Are Podcasts Licensing White Space?

barstool sports Joe Rogan Mad Engine Bioworld Licensing Ineratioal podcasts

The statistics are stunning.

There are 850,000 podcasts in the U.S. and 40 million episodes, up from 550,000 and 18.5 million, two years earlier. And 51% of the U.S. population — 62 million — have listened to a podcast; 22% do it at least weekly. Some of the programs are little more than radio and TV show replays, but there’s also a huge universe of original content with devoted followings.

Does all this content constitute a merchandise licensing business opportunity?

Sniffing around
Some in the licensing world have been sniffing around the category. Evolution USA is close to signing a book deal for Popular Science’s “The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week,” which has 30,000 weekly listeners with product potentially for 2021, says CEO Travis Rutherford. What makes podcasts potential fodder for licensing is their shear breadth from sports and cooking to DIY, politics and everything in between. And with a relatively low cost of entry and in many cases, very targeted audiences, potential opportunities abound.

One attractive statistic: the lucrative 12-34-year-old age group accounts for 49% of the audience. It’s more of a thing in the U.S. than anywhere else, though there are pockets of popularity across the globe.

Niche Opportunities
Many of podcasts are viewed by those who are scoping out the category as niche licensing opportunities better suited to specialty than mass.

That’s not to say they have small fan bases. For example, podcast personality Joe Rogan and “The Joe Rogan Experience,” which had 190 million downloads in 2019, is taking the show and 11 seasons of content exclusively to Spotify starting in September in a deal valued at $100 million. The high-profile podcast is being sought by some retailers more for its logo for apparel than for its content, say licensees.

And then there are other top-ranked podcasts that are prime for licensing. such as Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” and “Fake Doctors, Real Friends Zach and Donald,” which features “Scrubs” actors Zach Bratt and Donald Faison recapping the series that ran for nine seasons on NBC between 2001-2010.

Some podcast publishers such as Barstool Sports and Crooked Media (publishers of Pod Save America and others) sell merch off their websites, with goods featuring logos and catchphrases.

“Podcasts are another online platform that consumers have a connection to, similar to those forged with TikTok, YouTube and other influencers, and many of them could  fill a niche and do quite well,” said one licensing agency executive whose firm has been evaluating the category.

But licensing might be “extremely limited to logos, so the longevity might not be there,” says Mad Engine’s Dean Allen, who has fielded requests from retailers for Joe Rogan. And since podcasts, unlike films and TV and streaming series, don’t have visual content, it makes them better suited for categories such as publishing, board games and food products.

“The content is definitely licensable, and while the IP might be limited there is an opportunity and white space to grow,” says Bioworld’s Jason Mayes.


Manchester City, FAZE Clan Kick-Off Fashion Collab

Manchester City Football Club has unveiled a new limited-edition product collaboration with esports organization FaZe Clan.

After formally announcing a strategic partnership at the start of the current season, City and FaZe Clan will extend their relationship into a second year with plans already in place for the 2020/21 season.

“Manchester City’s partnership with FaZe Clan has strengthened our extensive esports offering and allowed us to further explore how fans are experiencing football beyond the pitch,” says Nuria Tarre, chief marketing officer, City Football Group. “Fans have embraced this partnership as it has allowed them to combine their passions for football and gaming in ways that have never been seen before in football. We have ambitious plans for the next year of our partnership, and we can’t wait to reveal these to fans in the coming months.”

The capsule collection merges Manchester City and FaZe Clan’s branding and crests and includes a t-shirt, hoodie, shorts and a collectable half-and-half scarf. FaZe and City have also teamed up with FaZe’s partner SCUF to create limited-edition FaZe x Manchester City-themed game controllers that will be given away to fans.

“Going into year two of our relationship with Manchester City, we expect great things ahead as we bring new opportunities and experiences for our collective communities of passionate fans,” says Lee Trink, chief executive officer, FaZe Clan.

The limited-edition product range is available now via


Now catch em ALL on Nintendo Switch

Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and ceo of The Pokémon Company, unveiled Pokémon UNITE during a Pokémon Presents video presentation on June 24.

