The Licensing Room premieres this Friday at 3pm. Don’t be late!

If you’ve always wanted to learn about the $280 billion* global licensing & merchandising business, you NEED to get a seat inside The Licensing Room, a webinar series for aspiring entrepreneurs co-hosted by Licensing International India & License India. We are kicking things off this week by discussing the largest category (by share and revenue) Character & Entertainment licensing (43.8% share, $122.6 billion at retail) according to Licensing International’s Global Licensing Survey 2019.

The Licensing Room is meant to create a knowledge-sharing platform for entrepreneurs to engage with stalwarts from the licensing fraternity in an effort to build & expand their business.

We kicked off the first webinar on 25th June 2019 prior to the 3rd edition of the India Licensing Expo and hope to have a webinar every other month till the end of 2020.

Some of the reasons we decided to go online instead of offline.

  • Use technology to minimize logistics for both speakers and the audience and maximize reach
  • Remove geographical limitations which exist when trying to plan an on-ground event
  • Longevity – the webinar assets will reside on Licensing International & License India’s websites thereby increasing the longevity and ability to reference it long after the event has ended.
  • Access Anywhere, Anytime – the webinar can be accessed from any mobile device either at work or on the move.

 

Benefits to the speakers:

  • An Opportunity to share their time and wisdom with participants from the trade to next-generation entrepreneurs
  • Help enhance the licensing ecosystem in the country through their thought leadership
  • Avoid physical travel to a particular location to deliver a presentation amidst a hectic schedule.

 

Jiggy George, Head, Licensing International India is ecstatic to see the wheels finally turning. With D-day around the corner, his enthusiasm is palpable.

 

“We’ve been planning this for some time now but because of hectic travel schedules, getting a slot in the right folk’s calendars proved to be daunting. We are so glad Anand decided to hit the “Confirm” button for this session on the extremely dynamic and burgeoning Entertainment & Character licensing category. We are sure it will prove to be time well spent for existing licensing executives as well as entrepreneurs looking to build sustainable businesses in this space”

To register for the webinar visit licensinginternational.org/india

 

Continue reading “The Licensing Room premieres this Friday at 3pm. Don’t be late!”

Hello Kitty readies for 45 with London and Paris activity

Celebrations for milestone birthday kick start with activity in two major cities.

Sanrio has kicked off the 45th-anniversary activity for Hello Kitty with two activations taking place in London and Paris.

With the character marking the milestone on November 1, she began the celebrations by greeting fans on London’s Southbank on Saturday (October 26), with visitors invited to take the ultimate cute selfie in an immersive plush experience and take home a giveaway.

Visitors were also in with the chance of winning a UK-only prize by posting an image or video of the experience on Facebook or Instagram using #hellokitty45 and tagging @hellokittyeu.

On top of this activity, bubble tea giant Chatime will be creating a selection of exclusive drinks to celebrate Hello Kitty’s birthday from November 8, with the character appearing at the Chinatown restaurant on launch day.

Japan Centre will also launch its limited edition collection of exclusive merchandise at its pop-up at Ichiba, Europe’s largest Japanese food hall in Westfield London for one month from November 4.

Meanwhile, over in Paris, Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussman has also thrown itself into the celebrations.

For the first time, a Hello Kitty café will treat visitors to Franco-Japanese delicacies, in association with Hana Bento (which is the leader in Japanese cuisine in the French capital).

Also available at the pop-up – which opened on October 25 until Monday November 18 – is a range of limited edition Hello Kitty 45th anniversary merchandise, from designer berets and luxe luggage to stationery and plush toys.

In addition, a second Hello Kitty pop-up store will open at the fully revamped Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysees from Monday November 4 to Tuesday December 24.

Further events are also planned in London, Paris, Milan and Berlin to mark Hello Kitty’s anniversary.

Source: https://www.licensingsource.net/hello-kitty-readies-for-45-with-london-and-paris-pop-ups/

Indian Superstar & Fan Favourite Yuvraj SIngh blasts into the Abu Dhabi T10

Legendary Indian all-rounder, Yuvraj Singh, is set to smash his way onto the scene of the Abu Dhabi T10 having been acquired by the Maratha Arabians.

