buddi stream, which encourage a sense of exploration and curiosity in the young audience.

Chapman said: “There is something very special about Buddi and I’m delighted to be Executive Producer on the second series. What we set out to achieve in delivering a series for families and their children with content that enriches their young minds has exceeded our expectations.

“The first-hand feedback from series one that Buddi soothes little ones who don’t settle easily, but also has episodes which stimulate them with immersive sights, sounds and innovative use of ‘Buddi lands’ has been fantastic. Series two sees us take a further step forward by embracing the positives and delivering even more of that special Buddi magic for tiny minds.”

Additionally, a ten-minute seasonal special sees the Buddi clan enjoying the delights of snow and meet a new [guest] character friend. Drawn on inspiration from the northern lights in Scandinavia, the visual special is a Buddi adventure exploring the starry night sky and snow-covered mountains.

Buddi is a series like no other that gives parents a first content platform for their toddlers to engage with visually – non-dialogue but with familiar sounds such as coo’s and giggles, and more of a focus on music in season two, alongside the bright visual character shapes of the animation, for which it has become renowned.

Raydar Media teases new partners for pre-school hit Buddi as season two lands on Netflix

Raydar Media, the rights holder and licensing management business for the early pre-school property, Buddi, is poised to reveal a slate of new consumer product partners throughout this year’s Festival of Licensing, as the series prepares to return to Netflix for season two this month.

Season two of Buddi sees PAW Patrol creator, Keith Chapman return to the early pre-school scene and join forces with Unanico Studios and series creator, Jason Jameson, as the trio continue to develop the series and its focus on emotional intelligence in younger years children. As well as exploring feelings throughout each episode, the second season will also feature special night-time episodes, as well as explore new lands.

Buddi is a non-dialogue show in which the characters express themselves with giggles and coos, giving the show universal appeal, and allowing its pre-school audience to apply their own versions of the character’s conversations to the show by using their imaginations.

It’s billed as an inclusive show with diverse character shapes and vibrant colours that uses teamwork and positivity to help the Buddis overcome problems as they interact with one another. Season two of the show will launch worldwide on Netflix from September 11th, bringing eight new episodes to Buddi fans.

The look and style of Buddi takes inspiration from the landscapes and nature of Scandinavia, taken from creator Jason Jameson’s own time spent in Finland. As a result, the Buddis all have secret Finnish names.

Raydar Media is currently managing the rights to Buddi in collaboration with Unanico, Keith Chapman, GCI Film, FroG-Land Productions, Shanghai Motion Magic, and Spider Eye Studios. Raydar has stated that it is Buddi’s ownership of its early pre-school credentials, ‘combined with its stunning and unique visual style,’ that has triggered the strong reaction from broadcasters and consumer products partners.

Raydar is now preparing to announce a sweep of partnerships for the pre-school property in the follow up to MIP Junior and this year’s Festival of Licensing.

Unanico Group to bolster content development, production and licensing under new CEO Leanne Preston

The international independent media company, Unanico Group is looking to bolster its content development, production and global partnership and licensing strategies with the appointment of a new Producer and CEO in the form of Leanne Preston.

The former Nickelodeon executive is set to head up the award-winning team and bring her over 14 years of animation experience to the role as Unanico continues on its mission to expand across the US.

During her time at Nickelodeon, Preston worked on the BAFTA-nominated House of Anubis, before moving into her role as head of development at Red Kits Animation. It was there that she spearheaded the development of the award-winning DreamWorks Classics property George of the Jungle, now airing in over 125 countries, and Ella Bella Bingo, recently sold to over 25 countries.

Prior to joining Unanico, Preston has served as head of production development, animation for Citizen Skull Productions, working on Nickelodeon’s LEGO City Adventures, Youku and international pre-school series Emmy & GooRoo, and Tencent hit Mini Mind Warriors.

Preston also had a stint as director of animation development for production at Gaumont Animation US.

Founded in 2009 by producer Paul Laikin and creative director Jason Jameson, Unanico Group is dedicated to the creation of original 2D, 3D and CGI animation, with a focus on developing and producing in-house IPs, as well as co-developing and co-producing animated IPs from selected partners.

Unanico Group creates long-form series, films, shorts, illustrated books, casual games, apps, interactive experiences, AR, VR, MR and licensed merchandise. Previous projects include: One Night In Hell, an award-winning animated short film in collaboration with Queen’s guitarist Brian May, the All Dead, All Dead Queen music video (3M+ views on YouTube), and the animation of all three seasons of CBeebies four-time BAFTA-nominated series, Apple Tree House.

Preston is joining Unanico Group following the release of its pre-school series Buddi in March of 2020. Buddi is streaming worldwide as a Netflix Original Series, with executive producer Keith Chapman. Unanico Group is currently in development of multiple other original series and feature films and has industry partnerships in Japan and in China, where the company has successfully distributed Apple Tree House and Koala Brothers to platforms such as Tencent Video, Mango TV and Jetson Huashi and produced Buddi with Motion Magic of Shanghai Media Group.

“Unanico Group is thrilled to welcome Preston to the team, and excited for her collaboration and leadership on their upcoming development slate and productions, including exciting new IPs and music partnerships,” read a statement from the firm.

“Unanico is dedicated to creating quality animation and forming strategic partnerships, with several new projects underway with major companies leading the IP. We’re excited for the upcoming developments from Preston and her team.”

Keith Chapman’s new Netflix pre-school series Buddi brings in licensing big guns

Keith Chapman – the much-loved name behind the likes of PAW Patrol and Bob the Builder, has turned his attention to the early pre-school audience, having joined forces with Unanico Studios and creator, Jason Jameson to develop a new animated pre-school series for Netflix.

Called Buddi, the show is aimed at the early pre-school audience. It will launch on Netflix worldwide on March 20 this year, delivering youngsters a sensory world of imagination and exploration.

Raydar Media, led by managing director Alison Rayson, is managing all rights to Buddi in collaboration with Unanico, Keith Chapman, GCI Film, FroG-Land Productions, Shanghai Motion Magic, and Spider Eye Studios. 

Raydar believes the show’s stunning visual style, coupled with it being non-verbal and early pre-school sets it completely apart from other pre-school series.

A consumer products programme – managed by broadcast licensing expert Valerie Fry – is already in the early stages of development and will be introduced to potential licensees over the coming months; the expectation is that it will deliver a vibrant range of lines where there is currently a gap in the younger preschool market.

Buddi features five friends or Buddis, called Iso, Cini, Vihi, Puna, and Kelta, each distinctively bright and colourful in their own way. The Buddis rejoice in their differences as friends, and explore the nuances of their natural world, caring for their environment as they go along. Together, they discover the wonder of snow, sand, rainbows and mud-fights, and meet many fascinating creatures that test their senses and inhabit the landscape of their home, Buddi Kotti.

Buddi aims to emphasise emotional intelligence and feelings through the imaginative use of music and sound. The melodies of Buddi showcase homemade instruments, so kids can play along to their favourite song. The Buddis express themselves with giggles, squeaks, and coos, which transcend nationalities and cultures, allowing the characters to connect instantly with everyone.