Peppa Pig: the Biggest “Cash Pig” in China

6 min read 

You may have overheard two middle-aged men talking about Peppa Pig on the bus in China. Videos of people getting Peppa Pig tattoos and Peppa Pig watches are going viral on Chinese short video platforms. A more puzzling phenomenon is that brands from luxury items, consumer goods to even automobile manufacturers are adding Peppa’s image to their logos, forming a sea of dazzling pink at shopping malls.

Peppa Pig is a British animated children television series directed and produced by Astley Baker Davies in association with Entertainment One, and it has swept China and garnered fans of all ages. How valuable is this hair-dryer-shaped Pippa Pig? Well, the children’s consumer market is worth 5 trillion yuan ($790B) in China, their sales have increased by a 700% in just six months.

It does not matter if the Peppa Pig craze can be considered a fashion trend, or perhaps merely a practical joke on a societal scale, Peppa Pig has already become the No.1 internet celebrity in China. The UK-based Entertainment One Ltd.(eOne) has proudly announced that the sales revenue from product authorization in China has achieved a growth of more than 700% in the first half of 2017!

Peppa Pig, who only arrived in China in 2015, has accumulated more than 10 billion online views in just one year. Their score in Douban, China’s IMDb, is as high as 9.2 out of 10. How did this rabbit-eared, 3-toed cartoon figure help sales growth so much?

eOne Group: annual revenue of 7 billion

During an interview, Chen Wanling, the regional director of eOne Group in Asia, said that she has never seen an animated series achieve the success of 10 billion views a year.

There is no doubt that eOne Group earned a lot from Pieppa Pig series. In 2016 alone, Peppa Pig brought the company $1.1 billion in retail sales globally, which came only a year after eOne Group’s acquisition of the Peppa Pig series.

In September 2015, eOne Group acquired a 70% stake in Astley Baker Davies, a British animation studio. Through this acquisition, Peppa Pig episodes were put to a top strategic focus in eOne Group’s Family & Brand line with plans to double Peppa Pig’s brand equity in the future.

The market has never doubted the capabilities of the eOne Group. Founded in 1973 and now an established distribution company, eOne mainly covers the following five areas: eOne films, television, music, family & brand, and eOne Publishing. It provides services ranging from film distribution, television and music production, family & brand programming to sales authorization and digital content, etc. For example, the recent hits like “La La Land”, “The BFG” by Steve Spielberg, “Eye in the Sky” and “Captain Fantastic” were all distributed globally through the eOne Group.

It is worth noting that eOne Group’s current Family & Brand businesses include Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, Humf, and PJ Masks which has been broadcasting on the Disney Channel recently. The Family & Brands business has become a specialty of the eOne Group.

With eOne’s full-year revenue of 800 million pounds ($1.1B) in 2016, its Family & Brands business alone grew by 10% YoY, a major contributor to revenue growth for the fiscal year. The stunning performance made their competitors particularly jealous. ITV PLC, a well-established commercial TV network company in the United Kingdom, even sent an acquisition invitation to eOne for about $1.3 billion in the name of expanding the content library, which was rejected by eOne.

Afterwards, the eOne Group shifted its focus on content providers. It has been reported that eOne will develop new episodes of “Peppa Pig” and publish a new season with 117 episodes in the spring of 2019. At the same time, eOne will also cooperate with the famous Hollywood producer Brad Weston to set up a film joint venture to compete in the content producing field.

The multi-billion dollar children’s consumer market behind “Peppa Pig”

Peppa Pig‘s achievement in China is remarkable. The show is scored 9.2/10 on Douban with a ten billion annual broadcast volume. It seems that eOne has targeted the Chinese market for its market potentials. In March of this year, Alpha Group,a Chinese animation and toy company has announced to be the intellectual property (IP) partner of Peppa Pig in China, aiming at promoting the growth of Peppa Pig brand in the Chinese market.

It is noted that the two sides have started a series of collaborations to produce Peppa Pig products, including toy sets, fingurines and role-playing toys, ready to be fully released in the last quarter of 2018. In 2019, which will be the Year of the Pig in China, a brand new Peppa Pig immersive experience will be unveiled. The most exciting news for all the Peppa fans out there is that Shanghai is going to be home to the world’s second and China’s first “Peppa Pig” outdoor theme park!

Peppa Pig toys

eOne’s Chinese IP partner, Alpha Group, has been involved in animation production since 2003 and has become the best in the game. It owns a series of highly sought-after IP of shows such as Super Pan Man (超级飞侠), Cute Chicken Squad (萌鸡小队), Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf (喜羊羊与灰太狼). Alpha Group has been downplaying their role as a toy manufacturer, and instead chose to nurture and develop premium IP content involved multiple related fields, for the goal of creating an IP powerhouse.

It is evident then the cooperation between eOne Group and Alpha Group is a win-win combination.

According to statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics and other consulting companies, the market size of children’s indoor amusement parks in China is increasing at a rate of 30% YoY. In 2020, the scale of children’s consumer market in China will exceed 5 trillion yuan ($790B), of which the children’s entertainment consumer market will reach 1.5 trillion yuan ($237B).

If a specific IP can create a good user experience, have a large scale of users, a mature monetization model, a strong and continuous vitality, and travels far by word of mouth, then it would able to earn both a great profit and a solid reputation under the current situation of the consumption upgrade and population increase in China.

This would also be a virtuous cycle: from having popularity to gaining a large market share, to consolidating all the resources that are trying to share the popularity, and to the media scrambling to report the phenomenon, the spreading of word of mouth, occupying the mind of the masses… It goes on.

No matter what, with the push of capital and the influence of the current environment, this pink pig is now golden.

It is worth mentioning that the short video platforms played an indispensable role in providing positive distribution channels for Peppa Pig.

Conclusion

Even with the show causing an upset among parents because children, learning after Peppa, are oinking around and jumping in muddy puddles for fun, the rocketing popularity of Peppa Pig is unstoppable, but when will China have its own Peppa Pig?

This article originally appeared in PEdaily and was translated by Pandaily.
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