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CBS folds film dept. to focus on streaming

Films will be folded into CBS Entertainment Group over the next 12 months, according to Variety.

In the meantime, the company will release its next four scheduled films in theaters: Five Feet Apart, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Pavarotti and Lexi. Several of these movies are being distributed through the company’s partnership with Lionsgate.

After the last of these films debuts in cinemas, CBS will shift toward finding content for the company’s streaming services. These platforms could include CBS All Access, the media conglomerate’s initial entry into the streaming space, but there is no official statement.

Terry Press, president, CBS Films, is expected to continue to lead the division. CBS Films’ name will stay on CBS Films releases.

“As part of our ongoing optimization of CBS operations, CBS Films will be folded into the larger CBS Entertainment Group throughout 2019,” says CBS Corporation via statement. “This will allow the company to further focus its entertainment resources on its television, digital and streaming businesses. We are grateful for the continued leadership of Press and the passionate efforts of everyone at CBS Films.”

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/industry-news/cbs-folds-film-dept-focus-streaming


You Can Help Shape the Licensing Industry

Apply for the LIMA Board of Directors
Deadline February 8, 2019

Are you passionate about brands and consumer products?   Would you like to share your skills and expertise with a group of other leading licensing professionals who are shaping the industry for future generations?  We’re looking for diverse new voices to fill several openings on the LIMA Board of Directors. Board Members have an opportunity to:

  • Engage with other industry thought leaders who want to make a difference
  • Help drive the decision making that affects the overall industry
  • Have a stronger voice and increased visibility in the licensing industry
  • Give back to the community while growing your professional network

If you wish to be considered for nomination or know someone who would make an excellent candidate for a Board position, we encourage you to submit an application. To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a current active LIMA member and been involved in the licensing industry for at least five years
  • Have participated in at least one LIMA activity during the past three years (for example, serving on a Committee or as a speaker/panelist at a LIMA-produced event)

To apply, send an email to Maura Regan, President, info@licensing.org detailing your qualifications, areas of interest, and what you feel you can contribute to LIMA and the larger industry as a Board Member.

Applications must be received by February 8, 2019.

Thank you for your interest, and Happy New Year!


Ciarán Coyle, Chairman
LIMA Nominating Committee


CES Notes: A Monster Move, Fashion Brands, Mascots Revamped

From fashion brands woven into electronics gear and time-honored labels revived for gaming and notebook PCs to companies adopting new designs for their mascots and strategies for their products, there were ample changes being made in licensing at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.


Monster Products Adopts Licensing Strategy

Monster Products, long known for developing, designing and sourcing its own high-end speakers, cables and accessories, furniture and other IL01122CESstoryMonsterCableproducts, is now licensing those categories Xtreme Cables/Jem Accessories will launch a full line of Monster HDMI cables, surge protectors, automotive accessories and other products starting this summer. The broad rollout of products follows a six-month exclusive Xtreme had at Walmart for Monster branded products (LED strips, automotive accessories had had last at Walmart, says Xtreme’s Elie Chemtob. Xtreme will position the Monster brand at a premium to its own Xtreme brand cables, surge protectors and other products, which are typically opening price point items, says Chemtob. Monster’s change in strategy follows several years of mounting losses and declining sales after the 2014 sale of Beats Electronics to Apple; Monster had designed and distributed. Beats headphones, speakers and other products, but Apple took that over.


Mascots Getting New Look

To meet a younger audience and the digital age, brand mascots Nipper and Chipper (for the RCA brand) and the Energizer Bunny are getting a make-over. The Energizer Bunny is being recast in an animated version and prepped for licensing, says Linda Morgenstern of Beanstalk, which handles licensing for Energizer. Licensee Funko is developing an Energizer vinyl figure and Beanstalk will seek agreements in apparel and other categories. The remake of the Energizer Bunny is part of redesigned packaging – the first makeover in a decade — for products to be rolled out this year. Nipper and Chipper also were redone for animation and the RCA logo has been redesigned to mark the brand’s 100th anniversary this year, says Claire Villeneuve of Technicolor, which owns the brand and is positioning the mascots for licensing in plush, t-shirts, bags and other products.


Fashion Brands Taking on New Style in Electronics

The fashion world gained some visibility at CES, with the brands of Hearst’s Elle and designer Isaac Mizrahi applied to electronic accessory ranges.

IMG_0038Sakar is readying Elle “Classy Chic” Bluetooth headphones and “All About the Ears” earbuds; beads that double as a cellphone charger cable; and a lipstick case and mirror that can serve as power banks. The Elle products are priced at a slight premium to similar products under Sakar’s own brands.

MiWorld’s Isaac Mizrahi line includes cellphone covers, headphones, ear buds and charger cables and will be targeted to department stores where Mizrahi apparel is sold, says MiWorld’s Judah Uziel. “If you look at Michael Kors, Coach and Fendi” all of which have higher priced electronics accessories, “smartphones and other items are part of everyone’s life and viewed as a fashion extension of the consumer,” says Uziel. MiWorld also fields Bebe headphones and cellphone cases.


What’s in a Name?

