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Press Releases

Press releases 2016

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Speed Dating in Finnish: WDR mediagroup sells “Autumn Tingles” to Northern Europe

Copyrights: WDR

The WDR-format “Autumn Tingles” makes the leap into Finnish television. In the run-up to the international trade fair MIPCOM, WDR mediagroup (WDRmg) has sold the rights to a remake in the local language to the Finnish production company Kaiho Republic, which will realise the series for the public broadcaster Yle. Six 25-minute episodes are planned for the series. For WDRmg, this contract is a success in international format distribution, a field that is currently being actively promoted by the Cologne corporation.

In the original version of “Autumn Tingles”, a group of seniors takes part in a speed dating event. The special twist: each actor knows only his/her character’s biography – there is no script, there are no prescribed dialogues and no stage direction. The spontaneous interaction between professional actors creates entertaining and bizarre situations, but also moments that inspire viewers to pause and reflect. In Germany, “Autumn Tingles” has been distinguished with several accolades, including the renowned Grimme Award. The readily adaptable format was shown across the ARD broadcasting network as a feature film version and as a six-part series.

Andrea Zuska, Chief Content Officer at WDRmg: “‘Autumn Tingles’ has a strong appeal in European countries, thanks to its original underlying concept and the comparatively low production expenses required. The open approach allows for diverse programme placement and adaptability under various budget requirements.”

Liisa Penttilä-Asikainen, Producer at Kaiho Republic: “We are absolutely delighted to do a Finnish version of ‘Autumn Tingles’ that cherishes experience, longing and love. The series brings up both humorous and important issues that wide audiences can relate to.”

Jarmo Lampela, Head of Drama at Yle: “Yle Drama is excited by the opportunity to see such highly experienced and charismatic actors, the most beloved ones of their generation, in this challenging and character-driven comedy.”

Alongside “Autumn Tingles”, the WDRmg format catalogue also contains the prime time family show “The Human Quiz”, that enjoys great success in Germany, as well as the ensemble comedy “The Unlikely Events in the Life Of…” and the drama series “Moral Springs.” Additionally, the company offers various attractive programming rights for international use and recruits partners for the (co-)production of new, innovative children’s programmes.

Press release: "Autumn Tingles" in Finland (PDF)Images: "Autumn Tingles" (ZIP, 5 MB)

Diverse Portfolio: WDR mediagroup Presents TV Programmes and Formats as well as Digital Services at MIPCOM 2016

Copyright: MIPCOM/Reed MIDEM

WDR mediagroup (WDRmg) will be represented by sales teams from various business sectors at this year’s MIPCOM (17th to 20th of October in Cannes). The Cologne-based company will not only be marketing programmes and formats across a range of genres but also offer digital services. International producers and content providers will be able to purchase smart solutions for the digital distribution of their programmes or enhance them with accessibility features to make them suitable for people with hearing or visual impairments. The main point of contact for interested trade visitors will be the German Pavilion (stand P-1.J24-K23), which WDRmg is partnering with again this year.

At the German Pavilion, WDRmg will exhibit its portfolio of high-quality children’s programmes, which is now offering content for all age groups and areas of interest, thanks to a number of new additions, such as the live-action series “Hayden’s Dream”, as well as classics like “The Maus”. Other key areas will be the marketing of innovative TV formats available for international adaptation, and the recruitment of (co-)production partners for the realization of future projects in children’s television.

RC Release Company, WDRmg’s in-house label and video-on-demand sales unit, will also be presenting its portfolio. The company specializes in DVD, Blu-ray and video-on-demand releases, and has recently expanded its programme catalogue. In addition to films, series and documentaries, it now includes a larger number of anime productions. Besides sales meetings with potential buyers from major video-on-demand platforms, the company will be focusing on the acquisition of new programmes to further expand its catalogue.

Autentic Distribution, a joint venture between WDRmg and the Munich-based label Autentic, will be presenting at the Beta Film stand (R7.F2). Here, the focus is on the international marketing of documentaries. A vast variety of topics will be covered, ranging from politics to society, nature and (motor) sports. This year’s highlights include “Russia’s Horses”, which examines the economic and cultural role horses play in Russia, and “Heights of Delights”, a culinary journey through the Alps.

