Amazon and Mattel team up for live-action American Girl specials
James R | On 04, Feb 2016
Amazon and Mattel are teaming up to make a series of American Girl specials.
The four live-action outings, based on one of the world’s top brands for girls, will help to build Amazon’s growing slate of original kids’ content, including Just Add Magic, the Emmy award-nominated series Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street and Annedroids, plus three preschool series, including Tumble Leaf, Creative Galaxy and Wishenpoof.
Mattel’s line of dolls and books aim to empower girls, with its BeForever historical line intended to “give girls today the opportunity to explore the past, find their place in the present, and think about the possibilities their future can bring”.
Its multi-year, multimillion dollar production deal with Amazon includes options to produce multiple seasons of episodic content also based on the brand’s characters. Two of the specials will feature BeForever characters and one will feature characters from Mattel’s Girl of the Year franchise, with the first scheduled to premiere on Amazon Prime Video in the US, UK, Germany and Austria later this year.
“American Girl resonates strongly with kids and parents alike through its message of self-confidence, adventure, exploration and learning,” says Tara Sorensen, Head of Kids Programming, Amazon Studios. “Their research dives deep and adds rich layers to the IP that are unparalleled in this space.”
“Amazon Studios has differentiated itself by creating shows that bring more than just entertainment to families,” adds Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Chief Content Officer of Mattel Inc. “Their focus on creating positive role models that both inspire and educate was an absolute perfect fit with Mattel’s mission of creating purposeful play.”
“The Amazon Studios and American Girl ethos are so closely aligned,” echoes Juliana Chugg, Global Core Brands Officer.
While the two appear a smart match, the deal also marks the ongoing entry of toy brands into the web series space. Just as LEGO has stayed relevant to modern audiences by spawning video games and acquiring rights to cinema blockbusters, toy companies are now teaming up with VOD services to keep up-to-date with kids, who are spending more time online now than watching traditional TV. Mattel now has its eggs in both streaming baskets: it already has a deal with Netflix to produce animated series based around the Ever After High franchise. Hasbro, meanwhile, has just signed a deal with Netflix for a Stretch Armstrong show.