The trading cards market in India and the experience of Topps!

pravin-kalnawat-tops-india

Mr. Pravin Kalnawat – Head, Business & Operations, Topps India shares his views on the licensing business in India and some of his plans for Topps India with IndiaLicensingPost.com

1. Most people are familiar with Topps because of its high profile co-owner Michael Eisner former head of Disney Worldwide. Can you give us a little background on Topps and how has the journey in India been thus far?

-Founded in 1938, The Topps Company, Inc. is the pre-eminent creator and brand marketer of physical and digital sports cards, entertainment cards and collectibles, and distinctive confectionery products. Topps’ leading sports and entertainment products include Major League Baseball, National Football League, Major League Soccer, UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Bundesliga, Indian Premier League, Star Wars, WWE, UFC, Wacky Packages, Garbage Pail Kids, Mars Attacks and other trading cards, sticker album collections and collectibles. Topps’ app portfolio, including Topps BUNT®, Topps NFL HUDDLE®, TOPPS KICK® and Topps® Star WarsSM: Card Trader, has been a hit with millions of fans around the world. Topps’ confectionery brands include Ring Pop®, Push Pop®, Baby Bottle Pop®, Juicy Drop ® Pop, Crunchkins™ and Bazooka® bubble gum.
In India, Topps produces & distributes the major Cricket, WWE & football league-licensed product under the Brand name Cricket Attax, Slam Attax & Match Attax. All the brands are a great hit amongst our TG and provide other brands an alliance opportunity to increase their product sales & movement.
Topps India has its own established distribution network which leads to fast product placement across the nation & across all channels. Our products are available at over 50,000 stores & additionally over all major e-Commerce platforms.

2. How big is the trading cards business globally and in India?

-Its evolving & has good potential to grow! The challenge & opportunity is our consumer base is always new & moving.

3. What has been the major licensing success for Topps in India?
-All our products and licenses have been a huge success amongst young TG & Collectors. Still to name IPL & WWE products launched under the brand name Cricket Attax & Match Attax have been very successful.

4. Can you shed some light on the product portfolio and if any particular SKU’s were launched only in the India market?

-Our product offering in India includes trading cards in the following sports & entertainment categories: IPL, WWE, STAR WARS, PREMIER LEAGUE, CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, MINIONS, DISNEY. Basic entry level SKU being a flow pack which usually starts from INR 15/20. All our SKUs are specially produced for India as per consumer demand. Sales of Single Flow pack at INR 15/20 is a very successful India market format. Along with it we have Multi Packs at 99, Carry box with 50 packets at INR 999. Some special SKUs like school tin for cricket, tumbler pack for WWE with official Mugs and then football pack with an exclusive Match Attax football in MA packs

5. How big is the fan base for your product and how have you been able to reach out to them?

-We reach out to over 1 million consumers in India. The base has been developed over a period of time with constant marketing efforts and establishment of a well-spread distribution network.

6. What would you say is the competitive advantage of Topps in India?

-Topps has exclusive trading Cards & sticker production rights for most of the successful licences in the world. Under some licences like IPL Topps offers products exclusively to the young TG with no other comparable licensed product. Topps brand awareness as a leader in World Trading Card Games is immense and brand recall is strong amongst its TG. It’s a great fit for any brand trying to maximise their reach amongst the youth as our product is a collectible and supports repeat purchase of the partner brand. It’s a brand of great repute already accepted by the target audience & parents.

7. You didn’t have any experience in the brand licensing space prior to Pidilite. Was this a boon or a bane? Please share some interesting anecdotes.

-Yes & No both , prior to Pidilite I was with Parker pens , I identified brand strengths, initiated & successfully established the Licensing / Enterprise business.
I believe any licencing opportunity should be seen in terms of VALUE than revenue to maximize business potential.

Market Dynamics of the content biz in India and overseas.

manoj-mishra-dq-entertainment

Mr. Manoj Mishra, COO DQ Entertainment, India shares the DQ story with India Licensing Post.

 

  1. Tell us a little about your company and your key brands

We are one of the largest producers of Animation and Children’s Entertainment content and associated globally with major Intellectual Properties (IP’s) such as The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Lassie, Charlie Chaplin, Iron Man, Casper, Little Prince, and many more classical and iconic properties in partnership with international and national broadcasters, distributors, licensees and large independent producers from Europe & USA. These partnerships include entertainment and media companies such as Nickelodeon-USA, The Disney Group-worldwide, BBC Worldwide, Discovery Kids-USA, Electronic Arts Worldwide, Cartoon Network, TF1, France3, France 2, RAI- Italy, ZDF-Germany, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Turner Group, Mattel-USA, ABC Australia, and many International broadcasters and distributors.

