twofour54 signs global publishing deal with Macmillan Children’s Books for ‘Driver Dan’s Story Train’

04 Mar 2010

twofour54 today announced the signing of a global publishing deal with Macmillan Children’s Books to create a range of ‘Driver Dan’s Story Train’ books in Arabic and English.

twofour54 today announced the signing of a global publishing deal with Macmillan Children’s Books to create a range of ‘Driver Dan’s Story Train’ books in Arabic and English.

Under the terms of the agreement, Macmillan Children’s Books, a division of Pan Macmillan, will focus on developing a publishing programme aimed at pre-school children. The programme will start with character based board books and paperback story books before adding new formats including wipe-clean, board, cloth and bath books as well as ebooks.

‘Driver Dan’s Story Train’ was the first partnership signed by twofour54 ibtikar, an agreement with 3Line Media of the United Kingdom in early 2009. It is a fun and educational, bi-lingual animation and live action children’s TV series developed to introduce young, pre-school age children to the delights of storytelling and reading books. It features a cast of animated animal characters who read and explore a different children’s storybook in each show.

The English version of the show debuted on the BBC’s flagship UK children’s channel CBeebies in January 2010. It has been a resounding success, with rave reviews across the UK media as well as featuring in the top ten downloads on the BBC’s online i-player platform. A number of international broadcasters are currently in discussion with twofour54 regarding the acquisition of rights.

The Arabic version of the show, which is currently being produced at the twofour54 intaj production and post-production facilities, has been created specifically for the Arab world and features animation relative to the region and live action footage of locally-cast children responding and play-acting to the story. Regional broadcasters have responded positively to the initial pilot episode, with the Arabic version scheduled for completion and ready for broadcast before the end of the year.

This new deal opens up tremendous opportunities for the Arabic publishing industry, as it will enable Arabic publishers and artists to work with one of the biggest names in international publishing on an exciting series of books. Plans include securing an Arabic publishing partner, mass market distribution as well as developing books for the educational market and an initiative based on the importance of literacy.

With over 7000 staff operating in more than 80 countries, Macmillan Publishers Ltd is one of the largest and best known international publishing groups in the world. Macmillan Children’s Books is a division of Pan Macmillan, which is the trade publishing arm of Macmillan Publishers. It is owned by Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH, one of the world’s leading media companies focused on print and electronic media. It is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany and owns around 40 companies apart from Macmillan. Its interests include book, magazine and newspaper publishers and new media firms.

Commenting on the publishing deal, Wayne Borg, COO, twofour54 said: “Macmillan is an ideal partner for twofour54. They have a proven track record within the publishing industry, have a real passion for story-telling and share our aim of making ‘Driver Dan’s Story Train’ a leading, global pre-school brand. This deal will play a key role in increasing the amount of high quality, Arabic content being produced in the region, for the region.”

Macmillan is a winner of several major children’s book prizes including the Nestle prize, the Kate Greenaway medal, Blue Peter and Early Years Awards. “Having taken the decision to enter the licensed arena, we have been determined to wait for the right project,” explained Suzanne Carnell, Publishing Director of Illustrated Publishing. “We are in no doubt that ‘Driver Dan’s Story Train’ is not only the right project, but the perfect one. We have the genuine passion and commitment to focus on Story Train as the first key licensed brand in our preschool publishing and are excited about working with twofour54 to make Driver Dan a global brand.”

Back to news press listing