Next to buying and selling programmes, WDRmg will also be showcasing an extensive range of digital services at the German Pavilion. These include efficient technical solutions for transcoding programmes, as well as filing and automatically delivering them to video-on-demand platforms. Moreover, content providers can have their programmes enhanced by audio descriptions, sign language translations and multilingual subtitling, to make them accessible to people with visual or hearing impairments.

Michael Loeb, CEO at WDRmg: “Ever since we successfully started marketing content on the global stage, the diversity of our portfolio has been expanding continually. That is why the next logical step for us is to make the best use of the technical infrastructure and the partnerships that we have built with key players in the market, positioning ourselves as a versatile provider of digital services for companies from all over the world. We have experts from a variety of business sectors present at MIPCOM, and thus we will be able to offer a comprehensive range of services from a single source.”

Press release: WDRmg at MIPCOM 2016 (PDF)Images: WDRmg at MIPCOM 2016 (ZIP, 5 MB)

Modelling, blogging, being creative: WDR mediagroup presents its new pre-teen series “Hayden’s Dream” at MIPCOM

Copyright: WDRmg/Bryncoed Productions

WDR mediagroup (WDRmg) will be presenting a brand new series project at this year’s MIPCOM (17th to 20th of October in Cannes): “Hayden’s Dream” is set in the glamorous world of fashion and is geared especially towards kids between 10 and 13 years of age. The Cologne-based company has taken on the global distribution of the high-quality live-action series, which is scheduled to be produced by Bryncoed Productions beginning next spring. The first season will feature 26 half-hour episodes.

“Hayden’s Dream” offers above all girls and young teenagers a lot of themes to relate to. The main character, Hayden, is curious and creative, but also shy and vulnerable. On her way from being a model to designing her own fashion collection, she has to face a lot of everyday challenges. Experienced authors, such as Holly Phillips (“Dance Academy”, Hank Zipper”), and producer Foz Allan (“Wolfblood”, “Hetty Feather”) are on board to ensure highest quality standards in a wide variety of topics.

Foz Allan, Executive Producer at Bryncoed Productions: “‘Hayden’s Dream’ is modern television for children and young teenagers. We use contemporary storytelling devices to explore the joyful struggle of finding yourself and being true to yourself. ”

Andrea Zuska, Chief Content Officer at WDRmg: “Set in the world of fashion and specifically aimed at children and pre-teens on the verge of adulthood, the series fills a gap in the market. It perfectly complements our range of programmes for children and youths, as we now have something appropriate in our portfolio for all age groups and areas of interest.”

Besides “Hayden’s Dream”, WDRmg will also be offering programmes for pre-schoolers between 3 and 5 years of age, such as the animated series “Gigglebug”. Programmes for children aged 5 to 9 include the edutainment format “The Maus” and the upcoming animated detective series “Dougie Noir”. A further recent addition to the portfolio is “WildWoods”: a live-action comedy featuring puppets, filmed in the forests of Canada and Northern Ireland.

Other key areas for WDRmg to focus on at MIPCOM are the marketing of innovative TV formats that are available for international adaptation as well as the recruitment of (co-)production partners for realising future projects in children’s television. Once again a partner of the German Pavilion, WDRmg can be visited at stand P-1.J24-K23.

Press release: "Hayden's Dream" (PDF)Image: "Hayden's Dream" Logo (JPG)

"Gigglebug" commissioned for season 2 - starts production in June

Copyright: Gigglebug Entertainment

Finnish animation and games studio Gigglebug Entertainment has landed a new commission, making Gigglebug the biggest pre-school series produced out of Finland to date. The new production starts on the back of delivering the first one to broadcasters in May 2016. Finland’s YLE and Switzerland’s SRF lead the new commission, with WDRmg distributing.

“There hasn’t been such a pre-school series out of Finland since the Moomins”, comments Anttu Harlin, CEO and producer of Gigglebug Entertainment.