The game is headed to Nintendo’s Switch platform which should make its 57 million strong users very happy.

The new cross platform title is being developed in partnership with Tencent Games’ TiMi Studios

Pokémon UNITE will be the first strategic Pokémon team battle game. Players face off against each other in five-on-five team battles. During these battles, players will cooperate with teammates to catch wild Pokémon, level up and evolve their own Pokémon. They will need to defeat their opponents’ Pokémon while trying to earn more points than the opposing team within the allotted time. Pokémon UNITE will be free-to-start reports LicensingSource.Net

After US success, Mask Club launched in the UK

LicensingSource.Net reports that after selling 1 million masks in the US, Trevco the company known for producing fashion accessories, has launched MaskClub in the UK.

The company which launched as soon as the Covid-19 virus was getting a grip in the US, set up the site in a record 4 days, is now set to serve the UK market with its model of delivering masks as a standalone product or as part of a subscription plan. The company boasts of a wide selection of masks from the 800+ brands it does business with from Popeye and Power Puff Girls for adults to Care Bears and Teen Titans Go! for kids.


“These are confusing times,” said Trevor George, founder of MaskClub. “We want to help families make the situation a little better, and hopefully brighter, by featuring beloved brands that resonate with children and making the act of mask-wearing less intimidating.

“By outfitting the whole household, children will hopefully find the act of mask-wearing less scary when seeing their parents wear it.”

Midsummer Madness as Rubik’s Cube Fans Set to Break a Guinness World Record

The world’s most popular single toy (which boasts of a huge fan following in India as well), is celebrating 40 years since it became a global phenomenon. To enhance the festivities, it is inviting fans to participate in the world’s ‘most viewers for a Rubik’s Cube solving lesson live stream on YouTube’ on Thursday June 25 2020. The free to enter digital event will be hosted by the renowned speedcuber, Maryland USA-based Keaton Ellis, aged 22, who will host the event on Rubik’s YouTube channel.

Rubik’s brand CEO, Christoph Bettin, speaking from the London headquarters said, “While the Rubik’s Cube is phenomenally popular, played by more than one billion people, we know that many struggle to solve the puzzle, so we want to change this conundrum. What better than to have a top speedcuber give a live lesson online where anyone can participate. The fact that we are likely to break a Guinness World Records title too is an added bonus.”

Those wishing to join in the fun are encouraged to join the live stream on Rubik’s Youtube channel where they will see details of the live digital event taking place at 8:00 PM UK-time on Thursday June 25. Participants can register here for an event reminder.

The event is aimed at complete beginners but participants are encouraged to look at the solution guides that can also be downloaded from the Rubik’s website.

Christoph Bettin added, “There were 9,024 new ‘how to do the Rubik’s Cube’ tutorials posted on YouTube between June 12019 and May 31 2020. In addition, there has been exceptional interest in solving the cube during the lockdown period as the popularity in puzzles generally has soared.”

To Participate

Join the live stream on Rubik’s YouTube Channel here.

If you would like a reminder, you can register here in advance. Please visit the Rubik’s website ( for further information.

The event will take place globally at 8:00PM (UK time) on Thursday June 25 2020 and is free for all participants.

Local times:

IST 12:30 am // UK – 8pm // ET3pm 

Rubik’s website and social links:

Rubik’s Website:

Rubik’s Twitter:

Rubik’s Instagram:

Rubik’s YouTube:

Rubik’s TikTok:

Photo –
Logo –

SOURCE Rubik’s Brand Ltd

Get under cover the tokidoki way!

Born in Italy and crafted out of California, the global pop-culture brand tokidoki recently announced its collaboration with Chennai based company Cover It Up to offer a range of mobile accessories, with a focus on mobile cases decked out in tokidoki’s signature art.

tokidoki, which translates to “sometimes” in Japanese, is an internationally recognized and iconic lifestyle brand based on the vision of Italian artist Simone Legno and his partners, serial entrepreneurs Pooneh Mohajer and Ivan Arnold.

To make the deal even sweeter all products are currently being offered at a flat 50% discount.

