Glu Mobile gets in the ring with WWE

Mobile games developer Glu Mobile has partnered with the WWE for the launch of “WWE Universe,” a video game available now on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

The game will allow fans to build and train their own WWE roster to challenge other players in the ring. It will feature a collection of more than 240 WWE superstars including The Rock, Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston, Ronda Rouseyand Andre the Giant.

“With a true passion for WWE and a best-in-class development team, Glu has created a unique mobile experience that will resonate with fans worldwide and enable them to further engage with our brand,” says Brian Flinn, chief marketing and communications officer, WWE.

The WWE brand has been leveraged for a variety of video games including the long-running 2K series.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/video-games/glu-mobile-gets-ring-wwe

From cable to fables – our chat with Sanjay Dhar, President, Amar Chitra Katha

Today I’m chatting with media veteran and dear friend Sanjay Dhar. Sanjay was instrumental in launching Turner International in India back in 2000 including Cartoon Network CNN and HBO. He’s worn multiple hats since then including that of VP biz Dev and sales at Pearl media, Co-founder of Clockwork Events, Co-founder and COO at outdoor advertising company Integrid Media and even ventured out on his own as part of a mobile start up LSD Media. Post that he ran Vipul Shah’s Sunshine Pictures for a while. He is currently serving as President at Amar Chitra Katha – home to some of the most famous characters in India including Shikhari Shambu and Suppandi from Tinkle and National Geographic – one of the most respected names in infotainment. Thanks for speaking with us at indialicensingpost Sanjay!

 

  1. Sanjay give us a little background on ACK’s strategy in India. Is it difficult lifting the weight of a legacy brand with so many hardcore fans? Does it impede you or give you the further impetus to innovate?

 

SD – Yes it is a gigantic legacy to carry, and also a little overwhelming sometimes, because of the millions of lives that Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle have touched over the last 50 plus years. But this enormous love and respect for the brands is also the source of our strength and inspires us to keep telling stories of and from India, in a style that is uniquely ours and that continues to inform, entertain and inspire, in spite of the overload of entertainment formats that are jostling to find a foothold in the consideration set of children and adults. Our growing sales of the same titles that we have been printing for the last 5 decades goes to prove that our storytelling style is timeless, and will always be relevant and loved by all age groups. Of course, we are constantly exploring options of making our stories available on more and more diverse platforms – like digital and video, and we do adapt our stories to better suit the experience that consumers of content expect from that platform, to ensure that we continue to satisfy the needs of our fans no matter where they see our content.

 

  1. Do you believe Indian media has come of age to support home grown ip? Given your background in media and connection with brands are you scouting for suitable partners to syndicate your content?

SD – Frankly, I think we still have some distance to cover in this regard. Things are definitely getting better, but even now getting fair value for our brand and content – be it through syndication or sponsored content or licensing tie-ups, continues to be a challenge in the absence of standard industry norms and practices. It is really a deal to deal situation.

 

When outsiders look at Indian characters from a licensing perspective – Chhota Bheem and Chuchu tv are the only names that seem to come to their lips. Does ACK plan to change this with its roster of characters? Any plans you can reveal to us?

SD – Yes, that is a question that is asked of us quite frequently. Without revealing too much, I can share that we are planning to make our presence felt in digital and video content world quite significantly in the coming days, and you should be hearing a lot of news in this area very soon, and very frequently, over the next few months.

According to the LIMA Licensing International study 2018, character licensing is around 46% of the $270 billion licensing

market at retail – 50% of this in the US alone. APAC delivers around 5-6%. Do you believe ACK can make its presence felt given its pedigree and loyalty from its fans globally?

SD – ACK and Tinkle has a significant number of fans worldwide, mostly in the Indian diaspora. Our first aim is to reach out to them and capitalize on our brand and characters as quickly as possible. That is the low hanging fruit. Subsequently, we are sure that given the timelessness of our stories and growing international interest in entertainment originating out of India, achieving a large fan following in the non-Indian audiences worldwide will not be difficult.

 

You have created some animation content around suppandi which is available on YouTube. What about other VOD platforms? Are you in discussions with any of them?

SD – Yes, we are. Hopefully you will hear some news on this front soon as well.

ACK mural

 

Are you seeking out licensing partners? What are your terms of engagement?

SD – We are always looking out for good licensing partners. We don’t have fixed terms of engagement as of now, we evaluate each proposal on the merit of the potential partner who has approached us, his areas of strength, and most importantly, how passionate he is about our brands. If these things are to our satisfaction, we are always willing to work on a win-win arrangement.

