Iginio Straffi, the founder and CEO of Rainbow, reflects on the milestones of the company’s last 25 years and provides a look at what’s coming up.
Since its founding in 1995, Rainbow has consistently aimed to bring to the marketplace entertaining shows for kids that are marked by creativity and their ability to accompany young viewers as they grow. Its girl-skewed Winx Club has proven its enduring appeal, with more than 15 years of success, and that is but one example of the company’s brand-building prowess.
TV KIDS: What have been some of the milestones that Rainbow has achieved since its launch?
STRAFFI: Rainbow started out just 25 years ago. A small production company in central Italy, we made our way to success through the dedicated and continuous production of properties promoting edutainment, becoming one of the world’s leading global production companies.
Our very first project was Tommy & Oscar, followed by the debut of the Winx Club, a brand for girls that has turned into a classic and costume phenomenon, now rolling out on the world market for more than 15 years.
Rainbow’s steady growth and diversification strategy allowed us to create successful animated properties for TV such as Monster Allergy, Huntik, PopPixie, Mia and me and Regal Academy and to expand into live action with Maggie & Bianca Fashion Friends and Club 57. Currently, we are riding a huge wave of success with our latest big brand 44 Cats, an animated show that keeps rising in TV ratings and licensing among preschool and bridge audiences.
Meanwhile, we have become a 360-degree entertainment group thanks to strong acquisitions, such as the one of the Italian Iven Group, mother company of Colorado Film, to manage talent and produce movies for TV and cinema, and the Canadian leading animation studio Bardel Entertainment, which has enhanced our animated production and our services for third parties.
Rainbow has been among the first European studios to collaborate with Netflix. We have partnered in the production of our original animated show World of Winx, and we are currently focused on the upcoming launch of the live-action Fate series from the Winx Club saga, an important collaboration that marks a big breakthrough for Winx Club. Our partnership with SVOD leader Netflix is a great opportunity to place our content and expand our reach, targeting new audiences.
Today, Rainbow can reach its international audience in multiple ways compared to the past, and our work has been highly recognized, as with the World Screen Kids Trendsetter Award in 2019, confirming our talent to give form to original content that stands out, delivers and [caters] to the tastes of audiences that continually change over time.
We are aware of our ability to replicate successes and create new ones in different areas, and this is our strong point. Looking at the future, we are working on two important new productions that will be launched in 2021, and so much more is to come. We are now just at the beginning of 25 more years of expansion.
TV KIDS: How is Rainbow positioned today?
STRAFFI: Rainbow creates, produces and distributes its content and licenses it across the world, managing the steps of each process. We are in a unique position, which has allowed us to affirm our part in the roster of world-leading studios thanks to the high quality of our productions. This synergy is our strength, and the numbers confirm it. Our content is broadcast in more than 100 countries, and we rank among the top 15 global licensors.
TV KIDS: What are the signature brands Rainbow is touting as it turns 25?
STRAFFI: We are working nonstop to innovate our offer, especially during the years of huge transition to the digital fruition of content. Winx Club is undoubtedly a brand that keeps surprising us with its immense potential and continuity, after 16 years of success, and is now considered a classic for the female target. We keep investing in the Winx Club saga with new TV series, new content, new live shows and a Netflix Original series, which will soon be available.
Another flagship brand of ours currently standing out in the market is 44 Cats, an international hit airing on all major TV broadcasters around the world from LatAm to China via Europe and with excellent ratings. We are launching season two of the show and will continue to build upon this property with great enthusiasm.
We are also looking ahead with two new CGI-animated productions to be released in 2021 and 2022. We are engaged in the development of Summer & Todd: Happy Farmers and Pinocchio and Friends, both currently in production. Summer & Todd is a 3D CGI series aimed at the preschool target that will bring to the forefront the cheerful life of the farm with all its industrious activities. The ambitious Pinocchio and Friends is a bridge-targeted property that will plunge children into the fantabulous world of Pinocchio, which I re-created in a modern and redefined design. The show will be co-produced by RAI Ragazzi, confirming the prestigious partnership that has been going on for over 20 years now. RAI is a very important partner for us, always believing in the potential of our properties and taking part in the production of successful milestones. We are very excited to launch our next properties and more original projects in the next couple of years.
TV KIDS: After 25 years in the industry, what is Rainbow most proud of having accomplished?
STRAFFI: We have maintained our creative identity, and we are very proud of it. Indeed, we expanded from animation to live action and cinema. Whether it is Winx Club, 44 Cats, Maggie & Bianca or a Colorado Film production, Rainbow’s content has a distinctive style, cultural approach and values. We are Rainbow, and in 25 years we have shown that we know how to create very successful IPs and to adapt to changes in the entertainment industry.