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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Very Happy Holidays to all!

All of us at Total Licensing would like to wish you a very happy holiday season and a great start to 2010. For many people, this will mean taking a few days to relax with family and friends, with maybe a spot of over-indulgence along the way. Great Britain is currently labouring under a great deal of snow, which has caused chaos and delight in equal measure, and we know that this has been the case for many people in the USA and other countries - although the UK seems to have come to a complete standstill because of the white stuff! Hopefully everyone will make it to their destinations on time and actually get a bit of rest over the holidays.
We hope you have a great start to 2010 also, and very much look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Coming together for Children in Need

By now, many of you, especially in the UK, will have seen the extravaganza that is Peter Kay’s single aimed at raising money for Children in Need 2009, The Official BBC Children in Need Medley, from his Animated All Star Band.
The single is a medley of songs including Can You Feel It by The Jacksons, Never Forget by Take That, Tubthumping by Chumawamba and Hey Jude by The Beatles. It took 132 hours to mix the vocals of the seven different songs included, with the project taking around two years to complete.
The remarkable thing from a licensing point of view is the sheer number of characters that are singing together, complete with the original voice actors. Over 100 animated characters appear, with all companies involved waiving their right to a fee in support of Children in Need, with all money raised going to organisations working with disadvantaged children and young people in the UK.
One can only imagine the feat it was to bring all these characters together, and the companies involved are in deserve of full praise.
Some of the characters involved include Bob the Builder, Paddington Bear, Angelina Ballerina, Pingu, Sooty, Bagpuss, Thunderbirds, Muffin the Mule, Thomas the Tank Engine, Peppa Pig, and the video plays out as a who’s who of children’s entertainment, old and new.
Well done to all involved!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Leading the way

Yet again, Total Licensing was leading the way into overseas markets as the only international licensing magazine to have a presence at the Dubai Character and Licensing Fair, held last week.
The show, held alongside the Dubai Games Expo, again proved that the Middle East has not only a growing creative industry but a significantly growing and sophisticated licensing industry based on local, as well as international characters.

Last year’s inaugural show was a deal struck between NestlĂ© and Tashkeel – owners of The 99 – for over a million dollars. This year, two major deals were signed at the show. The first was signed between Emari Toons, one of the regions biggest animation studios, and Speedy Productions from South Africa. The deal surrounds the South African company’s Know Your Nation – a series of two minute animated series which Emari Toons will produce 100 for each of the 22 Arab League nations.

Another major signing involved Lammtara and their Freej characters. Lammtara signed a strategic alliance with Al Hokair Group to launch the first of six themed merchandise areas in shopping malls throughout Saudi Arabia.

All told, the exhibition and attendant conference again provided a valuable snapshot of the industry in a rapidly emerging region. We’ve said, time and time again, that you can only understand a a country or a region by visiting it, talking to people and listening to what makes a market tick. That’s why we, and of course the magazine, have been at events around the world over the last twelve months and why we will continue to be there.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Sunshine, Seinfeld and Simpsons in Cannes!

What a difference six months makes!
At MIP.TV in April, not only was the global economic issue at the forefront of most conversations but the weather seemed to understand the subdued mood and it poured with rain throughout the show.
Fast forward to October and MIPCOM and what an amazing difference. The sun shone and the mood was upbeat as executives focused on deals rather than economic crises.
With Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution celebrating the 20th anniversary of ‘The Simpsons’ during MIPCOM, series creator Matt Groening drew a capacity crowd and an unprecedented standing ovation to his keynote discussions with ‘The Simpsons’ executive producer Al Jean and their host/moderator and ‘Super Size Me’ director Morgan Spurlock. Cannes Mayor Bernard Brochand declared Wednesday Simpsons Day in the city and Matt Groening received the inaugural MIPCOM Creative Icon Award the same evening.
Another American comic icon, Jerry Seinfeld, wowed hundreds of international buyers at MIPCOM with a stand-up set and the international unveiling of his new comedy-panel format ‘The Marriage Ref,’ created and executive produced by Seinfeld and Ellen Rakieten and distributed by Endemol.
With over 12,000 delegates in Cannes, MIPCOM registered an increase on the 11,500 delegates who attended MIPTV in April. Buyers were also out in force, with over 4,000 in town compared to 3,500 at MIPTV.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Brand Licensing a huge success all round

