Spongebob Subpants, Courtesy of Nickelodeon and Moody Gardens.

Spongebob Subpants, Courtesy of Nickelodeon and Moody Gardens.

Drawing up a franchise roadmap that strategically plots out a plan will help you identify the many partners required to get your property noticed and out to audiences.

A franchise roadmap can be created at any time as you develop a property for pitching and or production. It should be considered as a living document that must be updated throughout the journey of bringing a property to market while building a brand.  A comprehensive roadmap illustrates the interconnectivity of all elements to be juggled as a property comes to life in its various forms. Each project has its unique areas to track based on where it starts and where it is going.

The following is a listing of key components that must be set up and tracked for all projects:


• Development-to-production timeline for the main form of content

• To-market plan for the sales/financing and distribution of the show

• Marketing, including project-specific website, advertising, and social media outreach campaigns

• Promotional partnerships

• Tracking of game, its outreach plan and timing (if applicable)

• Licensing plan including key markets and conventions to attend

For each property, the various elements included should be tailored and scheduled according to how evolved the brand may be. The franchise plan for a new original property would be very different from that of an established brand which would most likely already have content extensions such as merchandise, a website, or possibly a game in progress. If a game is already in place, tracking game-specific promotions, spin-offs, and/or special events alongside the development and production of your show is very important as each can be used to generate brand excitement in order to curate more partnerships.

The following roadmap represents the foundational content that is based on a pre-existing mobile game. The game would have ongoing fan events as illustrated. Each game is unique (tone/demo, etc.) so the events on the sample chart should simply be considered as placeholders to be tailored accordingly.

An animated show is being adapted from the original game IP. It is a ten-episode (20 × 11- minute segments) 2D series. The plan assumes that the development materials are already in place and, therefore, the schedule reflects the series launch with the sales/financing steps needed in order to ramp-up and finance the production.

As a brand-building initiative, the plan illustrates the need/implementation of multiple content elements to be set up in the marketplace in advance of the show’s distribution. These include some form of digital marketing/interactive content produced in advance of the show for marketing purposes. It also assumes that the property, in its initial format as a game, is strong enough to warrant licensors to produce and distribute various forms of merchandise.

Note the various year-round industry markets and conventions outlined that are opportunities for producers to meet with potential partners/financiers/licensors for a property.

Producing Animation