The former Indian master blaster who is regarded as one of the greatest limited over cricketers to ever play for his country, was signed as an ‘Arabian’ and will square off against the formidable T10 defending champions, the Northern Warriors, on the opening night of the tournament on 15thNovember.

“Playing in the Abu Dhabi T10 is a double joy for me because it will be my world T10 debut and because I always enjoy the warmth and support of the passionate cricket fans there,” said Singh.

“T10 suits my character and style of play. With such short matches, every ball, every over is important and you’re facing world-class competition every night so you’ve got to be ultra-focussed. I hope Maratha Arabians fans and Indian cricket fans have already got their tickets because we’re going to put on a show.”

Singh’s inclusion on the Maratha Arabians side is one of the final player selections ahead of the tournament, with 120 players recently drawn at the Abu Dhabi T10 Draft. With such big names joining Singh as Eoin Morgan, Shane Watson, Muhammed Amir, Moeen Ali, Andre Russell, Lasith Malinga and Darren Sammy, the short form format is set to burst its way onto the global stage once again this November.

His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “Yuvraj Singh is one of the game’s undisputed superstars, and the confirmation he is joining the Abu Dhabi T10 is indicative of our city’s status as a world-class sporting destination that attracts the best.”

Singh’s inclusion adds yet another impressive dimension to the showpiece tournament which is being hosted in Abu Dhabi for the first time and will be beamed to Sony Network’s enormous Indian viewer base of 700 million on Sony Six and Sony Ten 3 channels.

Maratha Arabians Co-owner, Parvez Khan commented: “We felt confident after the draft that we had a powerful line-up that would challenge for the title. But now adding Yuvraj to a team with Lynn, Bravo, Zadran and Malinga really puts Maratha Arabians on another level in terms of competitiveness and fan appeal.”

Co-owner Sohail Khan, actor and brother of superstar Salman Khan, added: “It’s terrific to have a world-class player like Yuvi in our squad. We have seen his exploits for India in various formats. He is a champion cricketer and has been one of the greats of the white ball format. It’s a huge honor to have him in our squad.”

Ali Tumbi, Maratha Arabians co-owner, added: “If you have the chance to add a player of Yuvraj Singh’s caliber to your team, you do whatever it takes. We are delighted he will be playing for Maratha Arabians and I’m confident the fans will be pleased to watch him play against the other elite talent assembled for the Abu Dhabi T10.”

The opening ceremony concert of the Abu Dhabi T10 will take place on November 14, with the first match kicking off on November 15. For further information about tickets and hospitality information, please visit: https://www.q-tickets.com/AbuDhabit10

Ayushmann Khuranna ‘shaving’ the best for Helios Lifestyle

Bollywood actor du jour Ayushmaan Khuranna has decided to pick up an undisclosed stake in Helios Lifestyle, the parent company of men’s grooming venture – The Man Company according to the Economic Times

The company which claims to command a 30% share of the grooming market in India, welcomed its new brand ambassador with this teaser of things to come.

“With his support, we are going to double down on our mission to encourage men to bring out the gentleman within them by offering them world-class grooming essentials and empowering them to look and feel their best.” MD Hitesh Dhingra told the ET

 

From essaying the role of a pre-maturely balding guy in his latest flick Bala to now hanging out with the follicular-ly endowed, he seems to be a “cut” above the rest. What’s your take on this venture? Tell us in the comments.

PS: If you haven’t had a chance to watch his other 2019 release Article 15 yet – you should do so at the earliest! It’s streaming on Netflix

 

Merchantwise to rep ‘MINECRAFT’ in OZ

Australia’s Merchantwise Licensing has been tapped as the licensing agency for the “Minecraft” video game covering Australia and New Zealand.

Merchantwise will develop retail events and forge licensing and merchandising partnerships to stimulate engagement among the “Minecraft” community in the region. This marks the first time “Minecraft” has had local representation in Australia and New Zealand.

The agency appointment comes ahead of two major “Minecraft” game launches: “Minecraft Earth,” an augmented reality mobile game, and “Minecraft Dungeons,” a multiplayer dungeon-crawler style action game for gaming consoles and PCs.