 

We are also proud to be co-producers of Miraculous Lady Bug, ZAK Strom & Sammy with ZAK Toons and Method Animation.  Soon we will be starting production for Power Players, Pixie Girl and Ghost force another three fantastic productions from the slate of ZAK Toons.

 

  1. How has the journey in India been thus far?

It has been both challenging and interesting for us when it comes to India. Our Intellectual Properties (IP’s) such as The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Lassie, Charlie Chaplin have been acquired for broadcast by major channels such as Disney India, Nickelodeon India, Cartoon Network, Discovery Kids India, Chutti TV etc.

We have started to witness success in the licensing front too with our flagship IP the Jungle Book finding great traction among Licensees here. With the increasing brand awareness amongst the kids in India, we believe our licensing efforts will start paying huge dividends soon.

 

  1. Is it difficult selling animated content in India? What are the common pitfalls?

While it has not been very easy for us, we have been producing quality content for over a decade. This is content that is popular globally and generating great interest from different leading broadcasters in India. We can proudly to say today that most of our animated shows have been acquired for broadcast by all leading kids’ channels in India due to their high quality of animation and storytelling. For example, The Jungle Book has been airing very successfully on Nick India while Robin Hood and Charlie Chaplin are on Discovery kids India.

Animation branding and L&M as a segment is currently under-exploited in India. With no special law to deal with any issues related to character licensing , any concern is dealt with by taking into consideration trademarks, copyrights, and common law principles. Further to this piracy is a serious challenge that has crept into character licensing in India.

 

  1. What are the key facets you look for in a potential licensee of your content?

We evaluate our potential licensing partners based on multiple aspects. Primary among them is their conviction and belief in our property, followed by the strength of their distribution and sales capabilities .The reputation and experience of the licensee in their sectors also play a very important role while choosing our potential licensee. A combination of all these traits helps us to narrow down while choosing our licensing partners for each of our shows.

 

  1. What are some of the upcoming IP’s you have or are looking at acquiring/creating?

Our latest comedy, adventure and fantasy IP 5&IT is currently in production and is co-produced with Disney Germany and France, and very advanced negotiations are on-going for it to be acquired by Disney in EMEA  and Asia.The series is expected to be ready for broadcast by end 2017

Our globally successful flagship IP the Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, has now gone into the production of season 3 after the huge global success it witnessed for its first two seasons. The series was co-produced/acquired by major global kids broadcasters such as ZDF Germany, DeA Kids-Italy, TF1-France, Telequbec and TVO-Canada, JCCTV-Middle East , ABC -Australia, Disney Asia, Nickelodeon-India  to name a few and was broadcasted in over 160 countries worldwide

Peter Pan Our second global IP has been broadcast in all major kids channels in over 150 countries. The show attracted high ratings on France TV, ZDF Germany, KIKA, DeA Kids and Sky TV  Italy, Telequebec Canada, RAI Italy and many other channels worldwide.

The Quest for the Never book ( 90 min Feature film) is a fantastic spinoff from our very successful TV franchise. Now Peter pan the movie is under completion and will be ready for worldwide release soon in English and French.

ROBINHOOD – MISCHIEF IN SHERWOOD  is doing extremely well in France, Italy, Germany and many of the neighboring Europeans countries. Robin hood has now gone into the production of season 2 with all the major broadcasters renewing and is expected to be ready for telecast by end of this year.

 

  1. What is your key mantra as an IP owner and how do you percolate this down to your team?

As a business, we strive constantly to work towards our vision of producing iconic brands and quality entertainment in a content-driven world. They are intrinsic and deeply ingrained into the organizational culture and bind us together. Our core values are consistently exhibited by our top leadership and core team and also percolate down to the rank and file of the organization. Few of the awards such as The Emmy Award, Studio of the year at Cartoons on Bay, Italy amongst numerous others are the testament to this.

 

  1. Which of your brands has been a success in Licensing and what are your plans for licensing in India?

DQE’s licensing and distribution efforts are proving increasingly successful both domestically & on a global scale and have created long-term and sustained value for us by forging new partnerships across various markets, platforms and product categories.