We're back from Brand Licensing, which ran from 30 September - 1 October, and what a great show it was. By all accounts, everyone who exhibited and visited had an extremely busy and productive time. The show itself had a great atmosphere, with the aisles jam-packed and a real buzz around Olympia.
Quite a change from last year, where the key words in everyone's sentences seemed to be 'credit crunch' and 'economic meltdown'. Not so gloomy this year - either because things really are looking up for a lot of businesses, or because the industry has accepted that times are changing, and things have to change too. Either way, it was a good show for everyone that we spoke with.
From Total Licensing's point of view, we were so pleased that so many people were interested in the magazines, had a lot of positive things to say, and it was great to see familiar faces, and many new ones too. At one point we had representatives from Asda, C&A and Debenhams on the stand all at once, taking copies of the magazine away.
We were also pleased to introduce several people from various countries to curry one evening!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Licensing Factory, Segways, and New Europe

Publisher Francesca and Director Jerry attended the Licensing Factory in Croatia last week, and aside from scooting around the aisles on Segways and Ferrari pedal cars and a member of the licensing industry dressed up as Dangermouse, found the show informative and beneficial. So much so that Total Licensing is going to run an important New Europe and Balkan States feature in the upcoming Winter issue.
These are up and coming areas, with great enthusiasm to continue the foray into licensing.
Francesca was also particularly honoured to be featured on Croatian national television, and in one of the country's newspapers - indeed, as she pointed out, on page 11 was an article and picture of President Obama making a speech, with Francesca following a mere 20 pages on. A media star at last!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Green credentials...

We're pleased to announce the release of our latest issue, which you can read here:

And a brand new website! where you can find everything you’ve ever wanted to know about us, our publications, our ethos, edit schedules, advertising rates, how to subscribe to publications, newsletters and digital issues, details of important upcoming events, read archives, and much more.
Take a look!

Monday, 14 September 2009

It's a wide, wide... industry

We’ve been a bit lapse with keeping up with the blog lately, due to deadlines, and members of staff thinking they deserve holidays etc (!), but we were delighted to attend and host a table at The Licensing Awards on the 10 September this year.
It certainly lived up to previous
years, with just the right mixture of black tie formality, respect for the industry, and of course, fun and games. Highlights saw the entire room of 1000+ people break a Guinness World Record for the amount of people wearing a red nose in one room for five minutes, a game of ‘higher and lower’, which sadly saw Total Licensing and friends out by the first round, and of course wit from comedian Jason Manford.
Everyone scrubbed up very nicely indeed, and it was a pleasure to see so many people deservedly winning awards – so many congratulations to the winners, and to the nominees, for managing to flourish in tough times.
For a full list of the winners see
The Autumn issue of Total Licensing is due out very soon, and it’s a whopper – 188 pages to be precise. This issue sees information from almost every corner of the world, including Dubai, Australia, Taiwan, Korea, Brazil, Hong Kong, Benelux and many more. The scope of licensing never ceases to amaze us, and this is reflected, we hope, in this issue’s variety – an interview with Buzz Aldrin, contributions from Al Jazeera, 20 years of the Wiggles, an interesting piece on Michael Jackson’s legacy, and Betty Bopp still retaining her stance as a sex-symbol, amid much, much more.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Kids Rule SK!

The Seoul Character Fair, which was held over five days at the end of July, was quite an eye-opener and, in many ways, made those of us who attended from Europe and USA think about the style of trade events that we have on offer.
The event brought together, quite literally, all sides of the licensing industry, from licensor or agent, to licensee, manufacturer and retailer. Nothing much new there – that’s what most western trade shows endeavour to achieve.

Where the Korean show differed from, say, Brand Licensing in London or other events held around the world is that whilst the first two days of the event were trade only, the last three days combined trade and public.

As somebody who has attended exhibitions in many parts of the world this year, and as the only licensing trade magazine in attendance, the thought of an event overrun by children initially seemed horrifying and, if the truth be known, largely irrelevant.

But, when the doors opened on the third day and thousands of children and their parents and others came into the show, it really was an eye-opener. Seeing which properties and booths attracted the most kids was invaluable. What better market research than the reaction of over 100,000 children and others?

