`Chhota Bheem` rakes in mega-bucks for creators

Mumbai: Iconic Indian television cartoon characters Chhota Bheem and Mighty Raju spell big bucks for its creators, Green Gold Animation Pvt Ltd.

"With a viewership of over 40 million children, Chhota Bheem is the biggest `Toon Icon` in India. First time, we also have a `desi` animation character that can be merchandised," said Green Gold Stores chief Sudeesh Varma.

The first Indian company to launch toon merchandise store chains, it now plans to aggressively expand its exclusive licensing and merchandising division Green Gold Store across India, an official said here Monday.

Accordingly, it will set up 23 new Green Gold Stores, totalling to 50 (including 27 existing) this year to cater to the growing demands from the children who are the biggest fans of Chhota Bheem.

Besides Chhota Bheem and Mighty Raju, the company also owns other hit toon brands like `Krishna Balram`, `Luv Kush` and `Chorr Police`, which are popular on the merchandise front with its first store launched in Hyderabad in 2011, he said.

Starting with just two outlets and a 10-strong merchandise product line of only 10, it is now a 27 stores all India company with over 200 products in barely two years, and marching onto 50 by March 2014, Varma added.

Next year, it has another big offering up its sleeve -- the May 2014 release of `Mighty Raju Rio Calling` for which it will introduce jazzy new merchandise, said Samir Jain, executive director, Green Gold Stores assured.

While the toy and merchandise industry in India dominated by the unorganized sector, the trend is shifting with many players entering the fray.

"Industry estimates put the Licensing & Merchandising is a $225 to $300 million industry in India and growing at the rate of 20 percent to 25 percent annually. We are optimistic about expanding the overall product range and building on it," says Madhav Prabhala, Vice President Sourcing & Licensing, Green Gold Stores.


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