Our series ‘The Jungle Book’ has been witnessing great traction in India. We have done multiple deals for Jungle Book in India through Viacom who are our Licensing agents for Jungle Book in India.We have done deals in multiple categories that include Apparel, Plush Toys, Promotional Licensing, Socks & Innerwear Apparel & Bags, Non-Paper Stationery, Water Bottle, Snack Jar, Ice Cube Exercise Book, CR Book and Drawing Book. Recently, United Biscuits Private Limited licensed the property for Promo Licensing of  Mc-vities biscuits where the famous Bollywood Actors Kajol was the brand ambassador.

We are looking to expand our Licensing success & efforts in India to our other popular shows such as Robin Hood which is currently very successfully airing on Discovery Kids Channel and also Peter Pan the first season of which had been picked up by Turner Broadcasting for India.We are presently discussing with several potential licensees for both the properties in India.

How Chhota Bheem a homegrown kids’ entertainment brand has trounced every other Indian and global contender

Samir Jain - Green Gold

Samir Jain – COO & Executive Director, Green Gold Animation Pvt. Ltd. speaks about Chhota Bheem’s journey and the future plans to the India Licensing Post’s editorial team.

1. From its inception in 2008: Chhota Bheem emerged as the biggest hit outgunning all the international brands and launching in gamut of categories. What is the current state of play? How many categories are you currently active in?

– Chhota Bheem was the first homegrown Indian character and hence Green Gold had the first mover advantage. On the back of this success, other international brands started focusing more on the Indian market and we have enjoyed good competition since. We have stayed ahead of all of them. Having said that, India is a huge market and there is a room for all.

Currently we are doing well in the categories of Apparel, Toys, Food & Beverages, Back to School supplies, Books, Stationery and Home Furnishing.

2. Tell us about the origins of Green Gold and Chhota Bheem?Chota Bheem on knees

– Green Gold Animation is the brainchild of Rajiv Chilaka. It’s his dream, vision and creation.  Back in 2001 when we ventured into animation; it was really a challenging task. With dedication, hard work and lots of patience Green Gold Animation was born.

Chhota Bheem is inspired from Bheema from the Mahabharata. The idea was to create a fictional kid character called Chhota Bheem, who has the similar strength and personality of Bheema but based in a different era, as a commoner. The initial days of creation, fine tuning the concepts, characters, story lines etc. were exciting and challenging. The uphill task was to convince the broadcasters to break into the original content platform since the channels felt safe in running foreign content dubbed in local languages.

3. How has the journey in India been thus far?

– In 2001 when we planned to venture into animation in India, it sounded very alien a concept. Today, animation is a promising industry and has geared up to offer a lot more than just entertainment in India. The past few years have seen animation grow and emerge as a serious player. The industry requires not only good talent and creativity, but also cutting edge technology so as to offer the best stories and presentations. Few years’ back Indian Animation Studios were seen as outsourcing hubs for foreign clients. However, with time the situation has changed with more original content and IPs being created locally and successfully. Chhota Bheem is a classic example of one such success story.

4. What are the new initiatives from a content point of view?

– Chhota Bheem has completed Nine seasons on air. We have three spin-offs from the show, Mighty Raju, Arjun the Prince of Bali and Super Bheem which are all on TV. Green Gold has also released four theatrical movies till date.

Green Gold has predominantly been working in 2D animation, but in the last two years lot of 3D animation work is also happening. Super Bheem is a 3D animation show. The next theatrical Chhota Bheem movie would also be a 3D animated movie.

5. Chhota Bheem is often cited as one of the key success stories of brand licensing in India. What are some of the things you did right and also any mistakes made that you would like to share for the benefit of the licensing community?

– With the success of Chhota Bheem on television, our first plan was to make a foray into merchandising with comics, DVDs, T-shirts and a few stationary items.  The sales shot up and the demand touched the skies! This was the time when we started evolving options for brand licensing. We started with Notty, a drink for children and then followed a range of licensing deals cutting across categories.  Having said this, we must admit that all licensing deals have not struck gold. This is why I believe that licensing is a long term plan which involves a lot of contemplation, planning and marketing. It was important that brand Chhota Bheem should be in sync with the categories and seamlessly work with the ethos of the show.

6. How important has TV been to the success of Chhota Bheem?

– Television has been the biggest generator of viewership for Chhota Bheem.  The wide reach and coverage of TV has helped Chhota Bheem penetrate cities, towns and villages in India.

