ROME – Italian pubcaster Rai’s Rai Com sales arm has teamed up with India’s animation leader DQ Entertainment to produce of a new toon series called “Pio The Chick,” based on a vastly viral property, in a deal that breaks new ground in several ways.
The deal, sealed at Mipcom in Cannes, marks Rai Com’s first foray into the production of original content. It’s also Rai’s first purely commercial venture, specifically conceived for the international market, rather than for its channels. Rai is Italy’s top broadcaster.
From a production standpoint, “Pio” constitutes an interesting mix of Italian artistry and top Indian toonmaking know-how. The design will be by Italian cartoonist Giorgio Cavazzano, known for his work with Disney and Marvel in Europe. DQ, which acts as an animation subcontractor, co-producer, and increasingly as an IP developer, recently completed production of series including “NFL2” (Rollman Entertainment for Nick Toons), and “Peter Pan Season 1″ (with France’s Method Animation). Its upcoming productions include “Manav,” a TV movie with Disney India, and “Lassies and Friends,” being co-prodced with DreamWorks Classics.
Rai Com and DQ Entertainment will produce 52 episodes, each one seven-minutes long, of the cross-media-ready toon series which is originally based on a catchy Brazilian children’s song, created and launched by Radio Globo in Italy in 2012. The kiddie series is about the adventures of the plucky little chick Pio and his friends, with a strong musical element. Delivery is planned for 2016.
In 2012 “Pio The Chick” became a hit radio song and then a viral web phenom through a series of remixes that made it into the single charts in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and various other European countries. In various forms, it has generated more than 400 million hits on Youtube to date.
“We’ve changed our business model,” enthused Rai Com topper Luigi De Siervo. “We just wanted to create a new product that would allow us to generate revenue globally from all licensing rights,” including merchandising. Though not conceived as content for Rai, the show will air on the Italo pubcaster’s kiddie channels.
De Siervo also noted that chief reasons why Rai snapped up licensing rights to “Pio” is that it caters to a pre-school demographic segment, and is already known to audiences in nine languages. The seven-minute format makes it ideal for cross-media.