Sean Gorman, president of Cloudco Entertainment, talks to TV Kids about the new preschool series Tinpo.
Home to venerable brands such as Care Bears, Madballs and Holly Hobbie, Cloudco Entertainment has a new IP in its stable: Tinpo. Originally commissioned by the U.K.’s CBeebies, the preschool show is a partnership between Cloudco Entertainment, Japan’s Dentsu and OLM, produced in association with L.A.-based Sprite Entertainment.
The partnership for the property came about from an introductory meeting Cloudco had many years ago with the head of OLM, Toshiaki Okuno, while he was in town from Japan. “At that first meeting, we shared many development projects, but for certain Mr. Okuno gravitated toward Tinpo,” says Sean Gorman, president of Cloudco. “His interest led to a long courtship, which in turn resulted in a fantastic marriage as Okuno-san shared the project with Dentsu in Japan. Soon after that, all three entities—OLM/Sprite, Dentsu, Inc. and Cloudco Entertainment—partnered on the TV series production of 78 seven-minute episodes.”
The show follows Tinpo and his construction team, who are the outside-the-box problem solvers for the citizens of Tinpotown. With a lot of trial and error, they ask “What if…?” until the job is done.
“The world of Tinpo is inherently appealing and fun, with a proprietary look that is at once accessible and relatable even as everything—characters, vehicles, backgrounds, color saturation—still has a healthy dollop of fantasy,” Gorman says.
“There are some really important—and in combination, I think, unique—attributes to the show,” he continues. “Tinpo and his friends are creative engineers and problem solvers for their world, and are treated and act a bit like superheroes who are called in to save the day. But what makes all of that exceptional is that Tinpo and his team choose to solve these problems in ways that prioritize creativity and fun over the bare-bones practicality and efficiency we adult humans put first. In fact, Tinpo loves to try many possible ideas; embracing ‘trial and error’ as a positive part of a process to achieve the best—and in this case, the most fun and often least predictable—solution.”
The series debuted on CBeebies to much success, and Cloudco has expanded its relationship with the BBC by extending the iPlayer catch-up rights and box-set rights to provide even more exposure for Tinpo in the U.K. The show is also set for Japan on TV Tokyo this summer, Nick/Noggin in Latin America, South Korea and China later this year. It has already debuted in Canada on TVO and in Finland on YLE, while the U.S. distribution strategy is taking shape.
Regarding consumer products, Gorman says that “all the major toycos are interested, and we have several international licensing agents appointed, with the U.K.’s The Point.1888 already off the races in securing a publishing deal off of the show’s strong start on CBeebies.”
While the global COVID-19 pandemic, and resulting production shutdowns, hasn’t been easy for any media business, Gorman says he’s proud of what the company has been able to accomplish during this time. “Kudos and appreciation to our entire team at Cloudco for weathering COVID-19 and also for pivoting to make certain that we thrive. While a couple of our live-action series are awaiting shooting permits, we have been busy pushing new projects through development, including obtaining major talent attachments on some prime-time animated and live-action series. We’ve also been producing and launching new original series such as the animated Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese, which debuted on Gulli as the number-one-rated kids’ and number-one-rated teen series in France. And on the consumer-products and marketing front, we have been beyond busy executing our strategies to support the fall ’20 debut of an all-new Care Bears toy line from Basic Fun!, closed multiple partnership deals for a forthcoming relaunch of our classic Madballs brand, and signed a ton of retail, co-branding and promotional partnerships for 2021 for Care Bears, Holly Hobbie, Madballs and other brands.”
With regard to what he’s hearing from buyers, Gorman says that everyone wants “exceptional animated comedy that works internationally but still feels sharp and original via a singular creative voice.
“The legitimate COVID-19 shooting challenges aside, YA and live-action shows with a good original creative POV and the potential to attract co-viewership feel more sought-after than ever,” he adds.
Looking ahead, Cloudco’s focus will be “delivering on the promise of great creative, be it via animated or live-action TV series, our music deal with Warner Music or best-in-class consumer-product licensees. In terms of expansion, we are about to announce an important YouTube/AVOD initiative, and I do see us placing a bit more energy into both prime-time animated projects and developing (and shooting permits aside, producing!) an increased number of live-action projects.”