BBC Studios signs new UK partners for Bluey and Hey Duggee

BBC Studios has signed UK licensing deals for Bluey and Hey Duggee for health and beauty products and wheeled toys, as Bluey is named the UK’s number one new toy property for 2021 by NPD.

New deals with H&A and MV Sports will see both properties expand in the UK and follow the recent announcement of agreements with Danilo, Amscan and Character Options for Bluey.

Mandy Thwaites, Director, Magazines & Consumer Products, UK Division at BBC Studios, says: “We’ve been extremely busy behind the scenes with Bluey and Hey Duggee and it’s great to see the interest both properties are generating. Personally, it was a real highlight to attend London Toy Fair and we had so many lovely conversations about the brands. It’s clear that our top dogs have great appeal across preschool audiences and people really connect to their warmth, inclusivity and humour.

“I’m excited to welcome H&A to our fabulous roster of partners and can’t wait for fans to see a great range of Bluey and Hey Duggee bath products on shelves. MV Sports has been a wonderful partner for Hey Duggee wheeled toys and are adding to that range as well as launching Bluey products in the UK. I’m also pleased to share details of further Character Options arts and crafts product lines for Bluey in addition to the deal we announced in December.

“Finally, I’m delighted to hear that Bluey has been confirmed as the number one new property in the UK. The buzz around the brand is phenomenal and it’s really capturing the hearts of the public – and we’re having so many fascinating conversations with potential and existing partners about what we can do to create innovative, sustainable and engaging products for fans of the show.”

Details of the new partnerships are as follows:

H&A, the UK’s number-one supplier of kids’ licensed toiletries, has signed an agreement with BBC Studios to produce health and beauty products including bubble baths, foams, bath bombs, shower gels, soaps and shampoos as well as bathtime accessories for both Bluey and Hey Duggee.

Livy Coare, Licensing and Marketing Manager at H&A, says: “H&A has a long-standing history with BBC Studios and we are thrilled to be working with them again to develop creative and innovative products across both Bluey and Hey Duggee. We are aligned with the BBC in our strategy to further develop sustainable products for kids’ bath time, and will be working closely together to execute exciting new product development.”

MV Sports, the UK’s leading designer of licensed wheeled toys, has agreed a deal to produce a range of Bluey branded bikes, trikes, scooters, ride-ons and accessories. MV Sports is an existing partner of BBC Studios; it already holds the license for Hey Duggee wheeled toys and has recently unveiled additions to the product range.

Phil Ratcliffe, Joint Managing Director, MV Sports, says: “We are delighted to be working on such a prestigious preschool property. Bluey already has a very strong pedigree of sales in other markets which we hope will be exceeded in the case of our UK range of wheeled toys.”

In addition to the recently announced deal for Bluey licensed Weebles toys, BBC Studios has agreed a licence for Character Options to produce activity-based arts and crafts products including colour-your-own backpacks; tabletop easels; craft sets; paint-up plaster figure sets; and scribblers. The new arts and crafts range is set to launch in A/W 2022.


BBC Studios bolsters Hey Duggee toy line up with MV Sports and new launches from HTI

MV Sports has become the latest name in toys to sign up with the popular BBC Studio preschool property, Hey Duggee in a new deal to produce a range of branded scooters, ride-ons, and bikes.

The first wave of product will launch at retail this autumn, joining the existing toy partner portfolio comprising HTI, who itself now prepares to release a new role play range for 2022. Both deals mark a shift of gear for the Hey Duggee property in the toy space.

HTI was brought on board earlier this year to create a range of licensed Hey Duggee outdoor toys, including The Bubble Flurry, Bubble Bucket, and Patio Chairs. Other Hey Duggee categories due to launch later this year from HTI include character shaped cases, which feature a medical set and stampers of key characters, as well as a range of musical instruments.

HTI will continue to invest in its Hey Duggee role play toy range, with more tooled products set to launch in 2022 and beyond.

Devised by Studio AKA, the multiple BAFTA and Emmy award-winning preschool series Hey Duggee was the most-watched kids’ show of the year on BBC iPlayer in 2020 with over 192 million requests. Year to date in 2021, Hey Duggee continues to be a top performing children’s show on BBC iPlayer and CBeebies each month.

The official Hey Duggee YouTube channel recently surpassed one million subscribers.

Julie Kekwick, senior licensing manager at BBC Studios said: “I am thrilled to have MV Sports and HTI  on board. Their products reflect Hey Duggee’s core brand essence of encouraging imaginative play and  fun outdoor adventure and I’m in no doubt fans will love them.

“The ever increasing popularity of the show is reflected in sales of licensed consumer products. NPD recently reported Hey Duggee toy sales doubling year on year in the first three months of 2021. This success can be attributed to our Master Toy partner Golden Bear seeing UK Trade sales grow by 97 per cent in 2020 and an order book showing an increase of 70 per cent so far in 2021.”

Phil Ratcliff, joint managing director at MV Sports, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with BBC  Studios on Hey Duggee! With an exceptional time slot on CBeebies, outstanding BBC iPlayer ratings and a history of strong toy sales, Hey Duggee is showing all the signs of becoming a classic.

“Loved by both parents and children alike, Hey Duggee has the perfect awareness profile for strong and sustained  wheeled and outdoor toy sales.”

Hey Duggee boasts an impressive global footprint in over 150 territories, while licensing agents and European toy partners have recently been secured for both France and Spain, with launches planned for later this year.

Acamar Films builds on UK licensing success for hit preschool IP Bing

The popular kids’ property and pre-school series, Bing is continuing to expand its UK licensing programme, building on the success the IP has seen across the toys and wider consumer product space to date.