“We are honored to be working with Microsoft and Mojang on this unique and exciting brand, which both entertains and promotes positive values,” says Alan Schauder, managing director, Merchantwise. “Celebrating its 10th birthday in 2019, ‘Minecraft’ is more popular than ever, with new games, film and TV entertainment all planned over the next few years. Above all, ‘Minecraft’ is a brand that parents and educators love because it encourages creativity, problem-solving, collaboration and other life skills.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/agency-appointments/merchantwise-rep-minecraft-oz

Barbie puts Malibu Dream House on AIRBNB

Airbnb has partnered with Barbie to put a fully-realized recreation of the Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse on the vacation rental market.

Located in the heart of Malibu, Calif., the life-size home is available for booking for a one-time, two-night stay on Oct. 23. The rental is priced at $60 a night to commemorate Barbie’s 60th anniversary. The oceanfront villa features Barbie-inspired touches throughout including a walk-in closet with memorabilia from the iconic doll’s backlog.

Barbie’s Dreamhouse design includes:

  • An infinity pool with views of the California coast;
  • A waterslide;
  • A personal cinema;
  • A hobby studio;
  • A sport court;
  • A meditation space;
  • An outdoor dining patio; and
  • A fully stocked kitchen.

Guests at the villa are treated to:

  • A meet-and-greet with celebrity hairstylist and girl boss Jen Atkin;
  • A one-on-one fencing lesson with medalist and Barbie inspiration Ibtihaj Muhammad;
  • A cooking lesson with Gina Clarke-Helm, chef, Malibu Seaside;
  • A tour of Columbia Memorial Space Center with Jill Meyers; and
  • A gallery wall and mementos that celebrate Barbie’s notable accomplishments.

To celebrate the unique partnership, Airbnb will also make a donation to the Barbie Dream Gap Project GoFundMe initiative, which provides grants to charities that support mentorship and education for girls.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/toys/barbie-puts-malibu-dream-house-airbnb

What went down by the Docklands?

Licensing International’s Sharon Weisman gives her run down from the show floor of BLE 2019.

What looks like Javits from the outside, seems like Licensing Expo from the inside and has massive growth potential?

Brand Licensing Europe 2019, of course!

At this point, there is no value in comparing the ExCel Brand Licensing Europe to the shows which took place at Olympia.

I was part of the team that shifted Licensing Expo from New York to Las Vegas. It took a while to accept, but now no one is looking back.

With the move to ExCeL there is absolutely no complaint that has been made that can’t be addressed by Informa and Licensing international, and solved by next year.

The only thing we still need to figure out is where is the London EyeCandy (otherwise known as the new Hand & Flower).

Three key take backs from the show:

The BLE show floor make-up resembled Vegas in a way. However, it was actually great not to see ridiculously huge stands. After all, the booth-pissing-match (British translation: Stand-Willy-Waving) doesn’t correlate with how healthy a company’s licensing business really is. The important thing is that everyone was hustling Dolly Parton style… from 9-5.

Speaking of 9 to 5, the most valid points made:

  • Lots of people scheduled 5pm meetings but were asked to leave as the show floor closed at that time (what a great problem to have, and easy to solved).
  • The absence of stand numbers/signage on the floor (and the fancy open booths didn’t have them on their structure either) #easyfix
  • The show floor should be merchandised better (neighborhoods/sections) #easyfix
  • My Jew-Crew – it did not bruise my ego to find out (once again) that attendance wasn’t dramatically affected by the overlap with the Jewish holiday (+3%). The expo’s new management cares deeply and is very sensitive to this issue. I expect attendance to sky rocket next year.

 

The Venue:

Amenities were superior – accessible, more options, shorter line and significantly less expensive. I’ve heard people crying about the venue running out of food or accepting cash only on the first day. However, these issues were resolved the following day.

Heck, I’m so happy there’s a Starbucks (I have heard Americans refering to it as the ‘Sanctuary’) offering Oat Milk Lattes for high maintenance pains such as yours truly.