The joint commission by YLE and SRF is exceptional. “This series has really found it’s audience in Finland. It radiates positive values and Gigglebug’s laughter is contagious” comments YLE producer, Kaisa Järnfelt.

“Season 2 is a true asset in terms of distribution”, says Stefanie Fischer, Head of Content at WDRmg. “With a total of 52 episodes, we can now offer a greater variety of Gigglebug’s hilarious stories, which makes the show even more attractive for international programme buyers.”

Gigglebug’s stories are influenced by the highly esteemed goals in the Finnish early education system. The positive effects of laughing together are used to teach children about their emotions and develop their resourcefulness.

“The creators have crafted a wonderful world with charming characters and smart stories”, SRF’s Marek Beles notes.

Download high res images:

Additional Information:
Anttu Harlin, CEO, producer
Gigglebug Entertainment Ltd
+358 50 575 4862

Press release: "Gigglebug" - Season 2 (PDF)

Kavaleer and WDRmg team up for "Dougie Noir"

Copyright: Kavaleer, WDRmg 2016

Kavaleer Productions and WDR mediagroup GmbH (WDRmg) are delighted to announce their forthcoming collaboration on a new 52 x 11 action-comedy series for 6-11 year olds, ‘Dougie Noir’. The development and distribution agreement, signed this week, is the first teaming up of the Dublin animation studio and the Cologne-based distributer. The (estimated) €4.5m series is scheduled to begin pre-production Summer 2017.

‘Dougie Noir’- follows the adventures of the eponymous eight-year-old hero, who despite having been born to a circus life, dreams of growing up to be the world’s greatest detective. One slight problem- Dougie is more than a little challenged with paying attention and focusing on tasks, so details like gathering proof and finding evidence are annoying distractions for him. Luckily for Dougie, his best friend and partner Mnemonica Memoire is on hand to compliment Dougie’s shoot-from-the-hip style and together they make an indefatigable crime-busting team:

The show was created by Kavaleer’s CEO Andrew Kavanagh, who designed Dougie with a very specific purpose in mind. “Roughly 10% of all kids suffer from some form of attention or hyperactivity disorder, but they don’t have a recognisable character on TV to root for who demonstrates the beneficial side of the condition, attributes such as hyperfocus,” he explains.  “Dougie is by no means the first neurotypical character to feature in the detective genre- think Sherlock, Poirot, Monk, all the great detectives have an edge that society might stigmatise in some ways, but if channelled, can achieve incredible results.”

ADHD is a condition routinely medicated in the United States but diagnosed celebrities such as Jim Carrey, and Michael Phelps have battled adversity and risen to achieve their goals through embracing their passions and injecting the extra measure of energy they have been born with into pursuing their dreams. “In Dougie, we want to put on the screen a character that not only inspires kids who are having trouble with this condition to follow their dreams, but every kid who might doubt their abilities just because their grades don’t stack up. Dougie might have a lot of obstacles to overcome, but he always wins,” Kavanagh says.

Having secured development finance under Creative Europe’s slate initiative and from the Irish Film Board’s Animation Development scheme, Kavaleer developed a teaser, pitch bible and pilot script, which caught the attention of WDRmg.

Michael Loeb, CEO of WDRmg, says: “International co-production is an attractive business segment for us. By joining a project at an early stage of the production process, we can not only lend financial support but also contribute to shaping the programme for global audiences as well as secure comprehensive rights for further distribution. Our focus here is set on innovative and original kids’ content.” Stefanie Fischer, Head of Content at WDRmg, adds: “With Kavaleer, we have found a first-rate, highly creative partner. ‘Dougie Noir’ is a truly unique programme that conveys an important message: It shows kids all over the world how to turn something stigmatised as a weakness into an individual strength.”

The deal represents yet another successful development in Kavaleer’s recent business model, which is strongly IP focussed and champions positive role models with clear purpose. Shows like ‘Kiva Can Do!’ which features a young Indian-Irish girl with a talent for engineering and ‘Alva & The Trolls’ which is the first pre-school show that bridges the social and emotional development of under-6s with themes they will encounter in online social interaction in a few short years later. This innovative approach to content development has been strongly supported by national funding bodies, such as the Irish Film Board, who were early champions of Dougie Noir.