Last year, demand for Bing products enjoyed an 11 per cent year on year increase, while this year, Acamar Films – the London-based studio behind the IP – has welcomed strategic new categories to the portfolio, dialing the UK licensing programme up to 25 licensees in total.

Not only will 2021 Bing move into bathtime and dental products with Solent, but also launch onto the children’s audio system, Tonies, as the platform prepares to deliver an audio storytelling experience for all Bingsters, slated for a 2022 release.

It follows a string year of sales growth across Bing’s master toy range with Golden Bear, a line that saw sales increase 115 per cent year on year in 2020. Golden Bear will be expanding the collection with the introduction of Nicky, a new character from the latest series, as well as siblings Coco and Charlie.

New lines for Autumn/Winter include a musical dancing Bing and a large play-set of Bing’s House. For the very first time, bath toys will be available for Bingsters with the new wind up Bathtime Boat set to make a splash at retail.

Meanwhile, 8th Wonder boasts a raft of new wooden toys and games to add to their Bing range, marking the Bing Skittles and Carry Along House as high performers, while MV Sports will be widening its retail footprint with additional listings of its wheeled and outdoor toys.

In publishing terms, Bing continues to perform well for HarperCollins, who witnessed a 62 per cent year on year net sales growth in 2020 and has nine new titles scheduled for release this year.

Juliet Matthews, publisher, media and brands, HarperCollins Children’s Books, said: “Thanks to strong support across retail and increased range space, Bing’s backlist continues to perform well alongside exciting new titles such as Bing and the Fire Engine and the timely vaccination picture book with stickers, Doctor Bing. Our single sound novelty title The Rainybow Song is a stand out title, selling 1k copies consistently every week.”

Softlines have also expanded across daywear and outerwear from licensees Fashion UK and William Lamb. There will be a specific growth in girlswear to match the boyswear offering and new lines include dresses, sweatshirts, joggers, trainers and rucksacks.

“We are excited to see the growth of Bing across our girlswear, boys and unisex lines,” said Hannah Miles, joint managing director at Fashion UK. “The trend guide collections bring fresh opportunities to tailor creative to each retailer and offer gorgeous designs to our consumers and their Bingsters.”

Aykroyds and TDP continue to build their business year-on-year and Smiffys has introduced an additional girls’ dress up line to their range with Sula, which launched exclusively with Tu at Argos/Sainsburys ahead of World Book Day 2021.

Continuing the focus on Acamar Films’ direct-to-consumer relationships, e-commerce hub The Bing Store will be expanding its product offering further in 2021.

Louise Simmonds, head of UK licensing and merchandising at Acamar Films, said: “It is wonderful to see steady growth across our consumer product programme for 2021 and the support from our partners during such tough times.

“Bing’s timeless and relatable core values, alongside the growing audience engagement we are seeing across our content, digital and social platforms, provides a reliable and trusted foundation for the year ahead.”

Acamar Films sees ‘huge growth for Bing toy sales’ as MV Sports and 8th Wonder join the roster

Acamar Films’ hit pre-school series Bing has seen toy sales achieve huge growth at UK retail over the past year, with the NPD Group listing it within the top ten fastest growing toy licenses for the period of January to June 2020. The surge follows the launch the Golden Bear master toy line in 2019.

Acamar Films is confident that the trend for toys will continue to prove the property as popular at retail as it is on the screen, as two new toy licensees in 8th WOnder and MV Sports launch their ranges this year.

Golden Bear’s initial toy line for Autumn/Winter 2019 was an instant success with pre-schoolers with the award-winning soft toys, figurines and wooden puzzle proving to be the company’s fastest-selling range in years. Last year’s success has resulted in Golden Bear doubling their number of lines, while key retailers have doubled their listings going into Autumn/Winter 2020.

With innovative new lines including a Bing Lights and Sounds Train, new mini play-sets, new plush, figurines and role play items, Golden Bear and Bing look well set for further growth in the second half of 2020.

Acamar Films continues to build out its toy programme with the addition of two new licensees: 8th Wonder for wooden toys and MV Sports for wheeled toys. These new categories further strengthen Bing’s offering at retail.

8th Wonder’s first range launched in Spring/Summer 2020 with 11 lines including games, puzzles, shape sorters and pull-along stacking toys. A soft launch with Very and Next proved very positive, while all three lines included in Aldi’s special buy toy event in March sold out. Expanding again for Autumn/Winter, lines will be available from Amazon, Asda, Argos, Very, Aldi and B&M.

MV Sports, the UK’s leading designer and supplier of wheeled and outdoor toys, are set to launch with three lines in Autumn/Winter 2020. Their colourful Bing Balance Bike, Tri Scooter and 12’ Bike will be available from B&M, Very and Aldi.

Louise Simmonds, head of UK licensing and merchandising at Acamar Films, said: “We are thrilled with the success of Golden Bear’s fabulous toy range, which reflects the ever-growing demand for all things Bing, and are very excited about their new range which we are sure will be another huge hit.

“We are also delighted to welcome our new partners 8th Wonder and MV Sports, allowing us to offer an ever-expanding variety of toys which capture the essence and values of Bing and give Bingsters fun new ways to engage.”

Louise Tyrer, sales director at 8th Wonder, added: “We are greatly encouraged by the initial success of our new range of innovative wooden Bing toys and the overwhelming response from retailers and customers alike. We are set to welcome additional key retailers on board throughout Autumn/Winter 2020 and early indications for next year are showing even further growth.”

Phil Ratcliffe, sales and marketing director at MV Sports, said: “Were excited to include Bing in our preschool portfolio. As the UK’s leading supplier of wheeled and outdoor toys we recognise that Bing’s affinity with play, the outdoors and nature is a great fit for our product.

“MV Sports see Bing going from strength to strength in the UK and are delighted to be on this journey with Acamar Films.”