It made us think. We’re so used to a formula for trade shows that we don’t really consider alternatives. But the Korean way was, after all, the logical way forwards. It involved, quite literally, every side of the industry – beginning with the property owner and ending with the all-important consumer.

The PR value for property owners in giving out samples and leaflets was immense. If a child fell for a character during the show, he was more likely to ask for that character after the show.

The more one thinks about it, the more logical a move it is. After all, why should trade shows, designed for the licensing industry, exclude the most important part of the foodchain – i.e. the consumer.

Granted if anyone were to suggest reorganising Licensing Expo or Brand Licensing to allow for a public day, there would be an outcry. Why? Because most of us can’t imagine a deluge of children coming into a trade event. To be honest, a couple of weeks ago, I would have felt the same. Now, though, I’m hooked! There’s nothing quite like the genuine reaction of children to tell you if you have a potential winner on your hands!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Kids will be kids...

Total Licensing attended the Licensing launch of Grandpa In My Pocket on the 22 July, and it was nice to see a live action children’s television programme that, while still giving an important message and embracing themes such as family, seems to be all about fun (whilst being highly appropriate, as 1.2m children in the UK are looked after by their grandparents).

The show looks at a happy nuclear family, which possibly indicates a trend back to traditions – for many years, and rightly so, some situational children’s television has looked at the diverse nature of the family in modern times, as many children live with step-parents, half-siblings, with single or same-sex parents. However, a ‘hark back’ to a traditional concept, where there is a boy, a (slightly wacky) mum and dad, and the loveable, titular Grandpa seems, at the same time, right, as around two thirds of children in the UK do still reside with a nuclear family.

So many children’s TV programmes and films include messages, be they of love, caring, or even deeper – the film Wall-E, for example, with its lonely robot cleaning up a desolate earth after the obese, constantly-stimulated inhabitants deserted it, is one of those films. It had a very deep and resounding theme, but you have to wonder – education is of course so important in entertainment, especially from a young age, but kids will be kids. Sometimes entertainment can come in just that form, without hammering home the message that we must be green, must look after our planet, must embrace diversity in all its forms, must be politically correct, etc. The closest some of us ever got to such messages in our childhood viewing was when Big Ears hopped into bed with Noddy, and ‘back in the day’ this caused a mild furore.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Goodbye heatwave?

As the heatwave in the UK appears to be dwindling away, it seems apt that the process of putting together everything for our Autumn/Fall issue of Total Licensing is well underway. The Brand Licensing preview, like the show, could prove to be bigger than ever this year due to numerous factors including the fact that some people did not exhibit at Vegas for various reasons, and that some people really feel that Europe is ‘where it’s at’ right now. We’re putting together a Sports Update, and the volume of contributions as always has amazed us. Sports is a huge sector of the licensing industry, and the end of summer really feels a perfect time to run such a feature – with events such as Wimbledon still fresh in people’s minds, and so many other sporting activities that take place in the nicer weather of the Northern hemisphere, such as the Ashes.
We’re also running a Pre-School feature, and as we all know, this part of the industry is enormous, and just so very varied.
Territory spotlights for the issue include a UK special, China and Hong Kong, Benelux and Japan – all very different places with fascinating stories and trends emerging.
On the subject of trends, a very interesting one that seems to be ever-growing is the worldwide obsession with online networking sites, blogging etc. It will be very interesting to see what merchandise and deals are struck in the next few months and years.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Worth more dead than alive?

