Ultra ties up with Germany's Kiddinx Merchandising for 'Benjamin'

MUMBAI: Indian movie VCD and DVD distributor Ultra Movie Channel Ltd has tied up with Germany's Kiddinx Merchandising GmbH to market Benjamin, the friendly elephant, in India.

Ultra has merchandising rights for all Benjamin characters for India and plans to market products like stationery, toys, games, consumer durables, ceramics, apparels, furnishings, gifting items, greeting cards, party products, etc.

The company has also acquired the video rights for Benjamin series and specials for all home viewing formats including VCDs and DVDs. Ultra also own the cable TV, terrestrial TV, satellite TV, as well as rights for dubbing the series in various Indian languages.

Having become Unicef's ambassador in 1999, Benjamin will be available in India in different avtaars.



"We are certain that Benjamin will become a household name in India and become a well-loved cartoon character very soon. The elephant is very prominent in Indian culture and mythology and now Indian children will have multiple avenues to have Benjamin, the Friendly Elephant, as part of their lives," said Ultra Movies Channel LTD managing director Sushil Kumar Agrawal.

"There is a vast untapped market for merchandising products based on international toon characters in India and our expertise in the field would give us an edge over other players," he added.

With world-wide audio-cassettes and CD sales exceeding 52 million, Benjamin has achieved a phenomenal 98 Gold and 52 Platinum discs, and current licensing spans more than 500 products.

The Toon Character from Germany, like all toon stars, has an exciting but humble beginning. Born of an idea of Elfie Donnelly, Benjamin started his journey, in the year 1977, from an audio cassette series by Karl Blatz. Benjamin was soon seen on cassettes, books and other products. In 1987, the first cartoon film, Benjamin - The Zoo Concert, was released and resulted in the explosion of the market in the field of toon video.

In 1990, Benjamin appeared in the first ever comic edition and children followed the adventures of Benjamin in Picture story, with sales exceeding 10 million in comics alone. A 13 part cartoon series and four specials were aired on the ZDF channel, Kinderkanal and FoxKids.

In 1997, Benjamin's first feature film was released and by 1999, Benjamin became the ambassador for Unicef. To mark the 25th anniversary of Benjamin, a new TV series of 52 episodes went into production, and a beginning of a new career in the international arena started, as now video sales exceeded seven million in Germany alone.

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