7. What made you want to retain the Intellectual property IP of Chhota Bheem when the norm is to cash out while doing a broadcast deal?

– When we launched Chhota Bheem in 2008, we never thought that it would become such a huge and successful IP. Hence our role as creator and producer of the show increased substantially.  So it became important for us to keep the IP with ourselves and work on the right mix of stories, animation, licensing, merchandising, retailing, events etc. to ensure that we control all aspects of brand Chhota Bheem.

8. You’ve added a few more characters to the portfolio since Chhota Bheem. Tell us a little more and the thought process behind each of them?

– While Chhota Bheem continued to flourish as a successful brand, it was also important for us as an animation studio to work and create new ideas, stories and characters. Mighty Raju, Super Bheem, Krishna The Great, Arjun the Prince of Bali, Luv Kushh, Chhor Police are some of the successful works from our factory. Being an animation studio with an excellent creative force helped us to create new toon heroes like Mighty Raju and Super Bheem.

While Mighty Raju represents today’s kid who is smart and gadget savvy, Super Bheem dabbles in the fantasy world with the stories of a young boy with super powers, a dragon as his friend and the universe as his playground.

Both have been generating a lot of fan following, have been climbing the ladder of success and have been generating buzz in the licensing world. It will be interesting to see them chalk out their success path in licensing.

9. Future plans for Chhota Bheem and Green Gold?

– As a company, it’s been our endeavor to keep working and looking for new opportunities.  Our primary focus will be on content- creating new animation shows and help expand the animation industry. We recently launched a new studio in Mumbai to cater to the talent and work on exciting projects. Second, is to help and develop the licensing of our brands, make it strong and robust at the same time to work collectively with all the licensors to make the industry powerful and strengthen its dynamics. We are also looking at releasing more feature films; enter new markets through our content across the globe; create exciting products and merchandise; plan more exciting events and activations and ensure that the fun and excitement behind all these efforts keeps growing.

10. How is your retail outlets faring and what’s the roll out plan?

– Green Gold Stores are growing at a steady rate. We are looking at newer strategies for the retail outlets.

11. Any last words on the success formula for Chhota Bheem?

– The success of Chhota Bheem rests on the team with their unrelenting spirit in making Chhota Bheem what it is today. Their never say no attitude, hard work and perseverance has helped us scale the charts. We also thank Turner Broadcasting  for believing in us and supporting us when we needed it most.

How Baahubali has evolved as a ‘Brand’ from a ‘Movie’

Bhavik Vora, CEO – Black White Orange Brands Pvt Ltd shared his experience of ‘Baahubali evolving from a ‘Movie’ to a ‘Brand’  with the India Licensing Post’s editorial team.

1. Do you believe that licensing for movies is challenging basis the short life cycles?

The shelf life of a film is so short, it’s literally about the opening weekend. Retailers feel there’s just not enough time to create consumer demand. But we are taking a realistic look at current market conditions and ‘fashioning’ licensing programs that we believe will succeed. We are trying to extend the window of opportunity as much as possible, from four to eight weeks prior to the theatrical premiere all the way through the DVD release and many a times even more. In fact movie merchandise has the potential to last until the fans  love the brand.
2. What prompted you to take on Baahubali as a project?

Indian cinema has the biggest fan following in the country and probably the most untapped potential on the consumer product platform, that takes fans beyond the realm of the big screen. Hardly any Bollywood movie has looked at merchandise seriously. Mostly, L&M has been looked upon as a promotional tool. When we established Black White Orange a year and half back, we had a vision of creating a world-class merchandise programme of cult Indian brands. After the successful launch of Yuvraj Singh’s brand YWC, we were extremely excited to bring to life, the biggest blockbuster of all time, ‘Baahubali’, through a well conceptualized, high-quality merchandise program for Indian & global fans. Arka Mediaworks’s Baahubali has raised the bar and created benchmarks in every aspect of movie making.

3. What did you invest  basis assets and what support did you get from the property owner? 

Time, effort & a lot of passion!

Our creative team at Black White Orange saw the film (first part) over 8-10 times. We were actually breathing the movie while the assets and designs were being created. Shobu Sir of Arka Media Works and Rajmouli Sir worked very closely with us, with inputs & suggestions at every step.