 

  1. How has Nat Geo been fairing in India? Does it help that you have a staunch following for this brand as well? Any figures you can reveal to us?

SD – Without revealing figures, I can share with you that, in an otherwise challenging magazine market, both our magazines – National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler are actually growing – both in circulation and ad sales. As a brand, National Geographic stands head and shoulders above all the rest, for it’s quality of content and readership, and is a major asset for us. And you said the magic word – loyal. That is something no amount of money can buy. You just have to be good enough to deserve it.

 

Nat Geo has a strong play globally and also an e-commerce store to sell memorabilia. However, the India site has products which are extremely expensive e.g. DVDs for $60+. Do you believe fans will shell out such money?

SD – Our knowledge of the consumer products is negligible so we would not be the right people to assess the potential of sales of such products.

 

2 questions before we wrap up,

    • now that Tantri the Mantri has ascended the throne, will he rule the 7 kingdoms wisely?
    • SD – your guess is as good as mine. Our editorial team is keeping the future episodes with Tantri as king very close to their chest, so my friend, I cannot help you much there. But keep reading Tinkle, as there are exciting times ahead, that much I can assure you
    • .
      Do President’s get to appear in a Tinkle strip?

SD – Only if the art director thinks the President has an interesting face. Since I haven’t made the cut so far, I think you can safely say that rank and designation don’t always make a difference.

Meredith sells Sports Illustrated to ABG

Sports Illustrated is now part of the Authentic Brands Group (ABG) portfolio after Meredith Corporation sold the intellectual property for $110 million.

ABG will assume the marketing, business development and licensing functions of the Sports Illustrated intellectual property and brand, while the print magazine and SI.com will maintain editorial independence as it continues to operate under the leadership of Meredith’s editor-in-chief Chris Stone and publisher Danny Lee.

“We’re thrilled that (ABG) and Meredith share the vision of SI management to build a premium sports platform,” says Chris Stone, editor-in-chief, Sports Illustrated. “In addition to continuing to produce independent, award-winning journalism and storytelling–what Jamie Salter has described as the heart of SI–we are now perfectly positioned, with the support and resources of ABG, to thrive in many other spaces: events and conferences, licensing, gambling and gaming, IP development, especially in video and TV, to name a few, all while continuing to benefit from Meredith’s industry-leading track record in operating media companies.”

According to ABG, the driving force behind this acquisition is to enhance the Sports Illustrated brand, not only bringing a new era for the magazine and digital platform, but to build a strategic broad-based licensing program for new products, content and live events.

“This strategic partnership brings a new approach to media brand development, and we’re excited to leverage Meredith and ABG’s respective strengths to enhance and build upon Sports Illustrated‘s undeniable value,” says John Zieser, chief development officer, Meredith. “We will also combine our world-class media platform and consumer audience with ABG’s brand development, marketing and licensing expertise to develop other media-driven opportunities across the company’s portfolio.”

The deal for the Sports Illustrated brand adds on to another recent sports-related company purchase from ABG. It recently acquired skateboarding and lifestyle brand Volcom earlier this year.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/publishing/meredith-sells-sports-illustrated-abg

First BT21 pop-up shop hits London

CPLG has brokered a deal with Bravado to create a pop-up shop offering a collection of BT21 merchandise.

The range will feature all eight BT21 characters including Koya, RJ, Shooky, Mang, Chimmy, Tata, Cooky and Van. Each item will be available at the secret pop-up location in Camden, London.

“BT21 is a global phenomenon, and bringing BT21 to customers in this first London pop-up will further drive BT21’s popularity and widen its appeal in the U.K.,” says Stacy Scimia, category and retail director, CPLG U.K. ” We are very excited about this pop-up shop launch and the range of bespoke BT21 London merchandise that we believe customers will love!”

BT21 is a new property created through a collaboration between Line Friends and global boy band BTS. The London pop-up follows a series of BT21 pop-up shops in Toronto, Canada.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/retailer-news/first-bt21-pop-shop-hits-london

‘Amazon is a fact of life, so find a way to work with it’

A panel of execs at Spring Fling talk retail challenges and brands breaking through.

Amazon is a fact of life and isn’t going to suddenly disappear overnight, so we all need to find a way to work with the e-commerce giant.

This was the message from a panel of experienced licensing industry executives, speaking as part of last week’s Spring Fling, organized by Licensing International.

