Studio 100’s Hans Bourlon Talks Brand-Building


Hans Bourlon, CEO and co-founder of Studio 100, discussed the company’s 360-degree approach to building brands in his TV Kids Festival keynote today.

You can watch Bourlon’s keynote conversation with TV Kids’ Kristin Brzoznowski in its entirety here. Over the last several years, gains at the company have included strong theatrical releases such as Maya the Bee and Vic the Viking movies, expansion of its series slate and the hit performance of the 100% Wolf franchise.

The company benefits from a portfolio of animation studios, including Flying Bark Productions in Australia, Studio Isar Animation in Germany, Little Airplane Productions in the U.S. and Studio 100 Animation in France. “All those studios can provide excellent quality series and movies,” Bourlon said. “We are successfully selling them through Studio 100 Media and Studio 100 Film.”

Studio 100 also has an extensive portfolio of theme parks, a business that was hit hard amid Covid-19. “We invested a lot of money in the leisure business over the last ten years,” Bourlon said. “More than 3.5 million people every year visit our theme parks. In Poland, we’re creating two new theme parks now. We’re looking at some other territories. All are [connected to] our television characters. We are convinced that Covid will be something that passes one day. That’s why we are still investing and trying to expand and grow in this sector. Our group is unique in that we combine the production of live-action and animated series with the leisure business like theater shows and theme parks.”

On trends in the L&M business, Bourlon said, “There are more direct-to-consumer models and strong e-commerce coming up. Covid still limits the brick-and-mortar retail, and, of course, the second challenge is the change in consumer behaviors. We are working on that every day. But in general, we’ve seen a positive development during the last years in regard to regional classics like Maya the Bee and Heidi. There’s a lot of nostalgia around those characters. Parents like to share those emotions with their children. Even grandparents. This guarantees a reliable business. There’s also a new focus on fashion and apparel for those classic brands. And we are focusing a lot on sustainability and the environment. For example, for Maya, we have a new eco-trend style guide to work on with our licensees. This reflects the need in licensing for sustainable product development.” Studio 100 has also expanded its third-party licensing business, representing such properties as Sesame Street and Beyblade.

The company’s distribution business remained robust amid the pandemic, Bourlon said. AVOD is emerging, but we are “still testing the water rather than [it being] a significant part of our business,” he said. SVOD platforms are providing an “opportunity to tell different stories that might not find their way to TV screens.”

Looking ahead, Bourlon says he’s focused on the continued expansion of the theme parks and the company’s IP slate, both owned and co-produced. Service work for the animation studios is also a priority.