Mega Brands, the US toy manufacturer, has signed an international licensing partnership with Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP) to develop a range of construction toys based on its Nick Jr pre-school character brands.
Under the long-term deal, Mega Brands will develop building toys, including playsets and vehicles, based on Nickelodeon’s pre-school TV programmes such as The Backyardigans, Go Diego Go! and Dora the Explorer.
The tie-up will also enable the company to take on its main rival Lego, which has been locked in ongoing legal battles with its Mega Bloks brand over trademark rights. The deal places Mega in a stronger position to compete with Lego’s licensed ranges, which include the successful Star Wars, Harry Potter and animated Batman series.
Mega Brands will launch the product range in the US and Canada early next year ahead of a planned worldwide rollout across the UK, France, Australia and Latin America later in 2007. It also plans to extend the range into other markets in 2008.
NVCP manages the world’s third largest licensing business, overseeing merchandising for broadcasters including Nick Jr, Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central and Spike TV.
In October, Lego unveiled plans to ramp up its investment in digital, mobile and interactive TV over the coming year as part of a new strategy aimed at targeting children aged 12 and under more effectively.
The Danish company previously spent only a small proportion of its £4.8m annual media budget on digital marketing.