Sunday, July 08, 2018

Irish Cartoon 'Becca's Bunch' Plots Course To Go Global As Show Is Picked Up By Nick Jr. [Updated]

An Irish animation company has been put on the world stage thanks to a pick-up by global children’s TV powerhouse Nick Jr.

Becca’s Bunch, which centres on the adventures of the eponymous animated bird, will make its world debut on Nick Jr. UK and Ireland on Monday 2nd July 2018 at 7:00am. Becca’s Bunch will then fly west and be aired on Nickelodeon USA later this year, followed by an eventual worldwide release on Nickelodeon channels and programming blocks globally during 2019.

Produced in both Ireland and the UK by JAM Media, the programme features handmade puppets with added visual effects giving its characters high-definition impact.

Becca’s Bunch centres on the adventures of the eponymous animated bird. Pic: JAM Media

Dublin-based JAM Media’s CEO John Rice expressed his excitement about the partnership, which will bring Becca and her little friends to the world stage for the first time.

"Nickelodeon is the perfect partner for Becca’s Bunch and it’s exciting that they have made such a commitment to the show, rolling it out worldwide," he said.

The show’s scripts were penned in Dublin and post-production took place in Belfast, whilst songs for the series were written by Irish electronic-rock band Jape, also based in the capital.

The cartoon will premiere in the UK and Ireland in July, in US later this year, followed by an eventual worldwide release during 2019. Pic: JAM Media

Over 4,000 handmade props, set pieces and characters create the idyllic pre-school landscape for the show. It centres on one little bird, Becca, and her bunch of friends, who are ever-ready for some excitement.

Becca, a happy bobble-hat wearing bird, sees adventure in every situation and, as a result, often bites off more than she can chew, landing herself and her bunch – Russell, Sylvia and Pedro – in some sticky situations. But it is in the midst of these ‘oops’ moments that Becca’s ideas, heart, positive thinking and leadership skills really shine. Thinking on her feet, Becca will urge a generation of kids to never give up, aim high and have big ideas.

In the series premiere, "Legendary Gill", Becca and the bunch set out to prove that the episode’s title character – the big fish in Wagtail lake – is real. Nick Jr. viewers in the UK & Ireland can watch the first episode for free ahead of its TV debut on and on the Nick Jr. Play app. Parents and children can also visit and the Nick Jr. Play app to find out more about Becca's Bunch, as well as sing-along to the show's catchy theme song, learn how to make a tasty Becca's Bunch snack, and dance-along to a Becca's Bunch music video.

Nick Jr. is a digital channel run by the Nickelodeon Group, which broadcasts in over a dozen countries, with a cable audience of over 13 million children.

Enterprise Minister Heather Humphreys recently led a trade mission of Irish animation companies to Hollywood with the aim of connecting the industry to some of the largest names in global entertainment, including Nickelodeon.

Update (8/7): IFTN caught up with one of Ireland’s busiest young stars, Susie Power, ahead of the debut screenings of her two new projects at the Galway Film Fleadh!

One of these premieres include Ireland’s first ever stop motion feature film ‘Captain Morten and the Spider Queen’, in which Susie plays the leading female role of Eliza alongside Brendan Gleeson, Ciaran Hinds, and Michael McElhatton.


Speaking about her work as a voice over artist for children’s animations, Susie told IFTN:

"I love doing voice over work. It is unreal to see the amount of work that goes into the whole animation process. I am honoured that I have been involved with so many fantastic animations as a voice over artist for Jam Media, Telegael, Moetion Films and Piranha Bar/Rte junior and Nickelodeon. When you see a finished animation, it is always so much better than you ever expected it to be!”

Susie can next be seen as ‘Sylvia the Fox’, one of the lead characters, in new Jam Media/Nick Junior Animation ‘Beccas Bunch’, which aired for the first time this week. This new animation is tipped to be the next big thing in children's animation with merchandise to become available in the near future. Susie is the only Irish cast member alongside the USA cast.

‘Captain Morton and the Spider Queen’ screens at the Galway Film Fleadh on Sunday, July 15th at 4pm in the Town Hall Theatre, Galway.


Also, from

Jam Media lines up multimillion toy deal

New kids' show Becca's Bunch [premieres on Nick Jr.]

Irish-made pre-school TV series Becca's Bunch [recently premiered on Nick Jr UK] as its Dublin creator, Jam Media, finalises a lucrative global toy deal based on the character.

Likely to be signed in the next month, the multimillion toy deal will be Jam's first in its 18-year history of making hit children's TV series for the international market.

It is in advanced negotiations with one of the world's top five toy manufacturers, said co-founder and chief executive John Rice.

Existing TV rights deals for the series across more than 70 countries and in 18 languages - including the deal with Nickelodeon - are likely to be worth at least $3m over the next two years and Jam is also in advanced talks on a rights deal for the huge Chinese market, said Rice.

Over its lifetime, the series could generate at least $15m (€12.8m) in revenue for Jam in programme sales alone, but a toy deal - as is often the case with hit kids TV shows - will greatly increase potential earnings, he said.

"The toy deal is sensitive at the moment. It should be finalised in the next month or so. We spoke to all of the big toy manufacturers and offers came in, but we are focused on one in particular now. A toy deal will add to the whole longevity of the brand if it is a hit and if there is product out there for people to buy."

Becca's Bunch, which follows the adventures of a little bird with big ideas and a can-do attitude, stars a cast of cute handmade puppet characters and features over 4,000 individually-crafted props, set pieces and characters, combined with visual effects that give the show its unique non-digital look and feel.

"Becca is just taking flight, but hopefully she has the potential to get around the globe. I think, of anything we have ever done, she has the potential to bring in ancillary revenue," said Rice. "We built it with that in mind to a degree and hopefully it pays off. The early indications are good."

But, for Jam, which is based in Dublin and also operates an animation studio in Belfast, the making of the highly-innovative $10m animated series was as difficult a challenge as it has ever set itself.

Based on an idea by young Irish animator Conor Finnegan, the production used techniques that had never been employed before, and the complexity of the project pushed it $1m over budget. Jam, which has had previous hits with shows such as PicMe and Roy, had been developing a series based on the adventures of a courageous little bird when they saw a short film by Finnegan at the Galway Film Festival that used innovative live action puppets.

He was brought on board and special rigs were built in the company's Belfast studio to deliver a 520-minute first series of Becca for airing by US kids television giant Nickelodeon.

"It was a tough one. It was a really hard production and it went over budget and over schedule. But we stayed with it and now it is looking pretty sweet. There's an alignment of the stars, and it will stand to us as a company."

The advance for the imminent toy deal will effectively cancel out the overspend from the production, he said. The actual size of the deal will depend on toy sales, which will be driven by the success or otherwise of Becca on Nick Jr and other platforms.

Jam has already put in place book deals for Becca with Candlewick in North America and globally with Egmont, the biggest children's specialist publisher in the UK.

"The toy company is very excited about it. It's a little bit different and is not like anything else out there. The characters are endearing, the stories are fun and adventurous and it is gender-neutral," said Rice. "There will be a whole pile of products over the next 18 months: apparel, playsets, and miniatures. We will have to wait and see if the toy ignites or not. It certainly has got a great start in life with all the platforms it is going out on and the support Nickelodeon has given it. It has got a better start in life than Peppa Pig ever got and that show is now doing over $1bn of retail every year," said Rice.


More Nick: Nick Jr. UK and Ireland to Premiere 'Becca's Bunch' on Monday 2nd July 2018!

Originally published: Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

Original source:
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