Commute:

I experienced lots of ‘learning moments’ on the first day of the show. Things to consider: not landing at Heathrow, taking an Uber from the Jubilee station instead of the DLR on rush hours, and staying closer to the venue (I loved the Moxy… but I’m also the size of the Mr. Men characters and live out of my suitcase…).

Commute options will be addressed for next year – from a direct line to shuttles.

Difuzed was among a number of licensees taking stands this year.
Difuzed was among a number of licensees taking stands this year.

10 Trends:

Licensees exhibiting – and why not? It shows the full spectrum of our industry: from IP to CP. Tangible merchandise completes the circle along futuristic IP pitch decks. Licensees can showcase their lines, coordinate meetings with retailers and brand owners and support their licensors.

In contrast to the stimulating manufacturer’s stands, however, there are agents… I am going to get serious heat from my agent friends on this, but I’m going to call out most big agents for not doing their clients justice, aggregating a bunch of logos on what ends up looking like the saddest stands on the floor. This clashes with all the hard work they put into creating licensing programmes for amazing brands. ABG (brand management), I’m looking at you, too… I felt like I should take a number and wait to get my root canel at the stand.

With that said, shout out to IMG Europe for spinning off three additional separate stands: Fabacus (a new service which looks to streamline communications between its clients and licensees), Jeep and UEFA Euro 2020.

Ever(er)green? My definition for an evergreen was always a brand that was able to engage at least two generations. An IP parents can’t wait to introduce to their kids (and then grandkids). These brands possess qualities that stand the test of time and keep on evolving in order to resonate with the new generations.

BLE 2019 made a point for brands having a longer shelf-life in Europe (Thomas, Moomin, BarbaraPapa, Smurfs, Peanuts, Care Bears, Pink Panther and more).

Food fashion was a sub-trend including Mentos collaboration with Sanrio.
Food fashion was a sub-trend including Mentos collaboration with Sanrio.

Fashion – collabs by Coca-Cola, Peanuts, Hello Kitty, Chupa Chups, National History Museum and FatFace and more were highlighted at the show.

But let’s be honest now, these aren’t the mainstream fashion brands licensing beyond their core business. These are mostly timely/limited deals by lifestyle/character brands with designers or luxury brands orchestrated with two goals in mind: capturing quickest ROI and appealing to new generations.

The mass fashion brands, that significantly grew their business via licensing, are under-indexed at the show, because they are in a Pilates class right now, figuring out how to strengthen their core. Therefore, it was no surprise when Informa announced the theme for BLE 2020… yep, you guessed it… fashion.

Another sub-trend that is on fire is the FF or FSquare = Food Fashion!

Mentos x Sanrio, the White Claw Craze in the US, McDonalds RFP (may the best agent win), Brand Central plans for Heinz, licensees wanting fast food and snack brands for apparel lines…

The Arcade acted as a central focus point on the show floor.
The Arcade acted as a central focus point on the show floor.

Gaming – PowerStation Studios did a stellar job creating centralised excitement in the middle of the ‘show universe’. This activation centre, coined The Arcade, functioned as the heart of the show, pumping people in and out from all corners of the show floor – enabling exhibitors and attendees to engage, play and experience. #StandonSteroids

There is no wonder the Licensing International Global Survey found that gaming is the licensing category with the most dramatic revenue increase in the past couple of years.

Participants included Bioworld, SEGA, Bandai, Activision, Disguise, Sybo, etc.

Sustainability – it’s on everyone’s agenda. Hopefully, you all caught the session discussing this topic at the Licensing Academy. While most of the conversations tackle how our industry increases awareness and steps into the sustainability game in the future, companies like Hasbro are championing the strategy by phasing out all plastics used to package its toys and games by the end of 2022.

Diversity and inclusion – is on every brand’s mind. Cause-based marketing is key in order to win over new generations. The non-binary Mattel doll, more neutral colours by licensees, retailers requesting merch that would appeal to women in gaming, as well as merchandise by TikTok GIRL gamer influencers.

Licensing International formed the first Diversity and Inclusion committee spearheaded by Jamie Stevens @ Sony Pictures, committed to actionable objectives that will lead to change.

Buyers buying more than product – buyers being more dependent on the licensing execs to get the right products, talent and activations into the stores.

