Peppa Pig, the cartoon character known for jumping in muddy puddles and popular with UK preschoolers, is set to generate $1 billion in international merchandising and TV revenues in 2014.
This uptick in the adorable pig’s profitability is due in large part to a new US distribution deal with ties to Wal-Mart stores.
Peppa first came to the United States in 2011, when her brand’s co-owners, Astley Baker Davies in the UK and Entertainment One in Canada, entered into a licensing agreement with Fisher-Price. Mattel, the parent company of Fisher-Price, made Peppa Pig merchandise available exclusively in US Toys ‘R Us stores. Since 2011, Peppa’s popularity has continued to grow, particularly in the UK and in Europe, but also in the United States.
The initial merchandising deal with Fisher-Price is set to expire at the end of 2014, and Entertainment One has signed a new deal with Jazwares, a company best known for its licensing and distribution of toys related to Minecraft, a popular online game. As Entertainment One is looking to capitalize on Peppa’s rise in fame, Jazwares has promised to make the brand’s merchandise available in US Walmart stores beginning in January 2015, further opening the US market to the Peppa Pig craze that has swept other parts of the world.
Peppa Pig is the creation of British animators Mark Baker and Neville Astley. The show debuted in the UK in 2004, and Peppa Pig cartoons run in five-minute episodes on UK television. Today, the show is aired in over 180 territories around the world and has become the number one ranked show for preschoolers in Britain, Italy, Australia and Spain. Her creators have observed that the Peppa franchise has never failed to expand rapidly in a new location, as long as the show is given a broadcasting time slot appropriate to her preschool audience. In fact, Peppa has beaten out popular rivals like Thomas the Tank Engine and Fireman Sam in many of the locations where her show airs.
How far will Peppa Pig fever go in the US? While details of the Walmart-based Peppa line are still to be unveiled, more than 12,000 Peppa-themed products are already available around the world, from pasta entrees, to beanbag toys, to pencil pouches. In Hampshire, in the UK, there is already a Peppa Pig theme park, and planning for another Peppa-themed attraction has begun in Italy.