Danish toy titan Lego is moving into the world of children’s TV, having signed a deal with the British Broadcasting Corporation and entered talks with French, German and Scandinavian media groups.

Eager to diversify its business, Lego plans to expand its involvement in television rights and formats, which it hopes will account for 25% of annual turnover by 2006.

The BBC alliance will see the production of a new TV format for pre-school children called Little Robots, due to hit screens in the US and Australia in January 2003 before its launch in Europe. The animated show will follow the adventures of a group of robots (not made of Lego blocks) who build other characters out of garbage.

BBC Worldwide – the corporation’s commercial arm – will act as sole distributor and partner with global rights to Little Robots, a franchise intended to spawn videos, DVDs, magazines and books.

“Although Lego is a relative newcomer to the world of television we have an enviable reputation for children's entertainment in the wider sense,” claimed Conny Kalcher, global vp–children’s TV at Lego Media. “It was therefore crucial for us to find the right distribution partner for this, our first children’s TV project.”

Talks with the other, unnamed European television companies reportedly focus on building separate TV formats for pre-school kids, so as not to violate Lego’s BBC agreement.

News source: AdAge Global