Aysha Kidwai (consultant CMO, The Social Store); Rikesh Desai (licensing director, BBC Studios); Ian Downes (md, Start Licensing); Susan Bolsover (licensing and consumer products director, Penguin Ventures); and Rachel Wakley (general manager, UK & Ireland, Warner Bros. Consumer Products) – pictured from left to right with Kelvyn Gardner, UK md of Licensing International – were part of the traditional Question Time Panel which kicked off Spring Fling (held on Thursday May 23).

“Amazon is a fact of life,” commented Susan, “and they are not going to disappear overnight. They are absolutely driven by the customer experience and, until someone can come up with a different model, we all have to find a way to work with them.

“But they are also having to diversify what they do as a business – Amazon is no longer just a ‘retail service’.”

BBC Studios’ Rikesh said that, while Amazon was “super disruptive”, this is a good thing to have in any market as it starts to push boundaries and gets other retailers to notice.

The panel was also asked how smaller brands can break through and make an impact in the market.

“You can’t always work with the big players, so create events and opportunities that look at other areas,” offered Start Licensing’s Ian. “If you have good content, then someone will want it.

“Think about who the consumer is and who the retailer is; have the potential with your content to have something that others don’t have. But also don’t have licensing in isolation – it has to be a part of a wider mix of activities.”

Aysha was also a big advocate of thinking ‘outside the box’: “Don’t copy others. Think about your brand, why children like the show for example, and then deconstruct it and be smart about it. The product has to stand on its own.”

Ultimately, WBCP’s Rachel believes that, however the retail space plays out, our industry needs to be malleable and go where the consumer goes. “Our job is to be a service provider,” she said. “Wherever the consumer chooses to buy [the product] from is up to them.

“Also, think about why you’re talking to a particular retailer. What job is your brand doing to ensure the consumer’s shopping mission. Your brand isn’t an ego mission. Think about all of that and your conversation with retail becomes a lot easier.”

Source: https://www.licensingsource.net/amazon-is-a-fact-of-life-so-find-a-way-to-work-with-it/

The biggest licensing show on the planet is just around the corner!

it’s not too late to jump on a flight and head to the mecca of licensing LAS VEGAS! Sample the latest brands in the licensing space, meet new partners, and of course party till you drop! For more details click here – https://www.licensingexpo.com/

Licensing Expo 2019

Location

Mandalay Bay Convention Center
3950 So. Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, , NV 89119 United States

Date

June 04 – 06, 2019

Event Time

8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Tactics Change as Battle Against Counterfeits Moves Even More From Container Loads to Small Packages

As eCommerce and social commerce capture an increasing share of consumer purchase, the battle against counterfeit goods is extending from seizing container and planeloads of products to much smaller shipments. It’s an adjustment that brings into play new tracking and detection technologies, along with greater collaboration among law enforcement, brand owners, licensees and e-commerce platforms to detect them.

While DTC shipments from e-commerce websites come in all shapes and sizes, the smaller versions – “e-packets” weighing less than four pounds – are proving especially daunting, amid growing realization among counterfeiters that, compared to large shipments, there’s less risk involved and lower penalties if they’re caught.

To be sure, investigating and taking down sites selling counterfeit products remains a game of whack-a-mole — when one’s removed, another springs up. “The challenge,” says Bill Patterson of Op Sec Security, “is covering the different marketplaces, auction sites, and social media platforms. That requires companies to collect data from a variety of marketplaces and pull it into a platform that allows licensors to go over it in a way that isn’t overwhelming” and can ferret out the counterfeit products.

Growth of Counterfeits

The business of counterfeit goods, and its effect on legitimate brands and products is growing. According to a report released earlier two months ago by the London-based Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office, the value of imported fake goods worldwide (based on 2016 customs seizure data) at US$509 billion (3.3% of world trade), up from US$461 billion in 2013 (2.5% of world trade).

The report also notes that “Small parcels sent by post or express courier are a prime and growing conduit for counterfeit goods. Small parcels accounted for 69% of total customs seizures by volume over 2014-2016 (57% via post and 12% via courier), up from 63% over the 2011-2013 period.”

IMG - Inside LicensingThat increases the complexity of tracking and interrupting the flow of goods. “Before you could track a container and seize thousands of goods at a time. Now it is basically a flurry of small packages that are getting sent through, not these big ships, but through UPS, DHL and the U.S. Postal Service,” says IMG College Senior Counsel Lindsay Victor.  “That is a lot more difficult because now we are talking about millions of packages rather than container ships trying to get into a country. Before, we were saying [to U.S. Customs], flag anything if it is coming to this particular seller or had these types of characteristics. Now we are saying ‘flag it if it is coming in something that looks like a UPS box.’ That is not something that is as easily managed.”

