iQIYI Expands Its International Footprint, Announcing Its Animation, Deer Squad Airing on Nickelodeon in the US
iQIYI, Inc., an innovative market-leading online entertainment service in China, announced that its original CG-animated series in collaboration with Nickelodeon International and VIS Kids, a division of ViacomCBS International Studios, Deer Squad, will premiere on Nickelodeon in the U.S. on January 25th, 2021. The airing of Deer Squad in the US market is a testament to the high quality of this iQIYI original animation and marks the successful entry of Chinese animation into an international market.
An adventure-rescue animation, Deer Squad tells the story of four lovable, enthusiastic and heroic deer friends Kai, Lola, Rammy and Bobbi, who protect the animals of Central Forest and the humans who inhabit Platinum City, a futuristic metropolis surrounding their woodland home. When there’s trouble, the Deer summon their Planet Powers and transform into a team that can solve problems using their Planet Powers of Water (Kai), Wood (Lola), Earth (Bobbi) and Sun (Rammy). The animation series premiered on iQIYI on July 15, 2020 and was the most played show on the Chinese internet for seven consecutive weeks among all animations aired in the past four months.
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Nickelodeon International aired Deer Squad across Asia in August 2020, including on iQIYI’s platform in China. The show premiered in Australia, New Zealand and the UK later in the year. It was the #1 show in the Philippines amongst kids 2-141, ranked Nick Jr. as the #1 STV channel in Australia among kids 0-4 during Deer Squad premieres2 and averaged +148% in the UK compared to the timeslot benchmark3. It is scheduled to air in Europe and Africa in March 2021.
Created with a global audience in mind, Deer Squad is a successful attempt for iQIYI to enter the international animation market with its own animation IP. iQIYI initiated the cooperation with the Nickelodeon International and ViacomCBS International Studio (VIS) Kids teams, collaborating throughout the entire production process and providing crucial feedback to help bridge the cultural gap between Chinese and international audiences. This innovative in-depth collaboration model has provided new avenues and possibilities for domestic animation to travel beyond its own shores.
In terms of production values, Deer Squad was benchmarked against the highest international standard in order to perfect the show’s screenplay, character design, animation effects and other aspects, which will be key to its success in the competitive international market.
Yang Xiaoxuan, Vice President of iQIYI and Head of Original Animation and Investment said, “Deer Squad is a major breakthrough for iQIYI’s development of original children’s animation, creatively supervised by Nickelodeon. We appreciate Nickelodeon’s international broadcasting strategy on the show, and it is great news that we have achieved No.1 in viewership in many regions. We hope that there will be more Chinese original animations to go international.”
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“We first partnered with iQIYI on the series with a worldwide audience in mind. We’re incredibly proud to see this original pre-school series become the first global Chinese-originated collaborative project as we further our commitment to developing kids-first content from around the world,” said Nina Hahn, Senior Vice President of International Production & Development for Nickelodeon International and Head of VIS Kids.
iQIYI has been expanding its global resources and partnerships in the children’s animation space in recent years, working with renowned animation houses to provide premium content. In the future, iQIYI will deliver on its commitment of creating high-quality and original IPs and look to further expand its IP industry chain by hosting events and developing spin-offs and merchandise. These initiatives will allow the Company to realize the full commercial value of its IPs while simultaneously enhancing the children’s content industry and boosting the international competitiveness of Chinese-made original animation.
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