Dimitri Papanikas, sales executive at Mondo TV Iberoamerica, talks to TV Kids about the live-action franchise Heidi, Bienvenida.
Heidi, Bienvenida a Casa arrived on the kids’ live-action scene with a splash. The series, which Mondo TV Iberoamerica co-produced with Alianzas Producciones, is a reinterpretation of the classic children’s novel by Johanna Spyri. It also marks Mondo TV Iberoamerica’s first foray into live-action production. “We are very happy to work with Alianzas Producciones on this production,” Dimitri Papanikas, sales executive at Mondo TV Iberoamerica, tells TV Kids. “It’s a very, very important release for us.”
Penned by screenwriter Marcela Citterio, who is known for her work on shows such as Patito Feo, Chica Vampiro and I Am Frankie, the series puts a modern spin on Spyri’s classic novel from the 1880s, combining comedy and music to tell the story of a young country girl who moves to the city. Heidi, Bienvenida a Casa launched on Nickelodeon in Latin America in March 2017 and has been rolling out in the rest of the world. The company has been working on securing free-TV deals for the show across the globe.
In Latin America, the series also aired on A+ in Mexico, TV Azteca’s new channel, as well as in Bolivia, Costa Rica and El Salvador. The show has also been broadcast in Russia on CTC Love and in Israel on yes KidZ. Other key territories in EMEA will follow in early 2018. “We are very happy that the series has already been so successful,” Papanikas says of the deals closed thus far.
Mondo TV Iberoamerica has also made headway on the licensing side. Several agents have been announced in the Americas, and the program is already underway in both Latin America and Italy. Mondo TV Iberoamerica secured a publishing agreement with Panini, which will produce a sticker album, collectibles, trading cards and more in Europe and Latin America, using the Heidi, Bienvenida brand and characters. The products are expected to roll out at retail this year.
Another key publishing agreement was signed with Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, which will launch more than ten titles inspired by the comedy drama for teens. The books will be published in Spanish for the Latin American market, where they will be released in Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. The first titles are slated to hit retail this month.
Filming on season two, titled Heidi, Bienvenida al Show, recently wrapped. This means Mondo TV is “one step closer to premiering the second season on TV,” Papanikas says. Heidi, Bienvenida al Show will feature more humor, and according to Papanikas, “the music component will be even more important than it was in the first season, as Heidi will join a band. It will be interesting to see how Heidi balances being in the band and having new friends.” There are even plans for a third installment of the series.
Looking ahead, Mondo TV Iberoamerica is keen to keep working in both the live-action and animation categories. The co-production model will continue to be important for the company moving forward. Papanikas says, “We would like to improve our relationships with buyers and find new clients. We are also looking to improve our relationships with OTT platforms.” In addition, Mondo TV Iberoamerica will be keeping an eye on Mexico and Brazil, which Papanikas calls “critical markets in the industry.”