The strategy is as much to disrupt the process as it is to seize goods, says Steven Shapiro, the FBI Unit Chief of Intellectual Property Rights, who heads the multi-agency National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center in Washington, DC. “The goal remains to get the source, but there are the points along the way, and any disruption we can make in this process adds one more barrier” to selling counterfeits.

Another disruption can come in the flow of payments. For example, the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) recently worked with MasterCard International to shut down the e-commerce site iOffer by cutting off its payment processing that was used to sell a range of counterfeit goods, at cut-rate prices. It’s part of IACC’s RogueBlock program which includes payment processing companies such as PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and others that work with counterfeit investigators.

Of course, lawsuits – IMG is about to file a 16th version of one that was first filed in 2013 in U.S. District Court, Chicago, to add new defendants – also are a major weapon. The suits frequently gain default judgments (when defendants don’t respond) within eight weeks, allowing the brands involved to get ownership of the offending domain name and access to any funds remaining in merchant accounts.

“A follow-the-money approach is always effective, because generally hundreds of sites are processed through the same merchant account, so that when you take one down you affect a significant amount of online counterfeit sales because the site can’t accept credit cards,” says Lara Miller, counsel and director of strategic planning at the IACC. In the case of iOffer, it re-appeared, but with less functionality, Miller said.

The flip side of counterfeit detection is authentication of legitimate products, where technologies such as RFID tagging – with tags sewn into garments themselves — and blockchain are playing increasing roles.

Authentication

Authenticity is a key element of the sports and entertainment memorabilia business, and authentication technology is playing a growing role there. At its Rookie Premier event this week, NFL Players Inc. will showcase a blockchain-based system (being tested with Fanatics jerseys and Panini trading cards) that would catalog digital images of authentic goods to be uploaded via an app to a distributed ledger, and tracked across the supply chain.

“We want to make sure this is seamless and integrated into the actual process,” says Casey Schwab, VP for Business and Legal Affairs for NFL Players Inc. “We want to be starting within the plant rather than starting outside of it and trying to form fit it in.”

Of course, a major concern among brand owners and their licensees are the major online platforms and their marketplaces, and the major sellers such as Amazon and Alibaba have more overtly acknowledged the need to be vigilant.

Amazon, for example, for the first time spotlighted counterfeiting in its recent annual report, listing it among the “risk factors” it faces. Earlier this year, Amazon launched Project Zero, a program that features a new tool that allows some sellers to automatically remove counterfeit goods without Amazon intervening. Previously brands had to report counterfeits to Amazon before the ecommerce giant investigated and took action. Project Zero is currently invite-only, but brands can sign up to be put on a waiting list to join.  Amazon has 2.5 million independent dealers in its Marketplace, who sell more than half the goods purchased on the site.

FBI - Inside LicensingThe Amazon effort acknowledges a problem that brand owners have long complained about. For example, the American Apparel & Footwear Association last fall recommended that some Amazon marketplace sites should be added to the Notorious Markets list — compiled annually by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative – because of their sales of counterfeits. But Amazon in a statement said that it “strictly prohibits the sale of counterfeit products and invests heavily – both funds and company energy – to ensure our policy against the sale of such products is followed.”

For its part, China’s Alibaba created an IP Protection portal for brands to register their trademarks and the company says that last year, it handled 96% of takedown requests within 24 hours of their being filed. It also uses real-time scanning technology that allows it to remove 96% of suspected counterfeit listings before a sale is made, says Matthew Bassiur, Group VP and Head of Global IP Enforcement.

Alibaba moved late last year to consolidate IP enforcement across its sites into one group. Earlier, it had formed the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance that now has 130 rights holders (up from an original 30), including Apple, Ford, Samsung, Louis Vuitton, Mars and others, to work through the counterfeiting issue.

“At the heart of these programs is collaboration” with brands, governments, industry associations and academia,” says Bassiur. “Alibaba believes that without a collaboration approach, there can be no effective or sustainable solution” to counterfeiting.

Those efforts have begun to bear fruit. In early March, it struck a broad agreement with the National Basketball Association (NBA) both for live streaming of games and highlights as well as the sale of licensed merchandise through the company’s T-Mall and Taobao marketplaces. It also aligned with IACC’s MarketSafe program that is designed to speed the registration process and reduce evidence requirements in enabling the quicker takedowns of websites.

