9 Story to walk Clifford around the world

The company has been appointed as the global distributor for Scholastic Entertainment's revamped Clifford The Big Red Dog series.
Copied from Kidscreen - clifford-scholastic

Canada’s 9 Story Distribution International has been appointed as the global distributor for Scholastic Entertainment’s revamped Clifford The Big Red Dog series.

The reimagined animated preschool series based on the bestselling children’s book series by Norman Bridwell will be introduced to the global marketplace at MIPCOM this weekend prior to its fall 2019 premiere in the U.S. on PBS KIDS and Amazon Prime Video.

Then from January 2020, the first 13 episodes of the 39 x 22-minute series will be available for broadcast outside the U.S.

To support the series, 9 Story is also serving as the property’s global licensing and merchandising agent, excluding the U.S. which will be handled by Scholastic. Consumer products will begin rolling out next year.

Produced by Scholastic Entertainment with pre-production by Brooklyn, New York-based 100 Chickens (Peg + Cat) and animation by 9 Story’s Brown Bag Films in Toronto, Clifford The Big Red Dog will see the return of the iconic larger-than-life dog and his best friend Emily Elizabeth.

With a curriculum focused on imaginative play, early literacy, and social-emotional skills, the new version will feature a bigger world with new characters, the realization of Emily as a more modern, independent female character, more humor, and an original song in every episode. Clifford and Emily will also speak to each other for the first time and more adult characters will be involved in the storylines.

In the lead-up to the premiere, the IP’s publishing program will launch three new Clifford books in the U.S. illustrated in the same style as the new TV series. First off the presses will be a title about swimming in May, followed by a back-to-school book in July. A third title, Welcome to Birdwell Island, will roll out with the TV premiere and introduce readers to the full cast and their world. More titles inspired by the reboot will follow, including an updated edition of the original Clifford book.

“Unlike the first show this is going to be a really strategic global roll out. We have priority markets for broadcasters where we obviously have publishing homes. And then we will build merchandising programs around that,” says Caitlin Friedman, Scholastic Entertainment VP and GM, and co-executive producer on the reboot.

“We’re reintroducing Clifford to markets that may not remember him like Germany where he used to be strong. Then we want him in markets that aren’t as familiar with the brand like India. Some markets are also maybe more familiar with the books rather than the show.”

While the global presence of the original series is smaller today than it was when the IP sold into more than 100 territories worldwide and aired for five to 10 years in numerous markets, the brand continues to resonate.

“The older series still airs on PBS KIDS and its 24-hour service, so Clifford hasn’t gone away domestically. Luckily, with the publishing he’s never gone away,” says Friedman. (To date, more than 133 million copies of books in the Clifford series have been sold worldwide in 16 different languages.)

As the all-new Clifford prepares for his MIPCOM debut, plans are also in the works for a hybrid live-action movie with Paramount Pictures.

“It’s very much its own world and story and will be for families, so it’s not for preschoolers specifically. For us, it’s really about expanding the global reach for Clifford,” says Friedman.

From Kidscreen