David Prosser: Peppa and her friends have much to learn


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The Independent Online

Outlook Entertainment One has more going for it than just Peppa Pig, but the porcine star's mega success with pre-schoolers has certainly brought home the bacon. Nor is the company alone in being recognised for the value it offers from its very young audience. HIT Entertainment, the owner of Thomas the Tank Engine, is also up for sale just now, while Chorion, the home of Noddy, is on the block too.

The rumoured bidders for HIT, where the sale process is the most advanced of the three, tells you everything you need to know about the revenue drivers at these companies. They include toy makers Tomy and Mattel, who have recognised that the money lies not in the TV shows themselves, but in the endless merchandising opportunities much-loved characters represent. Peppa Pig knows all about that, having created an ever-growing range of spin-off products and even a theme park.

But Britain's creatives ought not to be too smug, for it is entirely possible to build such brands without having to go to all the bother of writing a book or launching a TV show. Ask the Japanese company with the rights to Hello Kitty, for example, which has done exactly that. Peppa may not like it, but that's the business model which is really exciting many entertainment companies today.