Technicolor and Curtis International were at odds over Technicolor’s display of the Thomson brand (marketed mostly outside the U.S. — at its booth. Curtis, which is a licensee for Technicolor’s RCA (TVs and appliances) and Proscan (TV and audio) brands, had also applied the Thomson label to a refrigerator and ice chest displayed at its booth and showed a Thomson sign alongside those for its other licensed brands. The only problem is, says Technicolor’s Claire Villeneuve, Curtis doesn’t yet have a license for the Thomson brand. A Curtis spokesman said product plans haven’t been set and declined further comment.

source: https://www.licensing.org/inside-licensing/ces-notes-a-monster-move-fashion-brands-mascots-revamped/

Rubik’s sells minority stake


Rubik’s Brand, the London-based brand that holds the rights to the Rubik’s cube, has sold a minority stake to European private equity firm Bancroft Investment.

RBL was created by the founding families of the original Rubik’s brand in 2013.

In the last five years, RBL has rolled out a licensing program that has led to collaborations with companies including Google, Red Bull and McDonald’s.

Bancroft’s investment will help the group to further the global awareness of the Rubik’s brand through new channels, products and markets. Christoph Bettin will serve as the company’s new chief executive officer.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/industry-news/rubiks-sells-minority-stake

ManU opens clubs in China

Manchester United, in partnership with Chinese property developer Harves, will open a series of club-themed entertainment and experience centers throughout China.


The first Manchester United Entertainment and Experience Centers are scheduled to open in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang by the end of 2020. They will use interactive attractions and exhibitions to bring the excitement of Manchester United and its Old Trafford stadium to the iconic club’s 100 million followers in China, giving fans a place to celebrate the team.

The Beijing center will be located within the Beijing FUN development, in the historic Qianmen Dashilan area right next to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

Each venue will feature interactive and immersive experiences, using state-of-the-art technology to bring Manchester United to life. Visiting fans will be able to experience the thrill of a matchday at Old Trafford as well as learn the history and heritage of ManU.

Each Manchester United Entertainment and Experience Center will offer visitors a different experience and will include restaurants, along with a club retail store.

“We’re very excited to be partnering with Harves on the Manchester United Entertainment and Experience Centers concept, offering our millions of Chinese fans the chance to experience the club in a new and innovative way,” says Richard Arnold, managing director, Manchester United. “We first visited China in 1975, and we’re proud to have seen our fan base in the region grow and develop their passion for United over the years. This new concept will allow them to get closer to the club they love.”

“Harves is honored to partner with Manchester United and bring our property development expertise in the creation of these centers,” says Bo Zhang, chief executive officer, Harves. “They were the first club to broadcast games in China, and I can remember setting my alarm to watch the best players in the world play. Manchester United was also the first to tour China and the first to host fan events in the country. But they are so much more than a football club. They are always striving for excellence in the way they approach life. We are excited to bring the rituals and emotions of the Manchester United experience to the youth in China, capturing what it feels like to be a member of this elite club. Rooted in its unique approach to training, its storied legacy and leadership and its status as the most successful club in the world, we will create a fully immersive experience that entertains, educates and inspires the next generation of football fans.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/sports/manu-opens-clubs-china

Holiday sales top $850 billion!

Holiday sales increased 5.1 percent to more than $850 billion in 2018, according to Mastercard’s latest Mastercard SpendingPulse report.

According to the report, which tracks retail spending trends across all payment types including cash and check, the uptick was the most substantial growth in six years.

Online shopping increased by 19.1 percent year over year.

“From shopping aisles to online carts, consumer confidence translated into holiday cheer for retail,” says Steve Sadove, senior advisor, Mastercard and former chief economic officer and chairman, Saks Incorporated. “By combining the right inventory with the right mix of online versus in-store, many retailers were able to give consumers what they wanted via the right shopping channels.”

Holiday retail highlights include:

  • Apparel performed well with a growth rate of 7.9 percent over 2017, the category’s best growth rate since 2010. Apparel sales experienced strong momentum from the back-to-school season through Christmas.
  • Home improvement spending grew across the U.S. and increased 9 percent over the holiday season. The trend started before the holiday period and continued through the end of 2018.
  • The amount spent on electronics and appliances fell 0.7 percent.
  • The home furniture and furnishing categories grew by 2.3 percent.
  • Department stores saw a 1.3 percent decline year over year, which follows two years of gains under 2 percent. Online growth for department stores measured at 10.2 percent.

Weather impacted some shoppers. On Black Friday, cold weather struck the East Coast, and wet weather affected both the West and East Coasts on the weekend of Dec. 15-16. Storms also impacted the East Coast on Dec. 21, potentially affecting sales.

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LIMA to Induct Michael Stone and Pam Lifford into Licensing Hall of Fame

The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) today announced that Michael Stone, Chairman and Co-founder of Beanstalk, and Pam Lifford, President of Warner Bros. Global Brands & Experiences, are the 2019 inductees to the LIMA Licensing Hall of Fame. This year’s Hall of Fame Induction will take place on June 4, at the LIMA Licensing Awards Ceremony during Licensing Expo 2019 in Las Vegas.