4. What was the strategy and development that went into building the program

The premise of any successful consumer product program is a fan and the community, Baahubali had created a huge fandom and community with the hype it had generated through its first part and it’s was just going to go up from there. Our strategy was to give these fans a piece of their favorite brand by launching categories and products that they would love to flaunt and consume. Our design team worked on a strategy to make the products aspirational enough for them to pay the value that we were planning to ask for it. By no means we wanted it to look like a promotional merchandise used for promoting the movie.

 5. Can this strategy work for all big blockbusters or is there a special ingredient required in the product for it to work for licensing?

I strongly believe it’s the fan of the particular film or brand that can make or break your product plan. Apart from that – quality & design. When a consumer pays for a product, he should be getting his moneys’ worth. That said, every strategy cannot be the same and it’s important to have a road-map that best suits each film.

6. You also work with Universal Studios. Is there something that the West does differently from Bollywood when it comes to licensing for movie properties?

Yes, we handle licensing and merchandising for NBC Universal, in India and South Asia. In Hollywood, merchandising is huge for filmmakers, worth billions of dollars with popular films. Hollywood works on building a huge consumer product program for their franchise properties. These franchise properties due to its global appeal have consumer product programs across the world and that means that many more opportunities to just directly import the product rather than developing from scratch. Plus, they invest very heavily on creating world class creative assets which makes the final product look great.  In India, the shelf life of film-inspired merchandise is about to 10 weeks, between the pre-release, release and post release period. L&M is seen more as a promotional tool rather than long term revenue earner. Although there are huge investments in making the movie, hardly any importance is given to developing creative assets to make a great looking style guide. However, in the future, you will see film studios partnering with more and more marketers to launch many more merchandise in India. Baahubali franchise is the biggest example of success of licensed merchandise in India. The franchise will generate close to 25 cores in sales.

7. Baahubali is the biggest grossing Indian movie- what has been the outcome of this on the merchandise program?

The second part was called Baahubali – The conclusion, for us, this is just the beginning. We already have 6 categories active and are expecting close to 25cr worth of merchandise sales this year and the way the brand has resonated with the audience its going to just grow from here. There are also other extensions that are happening around the brand like Animation & VR content which will help the longevity of the brand.

8. Have you been able to tap the large Indian diaspora on the back of Baahubali being released globally?

Yes, we have been successful in making Baahubali L&M a big hit globally… The idea was to make licensed merchandise as independent revenue vertical and not necessarily to promote the film much on the lines of the tent pole franchise model that is popular in Hollywood. We are sure, Baahubali has inspired Bollywood filmmakers and studios to take L&M seriously and it will be interesting to see the future of the maiden Indian film franchise as it gets ready to create a world of its own.

9. Do you reckon- BWO to pursue more movie licensing projects?

Yes, we are very excited to work with studios on movie licensing projects. Recently we also launched Despicable ME 3 merchandise  in India. The products, led by the Minions are based on characters from the movie, which include Gru, Balthazar Bratt, Margo, Lucy Wilde, Agnes and the incomparable Minions themselves, in exciting styles & categories. Next up – Watch out for the Jurassic World in 2018! It’s going to be huge!

How brand Doraemon has stayed relevant for over a decade in India

nitin-kalra

The editorial team at Indialicensingpost.com caught up with Mr. Nitin Kalra, Director, AI Licensing India Pvt. Ltd to get his views on a range of topics related to the outstanding success of Doraemon in India and other territories. Read on and enjoy!

1.     Is having Doraemon on TV the single biggest ingredient that helped build the licensing program?
Doraemon’s core audience is 2 to 8 years and that’s largely driven by television. Content has played a major role in the success of the licensing program for Doraemon across the world. Having managed Doraemon Licensing for over 2 decades across Asia, Middle East & CIS region, we at Animation International strongly support and believe in our television partners. In India we started with Hungama in 2005 (when it was owned by UTV) and later after it’s merger with Disney, we expanded the program across the Disney Network. Doraemon has been the strongest property for Disney ever since and our
alliance with them is rock solid. Despite the program starting to air in 2005, it was only in 2010 that we actually saw the licensing program starting to fructify the way we would have liked. Today Doraemon is the strongest property on Disney Network and for us it is certainly one of the key drivers for the licensing
business.

2.     Is there a strategy that you have worked on to pace the growth of the licensing and merchandising so as to not lead to over saturation? “Saturation” is a very subjective term – for a lot of people the more the exposure the better the program.
For some it’s the complete opposite. It really depends on how you see the use of the character in your portfolio. Again out of our two decades experience of managing Doraemon in multiple territories, we see a gradual increase in its exposure, we see years of absolute peak and then a decline. However unlike most brands that fail to recover once they fall from their peaks, Doraemon has the tendency to bounce back – it has sustained in a strong manner in markets like Thailand, Taiwan, China, Indonesia and many others, thanks to the continuous content support our Licensors provide from time to time.