“There is an increasing awareness among brand owners and platforms in general that the fan experience is really important to sustain growth and sales” — something that counterfeit goods can sometimes alter, says Anil George, VP and Assistant General Counsel for Intellectual Property at the NBA. “That has to be a strong factor that these [online] companies are looking at and the fact that we have a partnership allows us to focus on counterfeiting.”

That focus also is extending to social commerce – the spread of which has lowered the barrier to entry for counterfeit goods and requires near-constant monitoring, says Lindsay Victor of IMG College.

“[Sellers of counterfeits] can pick — based on profiles and preferences — exactly what the user wants to see. What makes that difficult from an enforcement perspective is that not all users see the same advertisements,” says Victor The number of takedowns involving sponsored ads that IMG has executed grew to 30,000 in 2018, up from 3,500 five years ago, Victor said.

“Counterfeiters are increasingly taking advantage of [fans’] emotional impulse to get [them] to buy as quickly as possible” without considering whether the products being purchased are counterfeit, says Op Sec’s Patterson.

Contacts:

Alibaba, Matthew Bassiur, VP and Head of Global IP Enforcement, matthew.bassiur@alibaba-inc.com

IMG College, Lindsay Victor, Senior Counsel, 770-956-0520, lindsay.victor@img.com

International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, Lara Miller, Counsel and VP Corporate Strategy, 202-223-6667, lmiller@iacc.org

FBI, Steven Shapiro, Unit Chief Intellectual Property Rights, 703-603-3966, sjshapiro@fbi.gov

National Basketball Association, Anil George, VP and Assistant General Counsel for Intellectual Property, 212-407-8000, ageorge@nba.com

NFL Players Inc., Casey Schwab, VP Business & Legal Affairs, 202-572-7456, casey.schwab@nflpa.com

OpSec Security, Bill Patterson, VP Global Marketing, 443-551-0502, bpatterson@opsescurity.com

source: https://licensinginternational.org/news/tactics-change-as-battle-against-counterfeits-moves-even-more-from-container-loads-to-small-packages/

Crayola Colors in new experience attraction

A new Crayola Experience attraction has debuted in Chandler, Ariz.

Crayola executives were on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the launch of the new location in Chandler’s Fashion Center. The nearly 20,000-square-foot family attraction features 19 hands-on creative activities and is adjacent to a 4,000-square-foot retail location, which hosts one of the largest selections of Crayola products and souvenirs in the world.

“Crayola Experience is an immersive, larger-than-life, creative adventure that we can’t wait to share with both locals and tourists,” says Smith Holland, chief executive officer, Crayola. “We hope to inspire countless kids and help create colorful family memories that will last a lifetime.”

The new Chandler location joins existing Crayola Experiences in Orlando, Fla., Bloomington, Minn., Plano, Texas, and Easton, Penn

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/live-events/crayola-colors-new-experience-attraction

Lionel Messi ready to score with apparel line

Barcelona star to launch new premium lifestyle brand in the summer.

FC Barcelona and Argentina star, Lionel Messi is to debut an apparel collection in the summer.

The football star has partnered with brand portfolio company MGO to create Messi. MGO’s chief creative officer is Ginny Hilfiger, the sister of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.

The premium lifestyle brand will have a sporty edge and will mainly be menswear, although it will also include a number of women’s tops, reported WWD.

It will launch in July on a global e-commerce site called The Messi Store, with a full product rollout planned for August.

New product will be released each week on a limited basis, while some items in the mix will be autographed by Lionel.

In addition, September will see the brand partner with Savile Row tailor Richard James, plus English shoe brand Trickers. A small capsule collection will be offered at high-end specialty store Santa Eulalia in Barcelona, as well as in London Persona, a brand and store created by MGO partner, Julian Groves.

Chinese online site Tmall will also launch a Messi store in the autumn.

Source: https://www.licensingsource.net/lionel-messi-ready-to-score-with-apparel-line/

Mattel extends partnership with WBCP for DC

Mattel has extended its global licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to continue to be the toy licensee for DC in the girls, preschool, vehicles, games and novelty toy categories.

The agreement grows Mattel’s existing DC Universe franchises with new content for the “DC Super Hero Girls” property. Mattel has worked closely with DC as a partner for more than 15 years.

“DC is home to some of the world’s greatest super heroes, and extending our partnership will ensure we’re able to support the growth of this iconic brand and bring it to even more audiences,” says Janet Hsu, chief franchise management officer, Mattel. “Mattel is known for its winning design and innovation and, as the category leaders in dolls, vehicles and preschool, we’re thrilled to support Warner Bros. long-term franchise plans.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/toys/mattel-extends-partnership-wbcp-dc