Entara's Magic moment

For a company which was founded in 2001, Entara?s corporate growth puts more established firms to shame. Flagship brand Jakers continues to pull in high audiences, while acquisitions of quirky, non-traditional offerings have given Entara a healthy property mix. And now it?s got The Magic Roundabout, too. Samantha Loveday reports...
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The last time ToyNews met with Entara for a catch up, it was October 2005 and the firm was revelling in the initial success of pre-school property Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks.

Almost two years on, Jakers has been sold into some 64 territories and the company is now sitting on a pretty healthy mixture of brands.

“The past year has seen significant developments for Entara, not only with the strong new additions to the property portfolio, but also the expansion of the company itself,” explains Karen McNally, VP of licensing and marketing at the firm.

Indeed, over the past 12 months, new property acquisitions have included Those Scurvy Rascals – a quirky short-form CGI animation recently aired on Nickelodeon – and children’s animation The Adventures of Dex Hamilton: Alien Entomologist, which is currently in production. Entara is also the third party agent for online teen community Habbo and Domo, a property which apparently has cult status in Japan.

On top of this, toy brand In My Pocket – including Puppy in My Pocket, Kitty in My Pocket, Monster in My Pocket and Jungle in My Pocket – has just been added to the portfolio.

The firm has also launched its own in-house television distribution division which is designed to expand its reach in the global children’s media market. Also firming up its credentials in this marketplace, Entara boosted its board in February with Theresa Plummer-Andrews as non executive director, a former head of acquisitions and co-productions for CBBC.

The most recent talking point has been the scooping of the UK licensing rights to cult classic The Magic Roundabout. Entara is now actively seeking partners.

“Our aim will be to attract a new generation of children that have never heard of the show,” says McNally. “The aim is to portray the values of the old series at the same time as making it accessible to today's children's audience. We expect to announce new deals in all major categories in the not too distant future.

Entara has also been quick to embrace the newer licensing areas – indeed, a number of its properties are very well suited to the online, video games and mobile sectors in particular. Those Scurvy Rascals, for example, has been popular in the gaming communities, according to McNally.

Going forward, more expansion looks likely, with a girl’s property the most obvious gap in the Entara stable. And, again, online is uppermost in the planning: “I see the emergence of online retailers as a credible alternative to the traditional channels as licensors look for alternative ways to bring exciting innovative product to the marketplace.”

So, fast forward to the next Entara update, and don’t be surprised if the firm is still revelling in its much-deserved success.


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