The Social Store, Attachment London, ABG, WMG and others have been reporting helping their retailer partners attaching talent promotions to the merchandise and creating experiential opportunities.

Fabacus is among the companies which has recognised the need for collecting data in the industry.
Fabacus is among the companies which has recognised the need for collecting data in the industry.

Data – licensors are cracking down on licensees as well as agents for reports and analysis of the right data. Collecting data regarding products will help better forecasting and fulfilment, creating superior product and more targeted lines.

No wonder companies like Flowhaven, Fabacus, Octane5, Brainbase and more have recognised a need and are multiplying like rabbits. Moreover, I met with many more companies at the show this year that are offering brands a partnership beyond licensing, and one of the main selling points of an app-based partnership is the data collection.

Stretching the definition of relationships – like in real life, where once being monogamous meant ‘one partner for life’, and now it just means not having more than one partner at the same time, long-term relationships with massive tails and huge MGs aren’t as popular as they used to be when it comes to fashion entertainment brands.

Collabs, share-revs, investing time and money in high profile partners for a limited edition or special line… everything flies in order to break through the clutter.

‘OoO Su Cuuuuuute’ – similar to what we’ve gathered from the Vegas show, the increase in Asian influence was evident at BLE 2019: Kakko, Korean Pavilion (Pink Fong, Baby Shark), Rio Visual, Tuba for Lavra, LINE (+BT21), Pusheen, Anime/Crunchy Roll (which shacked up with its new squeeze, Viz).

Sharon Weisman is vp global business development at Licensing International. She can be contacted on sweisman@licensing.org. She’s also very entertaining on social media, @sharon.weisman.

This post originally appeared on https://www.licensingsource.net/indepth/what-went-down-by-the-docklands/

Aadarsh & Ankita – ready for global domination

Purple Turtle the 1st International IP from India that came from books and is now in more than 25 countries launched it’s season 1 at MipCom. It is being Co-produced, distributed by Cyber Group Studios, France and post-production by Telegael, Ireland.

Mr. Pierre Sissmann, Founder, Cyber Group Studios is excited about the association and expects Purple Turtle to become a childhood phenomenon.

It is written by Emmy Award-Winning Writers – Dev Ross, Karl Geurs, Carter Crocker, Phil Harnage, and Paul Parkes. It is Directed by Swati Rajoria and produced by Manish Rajoria and Ankita Shrivastava.

Purple Turtle has 14 Pre-school Franchisees in India and holds a very strong potential for licensing. They are simultaneously working on their new property, Colour Fairies and Jack/Chaos that have interest from both Distributors and Co-producers.

The company is a Disney Approved Printer, was the licensee for Barbie, Ben10 in the past and eventually created their own IP. 

They are at MIP 2019 to find Co-producers for The Feature Film on Ankita Shrivastava, the Producer of the series and a Live Liver Donor who is also now a World Record Holder for Athletics at the World Transplant Games in the UK organized by the Olympics Association. They are also pitching their Formats on some amazing ideas about Cooking and Organ Donation.

Youtube partners with MerchBar to sell music swag

In what is certainly likely to provide an added fillip to the music industry – TechCrunch reports that YouTube has decided to jump headfirst into the music merchandising business by enabling its community of artists & influencers to offer a range of premium merchandise to their fans from “a shelf just below the video”.

The story goes on to report that “Merchbar today carries more than 1 million items from 35,000 artists, making it one of the largest music merchandise aggregators worldwide.”

Marshmello x merchbar
Pic courtesy TechCrunch

When there’s an opportunity for innovation, can Marshmellow be far behind?

Earlier in the year, we had reported on his groundbreaking collab with Fortnite to host a concert from his bedroom!

 

 

 

 

 


We reached out to a few stalwarts from the Indian Music space to get their take.