3.    How many categories is Doremon currently available in and whats been the pace of growth?
We are currently spread across all major softlines and hardlines categories across 30+ licensees.
Promotions are one of the biggest revenue streams for us but we don’t over expose the brand with multiple brands. We always restrict our promotions to 4-5 major ones each year. Thankfully most of our partners have stuck on to us and have done multiple year deals with us for promotions and product. Our next big push is on the digital front, where we are a bit weak – but since our core TG of 2-8 years, as a brand philosophy Doraemon doesn’t encourage the use of high tech digital gadgets for kids and hence this isn’t our core area of licensing. However considering the way the market consumes content, we are now seriously focusing on making sure we are present across all digital platforms too.

4.    Since Animation International manages this business across Middle East, Southeast Asia- how does
the property fare in India vs. the other markets?
Revenue wise, Thailand and China continue to be our growth leaders whereas India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam and South Korea are our fastest growing markets. We see the acceptance a bit slow in Turkey and UAE but it’s still early days in those markets. India continues to grow at a rapid pace and we are investing further in our business.

5.     Is there any very India centric case study that you could share as something that AI is proud of?
There are quite a few things, which we have put together, which have been well appreciated by our licensees.

We are probably the only agency where 70% of our licensees use our designing services. We have a full-fledged design studio with experts from the field of merchandise designing and licensees now find it very easy to get ready-to- produce files. It has also helped us reduce approval time, which in turn reduces the overall product development time leading to faster product to market making everyone in the chain happy.
We are also amongst the first companies in India to start charging malls for character appearances. Our first event was in 2010 and since then we have never given our character costumes to malls or schools or even exhibitions for free. There is always a fee that’s attached to it and our event partners have seen value in the association and hence have always come back for more. As a principal in Animation International, our characters are our stars, we don’t use them for free promotions but always ensure they get their due and add value to our partners.
Again we have been instrumental in opening up new markets across the country – one instance is that of Guwahati. We were the first agency to step foot in that market when nobody had even looked at going there. Our first deal with a snack food company there opened up a plethora of opportunities for the region and within a year all major brands flooded that market. We still feel special as being the first there, the companies and our partners there still value the first lessons in licensing we gave them. What makes us happy is that we were able to create a business opportunity for the entire industry.

6.    Since you deal with a brand with mass appeal- how have you been servicing the captive consumer
need via the unorganized market?
Yes we do have a strategy to focus on the unorganized segment of the market. Since this segment fuels piracy, our in-house legal team works with a network of anti-piracy agencies that help us reach out to this
segment. However our approach is not to approach them with the objective of putting them behind bars.
Our first priority is to convince them to convert into official retail partners. We have created a “Doraemon Retail Partner Program” whereby we enroll retailers who wish to buy official merchandise from us directly.
We have seen many unorganized players who have enrolled into the program voluntarily. We started this as a pilot this year in Mumbai and already have 100 mom-and- pop stores with us. We will scale this to 500 stores in Mumbai by end of this year and then aim to roll out nationally.

7.     What would be the single limitation that stifles growth of licensing in India?
The entire retail ecosystem itself is our biggest limitation. Consumers need product but due tothe high- handed ways of retailers, the consumers are not able to get the right kind of product at
the right price. Retailers have put licensees out of business by refusing to give them space or due to their business practices. Policies of returns after years of buying the stock, without any
explanation, erratic delays in payments, adjustments of payments, unusual fees and charges – all add up to the chaos that licensees experience. This in turn doesn’t lead to the growth of the business and the captive demand is serviced by piracy and counterfeit. Unless there is a partnership approach on the retail front the licensing business will continue to be small.

8.     What would you like to see as change in the Indian licensing ecosystem?
Indian Licensing is still at a very nascent stage but the explosion of growth in this industry will happen at a pace, which will be beyond anyone’s imagination. That’s also the opportunity in India. If we as brand owners and licensing companies want to be a part of this growth phase, it is extremely critical we start collaborating together. We need to find synergies, ways to help each other, which will in turn help the overall ecosystem grow. There is a need for a collaborative effort to handle piracy, issues related to talent acquisition and talent management, issues of retail, payments, audits, etc.