After premiering in 2006, Montreal-based Echo Media’s Toopy and Binoo has become a rage in the Canadian market.
The series has become one of the most popular pre-school properties in the country with consistent top-10 placement on Corus-owned Treehouse, Télé-Québec and Société Radio-Canada while also selling more than 800,000 books and generating US$6 million in live show gross revenues.
As a follow-up, production is underway on Echo’s newest 2D-animated pre-school series Hello Charlie.
The Canadian production company is also benefiting by working with London-based Kids Cave Entertainment on the series, its first UK co-production partner.
“We know the Canadian market really well, but having a co-producer from the UK really opens up the door for us. Having experienced people like [co-founder Andrew Baker] and Kids Cave’s entire in-house animation facility involved from the beginning, brings a different perspective in terms of how we create the content instead of servicing it out,” says Sarah Chatelain, senior brand director at Echo.
Aimed at children between three to six-year-olds, the 65 x seven-minute series follows the underwater adventures of a young whale, her family and pet sea urchin, Sushi.
With guidance from educational consultant Carl Corter, the series helps kids identify, express and manage their emotions, learn from mistakes, understand cultural and gender diversity, and engage in exploratory play.
Montréal-based author Marie-Sissi Labrèche co-created the series with director/animator Didier Loubat and originally developed the character of Charlie for her son’s fictional bedtime stories.
For the Canadian market, TFO, TVO, Knowledge Network and Radio-Canada have already signed on as have investors including the Canadian Media Fund and the Bell Fund.