Percy3D Expands Caillou’s Presence

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Percy3D Expands Caillou’s Presence with New Digital Line of Products

Toronto-based Percy3D, an innovative new video platform that encourages people to create their own personalized video moments using the latest 3D visual effects, has acquired worldwide digital party product rights to the Caillou brand in a three-year deal with DHX Media.  Caillou is an educational Canadian children’s television series, based on the books by author Christine L’Heureux. The arrangement will allow Percy3D to develop a digital party product line around the well-known Caillou brand unlike anything seen before which will include invitations, thank you notes, and party memory compilations for consumers.

Caillou, a popular children’s television character, took a step off the TV screen and into the interactive world of digital party products for children with PercyVites.  The line of invitations, thank-you cards and photo album compilations are customized with technology developed by Percy3D.

DHX Media owns, markets and distributes over 8,500 half hours of children’s entertainment content, and exploits owned properties through its consumer products licensing business.  DHX Media is  recognized for  brands such as Caillou, Busytown Mysteries, Inspector Gadget, Johnny Test and Animal Mechanicals.

Geared towards attracting the pre-school demographic and their parents, the Caillou-themed digital line features party management tools for kid-related celebrations from inception to the culmination of an event. Users will be able to personalize invitations, thank you notes and photo memory compilations of the event, integrating the names and images of both the child celebrating a birthday and those that are invited to celebrate with them incorporated into customized clips featuring the Caillou characters. The digital line expands the Caillou brand into a more interactive space with a brand new experience where its young audience can further share in the world of Caillou.

“Caillou continues to be a household favorite with preschoolers across America on PBS Kids and Sprout,” said Stephanie Gonzalez, DHX Media’s Director of Licensing.

“There’s no denying that kids have an affinity with Caillou, so when we heard of the opportunity with Percy3D we were excited to provide families who are fans the ability to carry the theme through their child’s celebration moments using Percy3D’s technology,” Gonzalez continues.

Percy3D introduces cutting-edge technology that enables companies like DHX Media to provide a deeper relationship with a beloved character.  By providing a digital perspective to a television-driven brand, characters like Caillou can reach beyond the ‘physical’ barrier such as television and paper invites into a more social and interactive virtual world with its audience.

“Today’s generation is growing up in a very visual environment, and because technology is changing the way their parents view and consume media kids are also privileged to the same technology that allows them to not only view their favorite show but to interact with it in a completely different format,” says Julie Steiner, founder and president at Percy3D. “We’ve developed several projects for consumption by an older and more technology-savvy consumer, and it’s an exciting process to cultivate a line of digital party products engaging enough to hold the attention of a child, and we’re eager to build it out with a brand like Caillou.”

Available to consumers as of Nov. 29, the Percy3D line of Caillou-related digital party products can be accessed through PBSKids.org, Ty’s ToyBox, Caillou Facebook and www.percyvites.com. The Caillou digital party products range in price from $0.79 – $2.99 each and are initially available in English and French, with more languages to be added in the future.  The French version of PercyVites is live for 2013.

Currently, Percy3D’s technology may be seen via Percy3D’s iOS app called PercyFX. Available to consumers, users are able to personalize movie clips of Hollywood blockbusters from Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures.

The deal had been in works for quite some time, with first contact coming last March when Steiner first approached them about possibly doing a deal together.

“We met at the licensing show in June and we were still going back and forth at that time,” Steiner says. “The core of our business is the video personalization platform. The challenge for us, besides building it of course, is to figure out how do you monetize it in such a way that everything comes together properly.”

Ironically, Steiner originally envisioned her company would be more marketing based, but quickly realized the economics of what they were doing because they are so leading edge and infrastructure costs are very high.

“It was just a matter of trying to put the pieces together in such a way that it made economic sense,” Steiner says.

As the mother of 17-year-old twins, Steiner can call upon her own personal experience when it comes to developing apps for children, such as birthday parties.

“Nobody had actually come up with a new alternative for licenced characters for invitations in the video realm. The way we’ve done it we’ve effectively created a new licensing category.”

DHX recently put out a release about Caillou and all of their other new deals and Steiner has already received phone calls from licensors regarding Percy3D and its services.

“I don’t expect with one character we’re going to put any kind of dent into the physical category yet, but our goal is to start racking up many of the bigger properties. One property is not going to do it, but once we start adding more and more to the roster we hope that we will start to affect that category somewhat.”

Steiner is now committed to continuing her company’s progress in the realm of children’s categories. She says it’s really been a challenge to determine what the right niche is but is certain her company is heading down the right path.  

“This is a sustainable model and it’s totally replicable and because we’ve created a new category we’re alone in the space for now, so it’s a really exciting place to be. There’s no end to where this can go.”

“I’ve started with children’s properties because of the fact there’s the license end of it and it’s such a new thing I like the idea of being able to piggyback on a brand awareness of the licensed characters,” Steiner continues. “Beyond that, I’ve already got my eye on the next market.”

“Where I think it gets interesting with kids’ properties is that we allow you to put your child directly into their favourite character’s world,” Steiner says. “It’s not like we’re appending something on the end – it’s immersive.”

As example, the character of Caillou could be throwing a paper airplane and then the plane opens up with your text details right there. It’s literally getting right inside the character’s world. Caillou would seem to be a challenging character to deal with given that Percy3D is just that – 3D – with the z axis joined in with x and y.  

“Lots of people can do 2D – nobody else can do 3D,” Steiner proudly states.   

Percy3D plans full expansion and distribution into other countries with the technology platform developed to do just that.

“We’re up to 12 languages right now,” Steiner confirms. “In January, we’re planning the four strongest countries for Caillou and continue going into as many logical locations as possible.”

By CBJ STAFF

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