“We are so excited to expand our business in India by launching fun and fashionable mobile phone accessories with industry leader Cover It Up ,” said tokidoki Co-Founder and CEO, Pooneh Mohajer.

Commenting on the partnership, Ronak Sarda, Founder, Cover It Up Studios has this to say “while adding our unique signature to the tokidoki, we are very excited to launch the first set of products. There’s so much colour,characters and life in the art style. It is one of our favourite collaborations and over the next few months we will be launching a lot of limited edition accessories. The product development team is already working on the second set of designs!”



“Finding a great partner key to success in licensing”

Global Icon’s Jeff Lotman’s keynote at Licensing Week Virtual was a trip down memory lane. He summarized his journey in licensing from the early years when people thought it was about “dogs & marriages” to present day, when brands are waking up to the power of this “invisible marketing” force capable of delivering its bang for the buck. His key note was filled with anecdotal references and salutations for some of his favourite partnerships and licensing programs.

Riffing off his latest book release “Invisible Marketing – A hidden tool for connecting with customers through licensing” While some executions worked brilliantly for the brand, others left consumers confused and dis-satisfied. For example: California Pizza Kitchen’s frozen pizzas and Burger King venturing into frozen foods

His advice was that brand extensions need to deliver equal or better quality.

According to Lotman, sometimes you have to turn down opportunities to maintain the brands credibility in the marketplace. He shared an example of Wolfgang Puck who turned down a potentially very lucrative deal to do kitchen furniture as it didn’t fit in with his brand DNA and core proposition.

He gave examples of brands like Arm & Hammer, Caterpillar and Mustang who successfully managed to deliver brand extentions that re-inforced the core brand proposition and won the consumers heart & wallet.

He also talked about how Licensors should always be “Mining for Gold” or “Finding the White Space” to maximise return on their efforts. One such example which would be worth considering by Indian poultry brands is “diaper wrapping” of meat products and how branding the same could make so much of a difference.

Another great example of a product which found its winning formula was Crockpots which when it was released as a range of seasonings got displayed in a different place in the supermarket altogether and saw an impact on sales.

He stressed on the importance of finding the Right Partner to work with and create the right mix for the consumer. Its not about the short-term revenue but the long-term partnership. He implored licensors to support their licensees, as they were the ones doing the hard-work to build the brand.

Finally, he touched on the importance of having a proper contract in place to support the “hand-shakes” at coffee shops.

“70% of organisations have Mad Men type office prototypes”

Netflix’s Director of Inclusion and author of The Fix, Michelle Kim’s no-holds-barred keynote at the Licensing Week Virtual sent out a clear message to leaders in corporates of all sizes, the time has come to ensure equality in offices. She talked about how companies can flourish if they encourage an open and transparent culture in the work place.

She cited many examples and case studies from her book “The Fix” to show how the future of work does not have to be tyrannical and a boss-employee type relationship but a more healthier one among equals. Given that the World Economic Forum predicts, post-Covid, 60% of all jobs will change on account of the introduction of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning & Internet of things, companies that do not adapt could face extinction. Even global brands like Netflix need to stay nimble and function like start-ups with active feedback loops and have their finger on the pulse of what employees are saying and feeling vis a vis their jobs. She said that it was unfair that women were still paying a “performance tax” and had to work much harder just to be considered equal to their male counterparts.

She advised leadership across organizations to live their principles and walk the talk. Ms. King highlighted the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s workstyle as one worth emulating. Her policy of practicing “kindness” has percolated down to all her team members which is an ideal outcome.

She ended on a cautionary note to senior male leadership that the time for equality had come and it was time to end the “Don Draper” style of leadership and embrace equality.

