Mattel has formed Mattel Creations, a centralized content division that will leverage the company’s global brands and library of properties to drive content across multiple platforms including theatrical, television, and digital.
Mattel’s Chief Content Officer Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, who joined Mattel in September, will head the cross-portfolio content strategy. Mattel has also promoted creative executive and producer Christopher Keenan as senior vice president, content development and production.
Mattel Creations comes to market with an extensive library of brands and properties to accelerate and maximize Mattel’s content development and distribution activities. As chief content officer, Balsam-Schwaber will oversee all strategies for the new division, including development slates, programming, and distribution opportunities, as well as entertainment and talent relationships.
Keenan will oversee a new centralized content development and production team, to include Playground Productions in El Segundo, the HIT content creation team in London, and the American Girl content creation team in Middleton. He will be based out of Mattel’s El Segundo offices, reporting to Balsam-Schwaber.
In addition, Mattel has announced two content projects under the Mattel Creations banner. Mattel has greenlit WellieWishers, a 2-D animated series for girls ages 5 to 7, from premium brand American Girl, and will unveil the new series for the first time to buyers and distributors at MIPTV. WellieWishers features a character-based story narrative centered on five best friends—Willa, Kendall, Ashlyn, Emerson and Camille—who imagine, play, sing and dream in their whimsical garden. When the WellieWishers step into their colourful rain boots, they’re ready for anything, stomping in muddy puddles, dancing with fireflies, and navigating the ins and outs of friendship through play and imagination. Written by head writer, Noelle Wright, and executive produced by Christopher Keenan, the series will be produced and distributed by Mattel Creations content distribution team and animated at Submarine Studios in Amsterdam. The series has entered production and will be delivered to broadcasters by end of year.
The latest CGI movie special for Barbie, Dreamtopia, has been taken by several world-class broadcasters around the world including: Cartoon Network (Latin-America), Super RTL (Germany), Pop TV (UK), MiniMini (Poland) and Karusel (Russia).
This summer, Barbie will enocurage kids to dream with the launch of the movie special, Dreamtopia. The all-new, magical and make-believe world of Dreamtopia is imagined by Chelsea, the youngest sister of Barbie. Barbie is known for her vivid imagination, which is something that runs in the family. The new special sees Chelsea following in her elder sister’s footsteps as she shares an assortment of fantasy worlds and heroic roles with viewers. Children from around the world are invited to experience the adventures of Barbie, Chelsea and her puppy Honey, as they swim through rainbow rivers with beautiful mermaids and fly through cotton candy clouds with fairies where their imaginations allows them to be anything they want. Produced by Julia Pistor (Jimmy Neutron, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) and animated by Snowball Studios, Dreamtopia is a new Barbie special targeting a younger pre-school demographic than previous films. Additionally, the special has digital shorts for broadcaster promotion and YouTube activation and will have a new line of dolls and pets reflective of the content and adventure games on Barbie.com.
Mattel has been named MIPTV 2016’s Brand of the Year, and Richard Dickson, Mattel’s President and Chief Operating Officer, will accept the award and deliver a keynote speech on April 5 as part of the market’s Media Mastermind Keynote series. Balsam-Schwaber will also be present at MIPTV this year, speaking at the “Brands & Online Video Lunch Summit” on April 5 as well as engaging in an on-stage interview with Fullscreen’s Head of Sales Kevin McGurn at Fullscreen’s Digital Fronts Session on April 6.