Mandar Thakur – Chief Operating Officer, at Times Music 

“Quite honestly I think this is a significant development. Merch has always been unavailable, or a bad retail business model; or not too much demand; or the fact that we were/are a song driven culture and not an artist-driven culture combined together to not have a viable merch business. Although now with the rise in non-film music; creators and artists who connect directly to their fans and don’t need a Shahrukh or Salman to sell their music – merch is, in my opinion, a valued opportunity and am glad YouTube is enhancing this opportunity”

 

 

 

Atul Churamani – Managing Director, at Turney Music & Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

“Its fantastic to learn about the association that is looking to promote sale of merchandise. In India the merch business never really took off despite some indie acts successfully selling T-shirts in particular. It needed a boost through marketing by a large entity and YouTube is the largest player in the music business! So this could be the start of the merchandising industry coming into its own which is definitely music to the ears!!”

Unfortunately, fans in India will have to wait a while since the feature is live only in the US. We have reached out to YouTube to get more details on the India launch date and shall keep you posted!

Planet Superheroes is on a mission to take over the country one store at a time!

Ready, steady, fly!

Planet Superheroes recently announced its store expansion footprint to go beyond the metros of India. With six new retail stores in the last quarter – they have expanded into towns like Jabalpur, Surat, Mangalore, and Vapi making the total count at 25 across India. With 10 more stores opening in the next quarter, Planet Superheroes is leading the way in terms of its omnichannel footprint across both physical and online channels.

Planet Superheroes was launched in 2014 to cater to the huge comic fan community of India which was hungry for a brand focused on providing officially licensed character merchandise. In a market that had been widely polluted with counterfeit products, Planet Superheroes took the leap of faith that Indian customers wanted value for money and preferred official merchandise with consistent quality over counterfeit products. They have now established themselves as a market leader in just under five years both in terms of retail footprint and in the breadth of characters and categories they sell. They have also established a pan India distribution in the toys category to cater to the Mom and Pop Stores of India that still rely on traditional distribution channels.

In terms of licensing partnerships, they work with almost every major licensor from Disney, Warner Brothers, EONE, Viacom, Spin Master and Hasbro bringing joy to its end customers across age categories from Pre-School to hardcore Action Figure Fans who have no age limit! They sell 50+ categories from Apparel, Toys, Collectibles, Electronics and Accessories to name a few. They have also been winners of the Comic-Con Gold Awards for two years in succession.

Licensing in India

The Annual Global Licensing Industry Survey 2018 estimated that the global licensing industry is worth $271.6 Bn. However, licensing in India is still at a nascent stage. But the entry of licensees like Planet Superheroes, coupled with advancements in technology and ever-expanding marketplaces have provided the much-needed tailwinds needed for the growth of this sector. There is still a lack of retail players as traditional retailers do not understand the power of curation. As one of the earliest licensed merchandise brands, Planet Superheroes started focusing on creating ‘character merchandise’ as a category in itself and became a forerunner in bringing this concept to end consumers. While brands like Hamleys, Reliance, Lifestyle etc. also sell character merchandise in silos under Apparel, Electronics, Toys, Planet Superheroes has taken a contrarian “curated category” approach on the lines of other global players in the world that have succeeded in this space.

Challenges

The most important challenge in retail is managing the expectations of the mall owners who often expect Planet Superheroes’ “trading density” (Revenue per square foot) to be on par with other premium fashion brands. This is a challenge because, despite the better than average conversion, the average price of these products are much lower compared to the bigger brands who command a much larger premium. However, after successfully executing its first 5 stores and proving the value addition, most mall operators now approach them to become a part of their upcoming mall launches because of the uniqueness and customer engagement value that they bring to the mall. They currently work with almost all the marquee mall developers from Phoenix Mills, Viviana, Nexus, Infiniti, VR Mall and Forum to name a few.

Way Forward

Planet Superheroes will continue to expand its retail footprint into territories that are underserved. Their next focus will be in the Eastern and Northern parts of India going as far as Guwahati in the North East of India. Planet Superheroes is a brand with a technology DNA – their technical ambitions surpass their current scale. While most retailers 5x their size have started thinking about these problems, Planet Superheroes has been quietly investing in leveraging automation, data-warehousing and intelligent algorithms to crack the complex world of omnichannel inventory management. They strongly believe that their robust tech infrastructure and process-driven expansion would be key differentiators as they scale from store number 25 to 100.

Special thanks to Jaineel Aga & Nikita Zankar from Team PlanetSuperHeroes.