City Football Group introduces CityZens giving for recovery twelve month global campaign

City Football Group (CFG) has today introduced Cityzens Giving For Recovery, a 12-month recovery campaign bringing together its nine clubs, thousands of staff, players and coaches, and millions of fans, to help communities get back on their feet.
CFG is the world’s leading private owner and operator of football clubs. It is best known for its ownership of English Premier League Champions, Manchester City FC, and also comprises New York City FC in the US, Melbourne City FC in Australia, J-League champions, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Montevideo City Torque in Uruguay, Girona FC in Spain, Sichuan Jiuniu FC in China, Mumbai City FC in India and Lommel SK in Belgium.
CFG has been supporting the emergency COVID-19 response for the past three months, through almost £1,000,000 of donations, in-kind support and loaning of facilities.
As football all around the world prepares to restart, CFG is now aiming to deliver a minimum of another £1,000,000 of funding and support through Cityzens Giving for Recovery, which will focus the Group’s donations, expertise, facilities, resources and voice, on making a positive difference to the recovery of its communities globally.
CFG will action this through its clubs, its staff, its players, coaches and fans. In Mumbai, Cityzens Giving For Recovery through Mumbai City FC will be supporting the Oscar Foundation, a football for development non-profit dedicated to empowering children and youth in low-income communities in India. Headquartered in Mumbai, the Oscar Foundation have impacted the lives of 12,000+ children and youth over the last nine years, across Mumbai, Delhi, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand.
With the Oscar Foundation, the aim is to build digital education centres so children can access online education – from schools and their young leaders – and address the risk for children when social distancing is implemented in schools. It is suggested that up to 60% of children in their communities will lose contact with face to face education as a result of the pandemic and help bridge this divide.
Ferran Soriano, Chief Executive of City Football Group, said:
“Front line workers around the world have heroically responded to the immediate threat of COVID-19. At CFG, we have been privileged to play our own small part in helping to address that immediate threat. Now is the time for us to look forward, committing to meeting our responsibility to help our communities recover. For the first time, we are harnessing the global resources of our nine clubs, our entire network of offices, staff, players and coaches to focus our efforts on recovery. This multi-faceted campaign is going to use our expertise, our facilities, our platform and our voice to help people and our communities to heal and recover. And we will do it together. We are calling on our global community of Cityzens to help us to give and to help as many people as we can to recover.”
For more information about the Cityzens Giving For Recovery projects, please visit including terms and conditions for the matching fund, which runs until 31st August 2020.

Consumers, Brands and Retailers: Adapting in the New Reality

Licensing Week Virtual kicked off Monday, June 15, offering a host of informative talks and seminars.

Allison Ames, president and chief executive officer, Beanstalk, led a dynamic discussion, “Consumers, Brands and Retailers: Adapting in the New Reality,” about the present and future state of retail, branding and consumer behavior. Panelists included Michael Stone, chairman and co-founder, Beanstalk; Stephanie Wissink, managing director, Jefferies; and Rob Gaige, managing partner, Q, Sparks & Honey.

The group dissected the complicated yet unavoidable trend of brands taking a position with respect to social causes.

“Today, during the pandemic, consumers are expecting even more from brands,” said Stone. “For a long time now, there’s been a trend of consumers wanting their brands to take a positions on social or cultural or political issues of the day, and that trend has been growing… consumers now are really requiring that brands not only take positions on the health crisis today, but actually take action.”

Gaige identified the following three key trends among brands:

  • Brand as civil servant;
  • Brand activist; and
  • Digital immortality.

Wissink highlighted the increase in ways consumers could use their wallets to support their activism and the trend of companies rising up to take a clear stance on today’s most-pressing social issues.

Gaige noted consumers are turning back to reliance on experts in a trend he called, “The Rise of the Expert.” He also presented data that noted a shift from “community to castle,” where consumers are spending and investing in all things home.

Panelists also discussed how the Food and Beverage segment has been affected (both positively and negatively) by the pandemic, as well as the other categories that have seen a significant change, such as beauty, automotive and travel.

“Between restaurant licensed products that you could buy at the grocery store and alcoholic beverage licensed products that you could buy at the grocery store, these brands are learning how consumers can become entangled with the brand and engaged with the brand in ways that perhaps they didn’t realize before the pandemic,” Stone said.

“This crisis has absolutely challenged the status quo,” Ames added. “It’s empowered us to reevaluate things and come up with creative solutions and new opportunities, and I am certain together we are all going to rise to the challenge and emerge stronger.”

To learn more about the changes in digital, shopping behaviors and what brands should do to succeed in the post-COVID-19 climate, watch the full session after you have registered for Licensing Week Virtual.