DHX Media Ltd. (TSX:DHX.B) didn't disclose financial details, but a spokesman said Burger King will pay a fee for the rights to use Slugterra as a way to attract customers to its restaurants.
The Slugterra toys are based on a program created by Vancouver-based animation studio Nerd Corps Entertainment, which has since been purchased by DHX Media. Season 3 begins appearing this summer and a fourth season has been approved.
Ken Faier, formerly president of Nerd Corp. and now general manager responsible for content and product development at DHX, said the Burger King deal was more than a year in the making.
"They're always looking for properties that can appeal either to a girl audience or a boy audience or looking for things that have a collectibility to it," Faier said.
The Slugterra toys — which are made specifically for Burger King by its own promotional organization — start appearing this week in the company's restaurants and will be available for up to six weeks, or until supplies run out.
"They handle all of the logistics," Faier said.
He added that one of Nerd Corp's reasons for joining DHX was its larger size and growing reach, with a variety of TV programming and toys based on characters such as the Teletubbies franchise.
"We felt that being an independent we can only go so far," Faier said.
DHX has been expanding its kid- and youth-oriented entertainment business beyond the creation and distribution of programs such as "Inspector Gadget," "Caillou" and the "Degrassi" franchise for teens and young adults.
It is also a growing presence in merchandising, including a Slugterra line of toys for traditional retailers produced in partnership with Jakks Pacific.
DHX has also acquired Family and other Canadian specialty channels that were formerly part of the Astral lineup, providing a means to distribute programming.
The company releases its next quarterly financial report on Thursday.
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