“LIMA is proud to celebrate these two widely respected licensing veterans who have dedicated their careers to driving the success of licensing among the broader business community,” said LIMA President, Maura Regan. “Michael has been instrumental in the evolution of brand extension licensing as a highly effective corporate strategy and Pam is responsible for the domestic and international licensing of some of the most highly regarded entertainment franchises in the world. Their recognition in the Licensing Hall of Fame is well-deserved.”

Headshot ColorMichael Stone

Michael Stone is the chairman and co-founder of Beanstalk, an Omnicom-owned, global brand extension licensing agency and consultancy. Beanstalk is the recipient of 23 LIMA Awards and is responsible for some of the most successful licensing programs of all time, including programs for Procter & Gamble, Stanley Black & Decker, Harley-Davidson, The Coca-Cola Company, HGTV, Diageo, and Mary-Kate and Ashley, among others. In addition to teaching the first graduate course in the country specifically on trademark licensing as an adjunct professor for Baruch University, as well as an undergraduate course at Long Island University Post, Stone is an authority on licensing and frequently contributes to Advertising Age, Adweek, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and other media outlets. Michael has recently authored his first book “The Power of Licensing: Harnessing Brand Equity”.

Untitled design (1) copyPam Lifford

Pam Lifford is president of Warner Bros. Global Brands & Experiences where she leads the alignment of large-scale brand and franchise strategies across the studio’s world-class characters and brands as well as overseeing Warner Bros. Consumer Products, DC, Themed Entertainment and a new Global Franchise team. Lifford’s vision for next-level development of fan-engagement drives the creation of business opportunities designed to reshape how Warner Bros. delivers fan-focused activities. Working in partnership with all divisions of the Studio, Lifford’s team ensures that every touchpoint for cross-company collaboration is maximized. Lifford joined Warner Bros. in 2016 as president of its Consumer Products division where she refocused the Division’s priorities and put strategies in place that increased the business by 47 percent in her first year alone. Prior to Warner Bros., Lifford held an executive leadership position at Disney and Quicksilver, Inc. as well as key roles at Road Runner Sports and Nike.


LIMA Awards 2.0 – Entry Submissions Open

The 2019 LIMA International Licensing Awards are going to be bigger and better than ever with a revamped online submission process, a judging panel made up of licensing executives from around the world and five new award categories, including Best Collaboration and a Newcomer Award. The submission period is now open, so head over to the brand-new LIMA Awards website to learn more about the categories and to start your entry. But hurry, because you only have until February 1, 2019 to throw your hat in the ring!

You can submit your entries here https://bit.ly/2F6THro

Spin Master is New DC Comics Licensee for Action Figures and More

Just before the holiday break, at a time when companies normally try to bury bad news, Spin Master announced that had signed a deal with Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) to be the DC global licensee for boys’ action figures, remote control and robotic figures, games, puzzles and water toys. The three-year deal is effective in Spring 2020.

Rights in most (if not all) of those categories have long been held by Mattel. Spin Master, Mattel and WBCP officials weren’t available for comment. Mattel has had licensing agreements with WBCP across a range of properties since 2002.

The agreement will give Spin Master access to the range of DC characters, including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Joker, Justice League and The Flash. It’s expected that Mattel will continue to hold rights for girls’ toys with the DC Super Hero Girls license and preschool.

Gerrick Johnson, toy industry analyst for BMO Capital Markets, issued a comment Monday noting that for Mattel, “Initially, this loss will not look good to the press or stock market, but the license is not important to [its] turnaround. We believe the segments lost represent less than $50 million in annual run rate sales, and an impact of under $0.05 per share. The core business is often augmented by movie tie-ins. However, over the past several years, movie tie-ins have not shown growth and have been mostly underperforming expectations….

“While [Mattel] has not commented,” he continues, “we suspect the company sees better growth opportunities and return in investment in its own brands. [Spin Master] did not comment of the cost of the license, but if Warner had demanded high royalty rates and minimum guarantees, it could have made sense for the company to walk away. Mattel can potentially re-bid for the license in three years when the company is on firmer footing, as we expect it to do with Disney Princess when that license is up for renewal.” Also up for renewal in 2020 are Hasbro’s pacts for Marvel and Star Wars.

For Spin Master, the pact is the most recent in a series of licensing deals it has signed this year, including one announced this fall with Feld Entertainment (Monster Jam).

Spin Master President Ben Gadbois said in a press release that the DC license marks a “major milestone” for the company and is part of its strategy to invest in “successful licenses” that “further grow and diversify our business.”

Crayola Colors in Chic-Fil-A

Crayola and Chick-fil-A have partnered for a promotional alliance.

Under the terms of the agreement, Crayola and Chick-fil-A will offer five toys including a Storybook Artist set, a Roll-n-Draw set, a Colorful Texture Safari kit, a Color Critter Box and a Crayola-gaming set.

Each meal also includes Crayola crayons and an offer for $10 in savings for use on Crayola.com. Crayola.com is hosting a micro-site to support the promotion, which will include two create-it-yourself holiday craft ideas. Signage and drive-thru signage will be featured in-restaurant.

The program will run through Dec. 18.