Eroulla Constantine, director of sales and distribution at Acamar Films, talks to TV Kids about the beloved property Bing and the launch of the company’s “Staying at Home Together” initiative.
Early last month, Acamar Films made moves to support preschoolers and grown-ups who are at home amid the global health crisis with the launch of the “Staying at Home Together” initiative across its social media channels and websites in key territories such as the U.K., Italy, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands—with new games and activities featuring the beloved property Bing.
“We want to help families keep their young children engaged and entertained, and it’s been a real success, both with our audience and our partners,” says Constantine. “Our in-house production and creative teams have been able to work quickly to develop and provide our partners with new branded video content and digital assets to use on their own platforms and channels. Broadcasters, retailers and experiential partners in particular have been delighted and grateful for the quick-turnaround support, which enables them to keep close to their own customers.”
Bing has been a flagship for Acamar, winning awards and winning over fans all around the world. “At Acamar Films, we invest considerable time and resources into carefully crafting each and every episode of Bing—always with our audience at the front of our minds,” says Constantine. “Our stories are meaningful, timeless, authentic and globally relatable; we specially evaluated and developed locations and characters that would be identifiable to children everywhere and we see evidence on a daily basis that preschool children around the world are responding to Bing with deep levels of emotion and engagement. We often receive messages from parents writing in to tell us that Bing has helped their child to potty train, overcome their fears or navigate a crucial period in their development. To our audience, Bing is their friend, sharing the highs and lows of preschool life together. Combined with world-class animation, and a multiplatform distribution strategy, the series is proving to be a hit across the globe.”
Constantine says that above all, the market is looking for quality content, and great animation for preschoolers is in high demand. “If a show can address the audience’s needs while moving and delighting them, it fulfils the two most important criteria for broadcasters right out of the gate,” she adds. These efforts have been met with a number of industry accolades, with Bing having won an International Emmy for best preschool program, a Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for best writing in a children’s program and a BAFTA nomination for best children’s program.
“We’ve also noticed that broadcasters are placing increasing importance on their digital catch-up and free VOD platforms,” Constantine says. “Clearly, children are consuming huge amounts of content digitally, at their convenience, and broadcasters need to be able to reach their audience across as many platforms as possible. This shift in content consumption is something we’re keenly aware of and is the motivation behind our own multiplatform approach to content distribution. We want to make sure that Bing can be enjoyed anytime and anywhere—supporting preschoolers and their grown-ups wherever they may be.”
Bing is a 360-degree brand in many markets, with multiple consumer touchpoints ranging from in-flight and theatrical entertainment to digital and physical products to partnerships, live events and location-based attractions. The property’s EMEA and Australia master toy partner, Golden Bear, launched a new Bing toy line in fall/winter 2019 across a number of key markets. “The range was an instant and resounding hit with preschoolers, selling out for Christmas,” Constantine adds.
“This year, Bing was the only licensed character to be selected as a title for World Book Day in the U.K.,” she continues. “It was a huge success for master publisher HarperCollins, with Bing reaching number three in the overall book charts.”
The brand has also been featured at theme parks across key European markets. Bing at the Cinema, a special theatrical presentation that combines favorite episodes with exclusive interactive content, was followed up with the Bing’s Christmas event last winter. “We’re in the process of rolling out both around the world,” Constantine says.
There are a number of Bing experiences offered digitally via the Bing: Watch, Play, Learn App—which is available in the U.K. and soon to launch elsewhere—social channels and a network of international YouTube channels. “We’re seeing huge growth in our digital audience and look forward to building on this further,” says Constantine.
Bing was just named Property of the Year at the Bologna Licensing Awards and was recently nominated for Best Brand (Animated Entertainment/Character) at the Licensing International Excellence Awards, with winners set to be revealed in August.
“There is much more to come for the remainder of this year and beyond to 2021 and 2022,” Constantine says. “It’s a very exciting time for Bing!”