Reacting to the news, Mary Callery, Project Manager at the Irish Film Board said “Having supported the development of Dougie Noir from the outset, we are delighted that WDRmg will partner with Kavaleer to progress this wonderful series  – it is a great endorsement of the originality and creativity of the team at Kavaleer and further evidence of the quality and skill of the Irish animation industry.”

Kavaleer MD and Dougie producer Gary Timpson echoes these sentiments. “We are delighted and thoroughly looking forward to a mutually beneficial partnership with WDRmg. From the outset, we felt that they were the right fit for Dougie, they really got the nuances of the character and recognised the potential for a hit detective show for kids, something that has been missing from the airwaves for too long,” he says. “The deal also signifies the ongoing strength of the development support we are fortunate to have both in Ireland and Europe and will help Kavaleer grow our slate and business, creating dozens of new jobs next year.’

‘Dougie Noir’ was unveiled at Cartoon Forum, the annual European event for pitching new kids content in Toulouse last September and was in the top 10% of 91 showcased projects in terms of attendance, almost a quarter of whom were broadcaster / investors. Following significant interest from a slew of potential distributors, Kavaleer opted for WDRmg, who, in addition to handling the international distribution, will also support the final phase of script and art development. Alongside Kavaleer, WDRmg will co-exclusively procure finance for the series, beginning at MIPJr in October.

Once financed the entire production budget is estimated at €4.5m and preproduction of the show is provisionally slated for Q3 2017. Kavaleer anticipate the creation of 20-30 additional jobs over the lifetime of the production in what has already been a growth phase for the company, currently engaged on producing two new animation shows, their own show ‘Kiva Can Do!’ and ‘Pablo’ with Belfast-based Paper Owl Productions.

For further information on this press release, please contact:
Andrew Kavanagh
CEO, Kavaleer Productions Ltd
+353 (0) 1 661 8585

Image: Dougie Noir 1 (Copyright: Kavaleer, WDRmg 2016)Image: Dougie Noir 2 (Copyright: Kavaleer, WDRmg 2016)
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Rechte: Patryk Kosmider - Fotolia
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"Gigglebug" comes to Channel 5's "Milkshake!"

Copyright: Gigglebug Entertainment The British broadcaster is betting on Gigglebug’s international popularity in the online world and will stream the episodes of the series on Milkshake!’s first ever YouTube channel as well as on the block’s website,

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Reality and Comedy: New orginal WDR-formats on the market

Copyright: WDR Content buyers from all over the world can now purchase the rights to produce international adaptations or remakes of the brand new reality formats "My Garden on a Plate" (pictured) and "Made with Love" as well as the fictional comedy series "Suck it up!".

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"Little Sandman" added to sales catalogue

Copyright: Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) The German cult programme as well as four additional children's formats that deal with dreaming and going to sleep are now available for international TV broadcasting, DVD publication and video on demand exploitation.

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"Shaun the Sheep": New licensed products for pet accessories

Copyrights: Trixie Heimtierbedarf Trixie, the European market leader for pet supplies, will expand its popular range of "Shaun the Sheep" accessoires. Pet-owners can look forward to new plush squeak toys and cosy dog comforters.

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“WildWoods”: broadcasting rights available now

Copyright: Sixteen South The new live action series by Irish production studio Sixteen South will be filmed in summer 2017. It features puppets in beautiful outdoor locations and aims to encourage children to appreciate nature.

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Kavaleer and WDRmg team up for "Dougie Noir"

Copyright: Kavaleer, WDRmg 2016 Kavaleer Productions and WDR mediagroup will collaborate on a new 52 x 11 action-comedy series for 6-11 year olds, "Dougie Noir". The (estimated) €4.5m series is scheduled to begin pre-production Summer 2017.

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On the way to new heights in international commercial orbit

Copyright: NICI Q Pootle 5 travels at full throttle, and not just aboard his spaceship! Renowned toy manufacturers NICI and Bullyland will launch a range of new merchandising products at retail stores across Europe and beyond.

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