Whether you’re in mourning for the ‘king of pop’ or not sure what all the fuss is about, there’s one thing you can be sure of – Michael Jackson’s estate is set to make a fortune after his untimely demise. Thriller has topped the charts decades after its first outing, items such as autographs and signed memorabilia are reportedly selling faster than ever, even dedicated website domains are up for grabs, and they’re not cheap.
I for one remember dancing badly around my bedroom using my hairbrush as a microphone to Billie Jean, but die hard fans bought and sold nearly 20,000+ items on eBay since Jackson’s death. Call me cynical, but people around the world are cashing in on what appears the be the biggest outlay of public grief since Princess Diana – R.I.P Michael mugs and t-shirts, glittery gloves (for one hand only of course) and special Fedora hats are cropping up everywhere. It just goes to show what power one single chap can have as a brand, and I predict, will have for many years to come.
This of course makes you wonder the sheer power of star quality – regardless of the star. Publisher and editor extraordinaire Francesca pointed out after a recent trip to Cuba that the image of Che Guevara is still prevalent – in fact it can be hard to turn the corner without seeing the iconic face symbolising for some, freedom and counterculture. It goes to show that you don’t just have to be a legendary actor or musician to have years of staying power. The original photograph was taken by Alberto Corda, and the current copyright status is still in a lengthy dispute. For a revolutionary activist to remain so alive in people’s minds and on their t-shirts is fairly rare – I haven’t bought my Karl Marx mug yet.
We covered some of the well-known figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash in the last issue of Total Licensing in our Legend and Celebrity spotlight. ( Naturally, many of the best-loved icons with enormous brand power are still alive and well; The Beckhams and Paris Hilton are two that spring to mind, but you have to wonder if we will still be seeing their faces on everyday items in fifty years time.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Positive response from Vegas

Now the jetlag has finally faded, time to reflect on the the recent Licensing Show, held for the first time in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas.
Obviously it is too early to tell how much business the show generated, but suffice to say, aside from the occasional grumble about the location, layout, etc, the industry threw itself into the new location and, on the whole, triumphed. One thing about this industry is the enthusiasm from individuals that comes across so clearly.
The trend many people noticed is that classics continue to reign, which is a sign of the times of course. Tried and trusted brands and characters, with known staying power, are much less of a risk, as we wade through the much-discussed credit-crunch. Evergreen properties can be seen as a safer bet, and there’s no harm in that. The film industry capitalized on this many years ago, remaking much-loved classics to varying successes. That said, we noticed a fair amount of the new and bold at 2009’s show that is definitely worth keeping an eye on. Have a look at this week’s Total Licensing Report for our and Licensing Book’s in-depth news from the show.
It was great to see names that had been absent from the industry make a return. Kenny Viselman debuted his new Oogieloves movie projects at a cocktail party, Vegas-style, and Fred Gaffney made a welcome return after a couple of years. Total Licensing saw some of its favourite characters such as Betty Boop, Heathcliff, Daktari and Tintin enjoy a resurgence.
We were also lucky enough to meet with and interview the legendary Tony Curtis, whom we featured in the summer issue of Total Licensing, and who is a very charming chap, full of enthusiasm for the show despite being there on his birthday. (Pictured above with star-struck editor, Rebecca Ash.)
Las Vegas provided a colourful backdrop for the show. Some people were seeing it with fresh eyes, some had been frequent visitors. And what a city it is. Everywhere you look, there is something to entertain. From the flashing lights to the grandeur of the hotels, from the pirate battles and volcano to the splendour of the Belaggio fountains, it is quite a spectacle. The dates for next year’s show have already been announced – the 8 – 10 June 2010.
What outcomes emerge from the show still remain to be seen, but we would like to congratulate everyone who participated, exhibiting and visiting, for shining in uncertain times.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Watch out Vegas...

Well, it's almost time to pack the suncream, speedos and sunglasses, as we prepare to head over to Licensing Show's new home in Las Vegas. Are we excited? You bet. A new hosting city for the show, we hope, will wield positive results for exhibitors and visitors alike. Total Licensing has a jam-packed schedule, meeting with old friends and new faces at the show, as well as keeping an eye on new trends and products emerging. We hope that all of you attending have a really successful time (not just in the casinos) and do what this industry does best - work hard, play hard, and ultimately, forge the new relationships that keep business so strong. We look forward to seeing you there, and check this blog after we get back for any news and updates.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Total Licensing Digital Issue and Pinted Issue

Our summer issue is out. It's a hefty one, but what do you expect from such an industry? Take a moment to look at our Licensing Show Preview for all the information you will need about the impending trip to Vegas, explore territories such as Latin America, Spain and Portugal, read the latest comment from industry insiders, get breaking news, see why Mickey Mouse has a new teaching position in China, uncover the key to licensing admin, and discover pro-active ways for the industry to protect itself in the current climate.

View the latest issue of Total Licensing by clicking on this link:

View the latest issue of Total Art Licensing by clicking on this link:

Happy reading!


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