Peppa Pig ups US assault with Fisher-Price deal

Peppa Pig, the cartoon that has taken Britain by storm, is hoping for a similar impact in the US after its owner, Entertainment One (E1), sealed a deal with Fisher-Price for a range of toys.

Analysts said that should it prove successful, annual revenues for Peppa Pig merchandise could hit £1bn.

The show made its debut on US television in February, and it is among the top-rated shows on the Nick Jr channel. It announced the first licensing deal for merchandise with Fisher-Price, an arm of Mattel, yesterday.

The first toys will hit American shelves in time for Christmas next year, with the group attempting to build the character in the meantime. Darren Throop, E1's chief executive, said it would be the "first of many" licensing deals in the country.

The deal represents "a significant step" in E1's move on the US, Mr Throop said. Peppa Pig has proved a huge hit with British children, and its toys, first launched in 2005, raked in £200m in sales last year. The US has the world's largest children's merchandising market, which is estimated at over $92bn, 10 times larger than the UK.

Mr Throop said: "Peppa has started well in the US, with strong ratings." The character is now seen in over 180 territories and has further to go, Mr Throop added. Analysts at Cannacord Genuity were backing Peppa Pig to crack the US market: "Longer term, we expect a successful Peppa performance in the US to lead to annual merchandise sales of around £1bn."

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